It is hard to understand the level of animosity that some Microsoft developers seem to have towads XAML. At least in WPF, if you want to, you can write out all the object initialization in source code. But, it is hard to imagine why anyone would think
that approach is better than specifying the UI object tree in XAML. If people have trouble with the XAML, it is probably because they insist on sticking with yesterday's tools. Conceptually the XAML is fairly trivial. It is just a compact syntax for specifiying
a tree of objects and values for properties and event handlers. The excellent intellisense support for XAML in Visual Studio makes handling most of the syntax easy to deal with. Of course there are some issues in understanding binding extentions and how
resource references work. But those issues really have more to do with a funtional understanding the structure of the UI tree than they do with any particular method of specifying it. I don't doubt that high quality UI design tools are a better user interface
than raw XAML. But functional UI's built around a tree of objects, master detail, or a data grid can easily be designed directly in XAML.
Of course, many developers have difficulty accepting the increasing emphasis on XML as a replacement for binary formats. Those deveopers have not caught up with the implications of the success of the internet and the stream of technology that has come from
the IETF, the W3C, and companies like Microsoft and IBM.
The 3.5 refers to the .net version. The problem I saw with the additions of WPF that shipped with .net 3.5 has to do with the documentation. The documentation of the WPF base release is generally pretty good. The documentation for the first set of additions
is skimpy at best and not integrated with the base documentation. You need to a better job with the documentation of future additions.
This presentation and some other recent channel nine videos seem to me not to work that well because there is a confusion about whether the video is an interview or a presentation. Having some videos that are basically presentations of reasonably complex
content is certainly useful. But those kinds of presentations need focus on the presenters words and drawings. They don't need the camera being waved back and forth between a small part of a chart and the presenter's face. They also don't need a steady
stream of casual comments from Charles disrupting the thread of the presentation.
I think it would be much better to divide this kind of content into two segments. One would be a formal presentation. The silverlight format used for the Mix07 sessions works very well for this kind of content. The second segment would be an interview by
Charles with the presenter that was focused on a discussion of some of the implications of and plans for the project.
Soma's enthusiasm made the interview quite enjoyable. It is good to have a separate beta for the express editions. Although there are some bugs, my experience so far has been pretty good. It is good to have the WPF visual designer and it looks like WF
designer is also included. However, the situation with the Entity Framework is unclear. The samples can be compiled with the express edition and they seem to work. But the documentation and the command line tool needed to generate the framework files (edmGen.exe)
are not included.
Is the plan to restrict the EDM support to the professional versions of Visual Studio? I can see the argument for doing that and I expect I would be quite satisified playing with SqlMetal.exe and linq to SQL. On the other hand, I suspect that it is to Microsoft's
advantage to try to make the entity framework the standard API for data driven applications as quickly as possible. In any case, there needs to be clarity about what is in what edition and what is not.