I have been 'meddling' a little with WPF at long last, and am in all likelihood going to Echo what has been said before. As a one man band, I’m continually looking for utilities that will increase my productivity, but not at the expense of quality. It’s for this reason that I see the acquisition of controls from http://www.componentone.com/, http://www.telerik.com/, http://www.componentfactory.com/, http://xceed.com/ et al, as (this will come as a surprise) essential in the speeding up the development process.
Personally, with WPF's lookless controls, I've found it rather unnecessary to use 3rd party controls.
After (eventually) traipsing through a tutorial at http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2007/06/13/wpf-hands-on-lab-build-an-outlook-2007-ui-clone.aspx I’ve come to the realisation that you’re either a designer or a programmer (shock horror). Linq may increase productivity, but this is voraciously negated by the amount of time it will take to get your UI right in Expression Blend and Visual Studio. All the companies above have little to no components that are ready (bar the lovely data grid view from Xceed – it’s simply gorgeous) . Why should I have to undertake the task of writing a scheduler (calendar) just because I need one for my app. WPF doesn’t even offer a data grid view in its present iteration, honestly?
The vast majority of the use cases I've had for a "data grid view" have been easily worked up using ListView with a GridView and some styling.
The productivity comes from the unbelievable data binding. Not a designer? Follow the M-V-VM pattern religiously and slap together an ugly UI, then let a real designer make it pretty. Honestly, the data binding capabilities make it possible to realize a "lookless" application that can be "painted" by a designer with little effort. Of course, the ViewModel should be designed with some UX thought up front, so I'm not advocating completely ignoring the designer until the end.
The premise of WPF was never to eliminate the need for both developers and designers (some people do successfully wear both hats), but to make the efforts of the two seemless and more efficient.
Working through the Microsoft Acropolis projects, that is as immature as WFP (well it’s based on it). The idea though is an excellent one but the level of immaturity of WPF and the unavailability of R.A.D components from Microsoft (no data drid view) or other vendors makes this something to get excited about in a while. Just not now, that’s all!
These technologies are brand new. Expecting anything other than this is foolish on your part, and a rant about it is misplaced frustration.
That said, once you can get over the incredibly large learning curve, I'm find WPF to be an incredibly exciting technology that does allow me to be very productive.