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Windows Presentation Foundation

Developed by Microsoft, the Windows Presentation Foundation (or WPF) is a computer-software graphical subsystem for rendering user interfaces in Windows-based applications.

WPF, previously known as "Avalon", was initially released as part of .NET Framework 3.0. Rather than relying on the older GDI subsystem, WPF utilizes DirectX. WPF attempts to provide a consistent programming model for building applications and provides a separation between the user interface and the business logic. It resembles similar XML-oriented object models, such as those implemented in XUL and SVG. WPF employs XAML, an XML-based language, to define and link various UI elements. WPF applications can also be deployed as standalone desktop programs, or hosted as an embedded object in a website. WPF aims to unify a number of common user interface elements, such as 2D/3D rendering, fixed and adaptive documents, typography, vector graphics, runtime animation, and pre-rendered media. These elements can then be linked and manipulated based on various events, user interactions, and data bindings. WPF runtime libraries are included with all versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Users of Windows XP SP2/SP3 and Windows Server 2003 can optionally install the necessary libraries. Microsoft has released five major WPF versions: WPF 3.0 (Nov 2006), WPF 3.5 (Nov 2007), WPF 3.5sp1 (Aug 2008), WPF 4 (April 2010), and WPF 4.5 (August 2012). Microsoft Silverlight provides functionality that is mostly a subset of WPF to provide embedded web controls comparable to Adobe Flash. 3D runtime rendering is supported in Silverlight since Silverlight 5.



Graphics, including desktop items like windows, are rendered using Direct3D. This allows the display of more complex graphics and custom themes, at the cost of GDI's wider range of support and uniform control theming. It allows Windows to offload some graphics tasks to the GPU. This reduces the workload on the computer's CPU. GPUs are optimized for parallel pixel computations. This tends to speed up screen refreshes at the cost of decreased compatibility in markets where GPUs are not necessarily as powerful, such as the netbook market. The Windows Presentation Foundation(WPF) is Microsoft's next generation UI framework to create applications with a rich user experience. It is part of the .NET framework 3.0 and higher. WPF's emphasis on vector graphics allows most controls and elements to be scaled without loss in quality or pixelization, thus increasing accessibility. With the exception of Silverlight, Direct3D integration allows for streamlined 3D rendering. In addition, interactive 2D content can be overlaid on 3D surfaces natively.

Data Binding

  • WPF has a built-in set of data services to enable application developers to bind and manipulate data within applications. It supports three types of data binding:
    1. one time: where the client ignores updates on the server.
    2. one way: where the client has read-only access to data.
    3. two way: where client can read from and write data to the server
  • LINQ queries, including LINQ to XML, can also act as data sources for data binding.
  • Binding of data has no bearing on its presentation. WPF provides data templates to control presentation of data.
  • A set of built-in controls is provided as part of WPF, containing items such as button, menu, grids, and list box.
  • A powerful concept in the WPF is the logical separation of a control from its appearance.
    • A control's template can be overridden to completely change its visual appearance.
    • A control can contain any other control or layout, allowing for a high degree of control over composition.
  • Features retained mode graphics. Repainting the display isn't always necessary.

WPF Resources

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