Although we announced UI support for WPF and Silverlight in eXpressApp Framework (XAF) in this year’s roadmap last December, we are not going to be able to provide this feature by v2011 vol 2. There are a few reasons for this decision, but we feel the current uncertainty in the .NET market with regard to Windows 8 (as evinced by the past couple of months’ worth of news) is sufficient to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. We will all learn more about what Microsoft have planned at the BUILD conference in a couple of weeks.
For Silverlight in particular, current events seem to point to a Silverlight-specific UI not providing good value for our resources or for your development dollar. For many Line of Business apps, having a thick client WinForms app or a thin-client ASP.NET app seems to hit the sweet spot. Nevertheless, we are working towards multi-tier support (it’s not dependent on a Silverlight UI), but current trends hint at a revamped and better ASP.NET UI (maybe with MVC) as being more beneficial to more customers. As I said, we’ll also be seeing what the near future will bring platform-wise.
This decision doesn’t mean that we’ve put XAF on the back-burner, far from it. We have been adding many new features, all requested by you, our customers, to the product, such as Windows Workflow Foundation 4.0 integration, a new State Machine module, improved startup and ASP.NET UI performance, numerous improvements to the Model Editor, Easy Test, and much more. A couple of developers on the team have also been investigating OData support, amongst other things; especially given our pioneering work in this area (see Azret’s blog posts on the subject, for example: here and here).
Rest assured that XAF will be well positioned for whatever Microsoft might reveal in a couple of weeks. We’re looking forward to the challenge.