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Discussions, news and rants from the CTO of DevExpress, Julian M Bucknall

PDC 2009 Day 2

If you've been lucky enough to be an exhibitor at a large conference, you'll know that after the hectic first day, the second (and subsequent) days are more measured. You find that you talk for longer with individual customers: they're not in a hurry and want to learn more about what your company does and you can provide more attention to them and their scenarios. Such was the second day today.

The other big event that affected today's booth "look-and-feel" was the announcements of this morning. The attendees learned all about Silverlight 4 and in addition were presented with an Acer Aspire tablet notebook that supports multi-touch. So, correspondingly we were asked more about our targets and controls for Silverlight and about our touch abilities.

Nevertheless, I spoke at length with Anthony our contact at Microsoft about the VSIP program and about our issues with VS2010 beta 2 (to summarize: the BeginInit/EndInit codegen bug has been fixed internally, there's still more to discuss re. Client Profile); I spoke with Joseph Hill and Geoff (I forget his surname) of Novell about Mono and ASP.NET (I shall have to get back to my experimentation: Mono have produced an add-in for Visual Studio to make it all easier); I spoke with customers of companies great and small about our products and our goals for the future. I did demos of XAF, of our new DXPivotGrid for WPF, of XtraReports and XtraCharts, of the Silverlight layout control. I discussed strategies for migrating an existing WinForms application to WPF and a Delphi 2006 application to Silverlight (despite no Embarcadero or RemObjects presence here at the conference, there are some Delphi people wandering around).

One theme came up time and again though: given the new announcements about Silverlight 4 this morning (especially regarding desktop use and access to native system resources like the filesystem), whither WPF? I had (and have) no great insights into this question unfortunately, although my gut feel is starting to need some Alka-Seltzer.

All in all a long, pretty tiring, day, but a day where again I've been bolstered in my belief that we at DevExpress are on the right track. Now to the internal Summit next month where we decide on the particulars and the roadmap for 2010.

And tomorrow is the last day of PDC. As I write this, I'm 48 hours from sleeping in my own bed again Smile.

Published Nov 18 2009, 09:05 PM by
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Comments

Chris Walsh [DX-Squad]

Hmmm, WPF'what??  Its interesting that Adobe and MS are playing the Air/Flex vs Silverlight game and it would appear that its going to get worse.  Saw and heard little mentioned about WPF 4 and its new features.  

But adding 9 out of the top 10 most requested features into a single release is going to bring "issues".  I don't care how much its tested, there'll still be teething problems.  But rather excited about printing capabilities, web cam access, and file system access along with Toast notifications.  

The real question is how fast can you ramp up the SL team? ;)

November 19, 2009 2:59 AM

Christoph Brändle

Julian,

for those who cannot attend PDC, a screenshot of DXPivotGrid would be a great thing for a teaser :)

It seems WPF and Silverlight are going to succeed, what a bright future.

Good luck at PDC,

Christoph

November 19, 2009 4:44 AM

David Steinblock

Julian,

I can see how you might need some acid reducers. The WPF is almost dead. Who needs this huge platform when you can develop for Silverlight and be cross-platform, on web and on desktop? I am wondering is .NET Framework dead too...

And if you turn to Silverlight to create controls for, what do you create? You have now a Grid and Microsoft gives one for free. You developed RTF control and Microsoft just announced one for free. You have some layout controls but you can bet Microsoft will develop them too. You can't do charts, they give them for free...

They, Microsoft, will not stop adding new controls until they covered everything that is worth doing. It is great for us developers because now we'll have platform with all controls we need included free of charge. Not good for control companies since they'll be left with bread-crumbs. Probably many will go out of business...

So yeah I can see how you need acid reducers.

November 19, 2009 7:33 AM

Aaron Smith

I would surmise that the reason you don't hear much about WPF is that the guts were primarily there and already complete. It was the tooling that needed to be greatly ramped up, which they have done in VS2010.  I think most people were finding it easier to use Blend anyway. To me, it looked like the main thing missing was easy drag and drop databinding stuff, which now that it's in 2010, most people are saying they won't use it because they just want to see code not a designer (I'm the opposite).

Silverlight is just a subset of WPF, that's why it was initially called WPF/e. At this point, it's all about bringing specifics to Silverlight that were missing.

November 19, 2009 9:53 AM

Rachel Hawley (DevExpress)

You had a quiet day?? Not fair! We were non-stop for 5 days at TechEd Europe.

Something is amiss :)

November 19, 2009 12:05 PM

Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

David: You mistake my meaning. The free controls you get with Microsoft or from their efforts on CodePlex only spur us on to provide deeper and broader controls, not to give up. That's been the third party market since the very early days. It's our bread-and-butter, and after 11 years of doing it, I'd say we're pretty good at it. Far from needing acid reducers, we need a catering truck.

The intent of my comment was merely to say that if we spend the next year writing WPF controls only to have WPF go the way of the dinosaurs would really cheese me off.

Cheers, Julian

November 19, 2009 3:57 PM

About Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Julian is the Chief Technology Officer at Developer Express. You can reach him directly at julianb@devexpress.com. You can also follow him on Twitter with the ID JMBucknall.
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