I was discussing Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) recently with someone on VBCity. Although many people don't have the time or available capacity to download the huge Visual Studio 2008 (previously known as Orcas) Beta on a development machine, it is still possible to get a foretaste of what's to come.
If you go to this link you can download the Framework 3.0 Extensions for Visual Studio 2005. Now, it's getting a bit dated and the VS 2008 Betas already have a much better range of tools and support such as Intellisense, but I think it is still worth a look if you are interested in what is coming down the road.
The .NET Framework 3.0 SDK can be downloaded from here.
You will also need to download and install Framework 3.0 if you are running XP on your system (Vista has it installed by default) .
The extensions include WPF and WCF - Windows Communication Foundation. Even if you don't do anything other than poke around with the new stuff, it's interesting to see how WPF, XAML and VB.NET all work together to create some top class user interfaces. (Or some terrible ones if you get carried away with animation, video and clashing colors!)
Projects available in VS 2005 are:
- WPF Windows Apps
- XAML Browser Apps
- WPF Custom Controls
- WCF Service