Just Arrived: Applications = Code + Markup (Charles Petzold)

by Jon Davis 3. September 2006 00:23

Charles Petzold's new book on Avalon (Windows Presentation Foundation) just arrived at my doorstep earlier today. I get to be one of the lucky ones who pre-ordered this big thing and be one of the first proud owners of the book.

Without having done a thorough reading and only cracking it open, here are my quick observations:

  • It's a big, hardcover book. Not as big as Programming Windows, though, which is still on my shelf.
  • Looks pretty chock full of content, I don't think anything is going to be missed for general introduction to all major facets of WPF.
  • A pretentious title. Microsoft is being "cute" but it hits a nerve in a bad way. To define the word "application" as "code + markup" is stupid, no matter how prevalent Windows Presentation Foundation intends to be in Windows Vista. The word "application" is a long-standing software term that Microsoft cannot just go and redefine--no, not even Petzold.
  • Much more approachable from what I can tell than O'Reilly's book, which frankly is a very bumpy ride.
  • About 60-70% or so of the book consists of code samples, and about 75% of the code samples are written in XAML while the other 25% are in C#.
  • I can see this book as being the new "Bible" of Windows user interfaces.
  • Covers content, docking, events, elements, menus, treeviews, listviews, data binding, graphics, animation, and more.
  • One of my biggest concerns about WPF is that from what I've seen so far of WPF it is very much like DHTML for its menus in that a menu cannot be displayed beyond the borders of its window, and I will miss that greatly. I am curious about Ch. 14 (Menus) to see if my observation was incorrect. (Update: My observation has proven to be incorrect.)
  • Looks like "Orcas" is required to run the samples. Darn. "Orcas" won't be released for .NET 3.0 RC1 for a few more days, so I had to roll back to the June CTP of .NET 3.0 to install the "Orcas" preview, then uninstall .NET 3.0 and install .NET 3.0 RC1.
    Update: Thanks to Rob Relyea's blog (his comments therein), an easier way to install the June "Orcas" preview is: msiexec /i vsextwfx.msi WRC_INSTALLED_OVERRIDE=1
  • 3D stuff does not appear to be covered at all.

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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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