As a consultant and Microsoft Client Development MVP, I get asked about the future of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). They ask, “Is WPF Dead?” Let us look at some reasons why people might be thinking that. In no particular order:
- The introduction of the Windows Modern UI (formerly Metro) and WinRT based applications.
- The last blog entry from the WPF team on MSDN was over 3 years ago at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/wpf/.
- Recent question on StackOverflow – http://stackoverflow.com/questions/21035019/is-wpf-suitable-for-line-of-business-software
- Rocky Lhotka’s post about this http://www.lhotka.net/weblog/WinRTAsTheNewSilverlightAndWPF.aspx
- Andrew Brust’s post about what he feels Satya Nadella’s first actions should be talks about WPF in his bullet point about developers – http://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2014/02/11/satya-nadellas-to-do-list.aspx
- I’m sure there are countless other examples of this question.
Here is some insight into why it is not dead.
- I was just in a meeting with Microsoft and they’re definitely working on the next version of WPF. Obviously, I can’t disclose specifics, but the fact is they are gathering feedback and actively working on WPF.
- If you would like to provide feedback, please visit https://dotnet.uservoice.com/forums/40583-wpf-feature-suggestions.
- WPF was given stage time during the keynote at last year’s BUILD conference, so Microsoft was showing it some love.
- MSDN WPF for .NET 4.5 highlighting new features – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb613588(v=vs.110).aspx
For those businesses wondering if they should use WPF for the line-of-business (LOB) apps, WPF is a perfectly good technology. I can’t predict the larger scale question of, “What is the future direction of client technologies?” I do know that WPF is not dead (it’s actively being worked on) and mobile is definitely still growing. I see use cases for apps in Windows Store, Windows Phone, WPF, iOS, Android and so on. It comes down to how much business value you get out of making any app and how it reaches your end users and/or customers.
Can Windows Store apps be LOB apps? Certainly! I’ve personally worked on several. I think in order to use WinRT for LOB apps, a bit of a mental shift in design is needed. It may also mean splitting your “enterprise app” into several apps. There are certain cases where WPF is more well suited because of its larger feature set, but don’t write off WinRT as a solution just because it’s a LOB app. Each app should be discussed for the business value. The technology used should help you achieve that value.
Please note that identifying as a Windows Store, WPF, Windows Phone or Silverlight developer is okay, but I feel a developer should really identify as knowing XAML, not one of those specific platforms. XAML is a common language across all of them and your skills port between those platforms. If you’re stressing out about these various platforms, shifting your outlook may help.