O’Reilly news

XAML in a Nutshell: Creating Application User Interfaces with WPF and XAML

April 12, 2006

Sebastopol, CA--When Microsoft releases Windows Vista, the new operating system will support applications that employ graphics of the type now used by computer games: clear, stunning, and active. The cornerstone for building these new user interfaces is XAML ("Zammel"), an XML-based markup language that works with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Vista's new graphics subsystem.

XAML offers a wealth of new controls and elements with exciting capabilities, including animation and rendering of 3D graphics. Windows developers are already enthused by the possibilities of using XAML for fixed and flow format documents like PDF and HTML, vector-based graphics, form development, animation, audio and video, transparent layering, and more. Many feel that XAML will eliminate the need for multiple file formats or plug-ins (read: Flash), while lowering development costs and reducing time to market. For developers who want to get up to speed with the new technology well before the release of Windows Vista, Lori MacVittie's new book, XAML in a Nutshell (O'Reilly, US $29.99) covers everything necessary to design user interfaces and .NET applications that take advantage of WPF.

"XAML is an entirely new way to design user interfaces for Windows and offers so many exciting features that some of the more powerful ones get lost in the tedium of just trying to understand this new language," says MacVittie. "XAML in a Nutshell provides not only an understanding of the foundation, but also offers explanations and examples of some of the awesome features of Windows Presentation Foundation that can be taken advantage of with XAML, like resources and animation."

XAML in a Nutshell helps developers learn firsthand how to use this markup language to implement the newest generation of user interface graphics. Prerequisites such as Microsoft's new unified build system, MSBuild, and core XAML constructs and syntax--including shortcuts--are presented with plenty of clear examples. The Core XAML Reference section lets readers dig even deeper into syntax rules and attributes for all XAML elements with a series of quick-reference chapters. It divides XAML elements into logical categories of elements, controls, shapes and geometry, layout, animations, and transformations for easy reference.

"Writing a book on subject matter that s still evolving can be frustrating," recalls MacVittie. Her book covers XAML as it exists in the core WinFX SDK (Community Technology Preview, October 2005). "Attributes disappear, namespaces change form one build to the next. It was quite a challenge to ensure that the examples and references were as up-to-date as possible and still publish in a timely manner."

MacVittie's book is intended for software developers and user-interface designers. "Both will find the book useful, the former for understanding how SAML relates to the CLR and the latter in learning how to design an interface without ever writing a line of code."

Advanced Praise for XAML in a Nutshell:

"Strong code examples and an efficient, conversational style take the tedium out of learning XAML and make the subject understandable--even interesting."
-Bradley F. Shimmin, Business Analyst, CMP Media LLC

Additional Resources: