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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

WinFx is Dead Part 2

After I posted WinFx is Dead, I’ve gotten two kinds of comments:

Didn’t you hear that WinFx has been renamed .NET 3.0? What rock have you been hiding under?

Well, yes, I have heard that — my point wasn’t that the name WinFx is dead, it is that the concept of WinFx is dead.

Really, Microsoft has killed the managed Windows API?

What, am I psychic?

I have no idea if Microsoft has killed the managed Windows API. It appears to me that they have. The stated reason for the name change was to clear up confusion in the marketplace. The common belief seems to be that this confusion was that developers didn’t understand how WinFx related to .NET. I believe that the actual confusion was that developers didn’t understand how WinFx (as composed of WCF, WPF, WF, etc.) had anything to do with a managed Windows API.

I am guessing that this name change away from WinFx is indicates that the managed Windows API is dead. John goes further in comment on this post (full comment here):

. . . Microsoft continues to vacilate on this issue. I hear Microsoft execs stand up and proclaim that everything is .NET. Then I see product teams create products without the slightest nod to .NET, using a patchwork of unmanaged code and interfaces dating back to the (early) COM days.

So, Microsoft: you may think that the name change cleared up some confusion. Maybe it did. But as a Microsoft ISV, Gold certified partner, developer, I’ll tell you that I’m confused about how .NET actually fits into the overall product plans.

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2 Comments »

    Andrew Hilton wrote @ January 16th, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Robert,

I’m of the opinion that it is not yet the official windows API because it simply wasn’t ready, and using .NET 2 with WinForms would have been too restrictive and no doubt would not have integrated with the subsystems of Vista (such as graphics). The .NET framework 3.0 was not released until almost the final release of Vista. The risk of developing the windows front end under the managed API and still ship on time would have been too great.

From what I’ve heard early versions of Vista and Office 2007 did use the managed API (or at least an early version of WPF). My feeling is that the dev teams simply couldn’t cope with a large framework like that shifting beneath their feet causing all manner of chaos. Hence the move by both Vista and Office 2007 back to COM, which also gave leeway to the WinFX teams to change stuff radically if they needed to. My assumption is that given the large technical leap of WPF, WCF etc there would have been many back steps as they were trying to go forward.

I’ll be very suprised if the consumer version of Vista does not include some managed code WPF apps. All the indications are that WPF will do very well (for example see the recent video of the WPF version of Yahoo messenger), so I assume the next version of windows will see the introduction of WPF apps at a deeper level (explorer for example), when all the issues and unknowns have been ironed out.

Andrew

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