WPF resource dictionaries


One of the true powers of WPF is the ability to style or template all the controls you have in your application. In windows forms, this is obscenely difficult, and very time consuming.

For a Winforms application I have worked on, I elected the  free Krypton Toolkit. This is by far and away the best toolkit available, because it is intuitive and very easy to use. As time has passed more and more controls have been added to the free toolkit, but as is always the case, one always wants something that is not available, that ends up being on a ‘wishlist’.

This has always been the way with third party independent software vendors, where users request their most needed components. A good look at some third party Windows Presentation Foundation resource dictionaries from reuxables leaves one nothing short of gobsmacked! In Windows forms or Microsoft Foundation Classes it would have taken a very long time to achieve these designs (in C# or C++ code), yet a single individual has been able to create such jaw-dropping designs.

Presently, an area I’m not too happy about in WPF, is the structuring of the resource dictionaries, as it is liable to become very messy very quickly. Nikhil Kothari has run into this issue with Silverlight and I presume it will be remedied by the time .NET 4.0. is released.

Nevertheless, once you have the basics of WPF underneath your belt, it is possible to create applications of unprecedented quality and beauty with considerably less effort than years of yore. I literally want to ditch the winforms application I’m working on at present. That just how exciting WPF is to me now.

Absolutely Smashing

Smashing Magazine is a repository for graphics and contains loads of free graphics, icons and tutorials. It is quite possible to spend days there, as the talent on show is plethoric. Being rather design challenged (but not design ignorant), there really is a lot of high quality material available. Initially I just flicked through a few pages, but after spending some time there I am simply amazed at the high and even production quality material people make available.

WPF Composite Application Guidance

Glenn Block has announced that Composite Application Block (CAB) guidance has been released for Windows Presentation Foundation named Prism.

If you’re new to building software or are intermediate, one problem area you are likely to encounter is how to modularise your code. Most applications in general follow similar patterns, whether it be design or code. What CAB offers is a unified way of developing software so if you work on a project written several years before, it is very easy to learn, change, and maintain, because you understand the applications construction. Given the fact that the most expensive part of any software application is in the maintenance of the application, and change requests, there are profound benefits to building modularised applications. It is far easier, consequently cheaper┬áto maintain and change. We all know how astronomicallly high how much software costs to develop.

A lot of the concepts are heavy going to begin with, but if you stick at it you will reap the rewards.