Home > Software Development > Just Arrived: Applications = Code + Markup (Charles Petzold)

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

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.
Categories: Software Development
  1. Rob
    September 3, 2006 at 5:20 am

    Glad to read your comments on Petzold\’s book.
    About your concern for Menu.  I had to go test it quickly.
    You are partly right, partly wrong.
    In a WPF Application, Menus can leave the window.
    In a WPF XBAP (Xaml Browser Appliccatgion), Menus can\’t leave the window, but they do have good behavior (you get arrows to scroll within the menu).
    This was likely done to ensure that XBAPs could not be used to do anything evil.
    I believe that Menu uses the Popup control to do its work.  Within an XBAP, you can not create a new window…and all popups must be constrained to the browser window size.
    I hope that works for you.
    Microsoft WPF Team

  2. Jon
    September 3, 2006 at 6:36 am

    Thanks for your comments Rob! Just as you were commenting I was wrapping up my restoration of .NET 3.0 RC1 after the June "Orcas" install, and testing the menuing for myself, and sure enough, it works fine in a VS app.

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