Joe Stegman just answered Joel Spolsky's famous “How Microsoft Lost the API War” piece with a few neat demos of upcoming technology for building Windows apps — Joe's a lead program manager on the Windows Forms team.
“Wait a second Scoble, I thought WinForms was dead,” I can already
hear some of you saying. In fact, one of my readers just said something
like that in one of my comments.
Well, these videos should shoot that myth all to heck and back.
WinForms is here, is being invested in, and the next version will see
sizeable productivity and quality payoffs for developers. Oh, and
WinForms even works with Avalon just fine (Avalon can host WinForms and
WinForms can host Avalon UIs, Joe told me).
Just look at the demos. The team has built UI clones of MSN
Messenger. Of Microsoft Money. Of Outlook 2003. Of Internet Explorer.
And other apps.
Astute viewers will notice the cool RSS news aggregator being demonstrated.
Look at the Outlook sample that Joe shows off. It was built with 100 lines of glue code.
That takes me back to 1992 when I got my first demo of Visual Basic
1.0. One of the Microsofties (I think it was Tom Button) came out to
Fawcette's offices (where we published a magazine named BasicPro back
then) and showed off just how hard it was to build a Windows app back
then (back on Windows 2.0). Just drawing a window on the screen took
400 lines of C code. Only programming gurus could deal with that.
The VB team showed how they could draw a window on screen with only
three lines of code. Today nearly every GUI development environment
looks like, and works like, the early VB.
That's why I'm so excited to see the latest Windows Forms demos.
Programmer productivity is pushed forward yet again. Joe demos how he
builds an Outlook clone with about 100 lines of glue code.