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Xamlon Refocuses Amidst XAML Craze

When Xamlon released its XAML application in October, its CEO promised "XAML now."

But that was then. Now, Xamlon is backing away from XAML, saying developers aren't really ready.

The product in question, Xamlon 1.0, is an application development package providing streamlined coding for Web services and Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly Avalon), the graphics display component in Windows Vista.

While the release of Windows Vista is planned for the end of 2006, Xamlon 1.0 lets .NET developers begin coding in XAML immediately.

On Tuesday, at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, Xamlon released a beta version of Xamlon Web, a tool that lets those .NET developers use C# and Visual Studio .NET to create and deploy applications that deploy to any browser or operating system.

It's the same message but a different target.

"The announcement is a lot about messaging and a lot about focus," said Xamlon CEO Paul Colton. "We said, 'Let's align ourselves more closely with the release schedule of Microsoft and not force developers into something they don't want to use right now."

There was plenty of excitement at PDC about XAML and how it will enable developers to create both the front end and business logic of applications. But, while Microsoft has released community technology previews of XAML-related technologies, Vista is at least two years away from general market availability.

"Mainly we learned that developers, much as they love all the new technology out there like XAML and Avalon," Colton said, "they want to build Internet applications with technology they understand today."

Colton said that even developers who work with Macromedia's Flash said XAML wasn't top-of-mind right now. They liked the drag-and-drop interface of Xamlon, but they wanted to deploy to the Web.

Xamlon released Xamlon Pro, Flash Edition in March. It lets developers write Flash user interfaces using any .NET-based programming platform, including C# and Visual Basic , instead of using Macromedia's Flash MX tool.

Xamlon Web takes applications written in Visual Studio, and then uses Microsoft's Intermediate Language bytecode to create Flash files. The resulting applications can be deployed anywhere Flash is installed, including Windows, Mac and Linux computers, plus PDAs and cell phones.

Xamlon also plans to support DHTML and asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). Colton said Xamlon could also build on top of Atlas, the AJAX tool under development by Microsoft.

Colton said developers are struggling to keep up with the wave of new development environments being pushed out by Microsoft.

"We're trying to tell developers there's one unified way of building applications," Colton said. "We'll manage the process of deploying to AJAX, Flash or some future platform, so developers don't need to keep figuring out how to apply their skills to the next new thing."