XAML Tidbits Previewed in Microsoft’s Avalon

Development for Microsoft’s next-generation Windows
Server continues. The company issued a technical preview of its
Avalon user interface for developers.

Comprised of a display engine and managed code, Avalon unifies documents,
graphics and applications on the Windows platform, blending them for a more
seamless user experience.

The layer’s engine provides one runtime engine application,
graphics, video, audio and documents through a browser.
The framework of Avalon offers controls for shapes, documents, images,
video, animation, 3D, and panels, which programmers may use to assemble

The community preview features several new perks for the control palette.

These include a view box to let users design layouts for the lowest
resolution to be rendered to take advantage of high resolution graphics
software; tab control for expanding screen real estate; a toggle button
control to render Boolean values inductively; storyboards to synchronize
multiple animations; text animation; 3D enhancements; and grid control.

New data binding services provide support for asynchronous data binding,
update validation, and better styling. Avalon is based on the XML-based
markup language XAML, representing user interface for Windows applications.

Microsoft said on its Web site that the community preview has not been as
battle tested as a true beta.
The software currently runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Server

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the company’s goal with the community
preview is to involve customers in the development of its products,
essentially making them an extension of the product team.

“We’ve had success with this through the Visual Studio and SQL Server CTPs,
and wanted to extend this customer involvement as core developer components
of Longhorn become available,” a spokesperson told internetnews.com
via e-mail.

Microsoft plans to release the first public beta of Avalon in the first half
of 2005. But community previews for Windows components are increasingly
becoming a normal process for Microsoft, as its next-generation operating
system evolves and becomes more complex.

Avalon, along with the Indigo messaging broker, Visual Studio 2005 and SQL
Server 2005, are expected to be a core components of Longhorn, the Redmond,
Wash., software company’s next-generation operating system.

Various pieces of Longhorn will appear over the next several months, with
the finished product expected in the latter half of 2006.

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