Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Microsoft: WinForms here to stay...for now

As promised, here is the shocking news that is starting to come to light. When Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 start shipping in a few weeks, Microsoft won't be recommending that companies use WPF to build applications. No, they'll be recommending that people building new LoB (Line of Business) apps (a.k.a. business apps) use the tried and true WinForms technology to get the job done. WPF won't be explicitly discouraged, per se. Instead WPF will be encouraged as the platform for "rich experience apps" and WinForms will get the nod for everything else...from Microsoft.

If that doesn't surprise you, then you've probably missed what seems like at least a year's worth of "WinForms is dead" "don't start any new development in WinForms" discussion in the industry. It will be very interesting to see how this increasingly public position from Microsoft will affect the adoption rate of WPF in business development and how the component industry will react. Microsoft claims this is not a new position and consistent with the messages they've been sending, and based on the details in the WPF paper they promoted technically they're right. In fact, for many months Microsoft has been saying "use the best technology and integrate" (meaning build with WinForms and integrate WPF), it just seems that message is finally starting to sink in.

So what does this news mean? Does it mean the tools in Visual Studio 2008 aren't really ready for full scale WPF development? Does it mean WPF itself (or at least with its current out of the box tools) is not ready for business development? I'll let you draw your own conclusions on those points, but it definitely does mean that WinForms development is here to stay for at least another couple of years. Sound off and let me know what you think of this news in the comments.


Roger Hendriks - FenĂȘtre said...

Hi Todd,

I posted a question about this to Scott in the Silverlight 1.0 release post. It wasn't posted ;(
The summary of this question was: As a business development company on what technology should we focus in the near future:
- Silverlight 1.1 (os independent)
- WPF or
- Windows Forms
I guess the answer is given but looking at this:
I can hardly wait start using WPF for my business end users.

Rob said...

Thank God.

WPF is slow and the tools just aren't there. I find it hard to use and the learning curve is tremendous. Yes, it's cool and all but Winforms has the tools I need for business. WPF has the graphic tools. Together I think they will make a great team.