More on Avalon/XAML


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21 March 2005

I guess I’m famous now, as I’ve been referenced (and incorrectly corrected) by the Scobleizer :)

Of course Robert didn’t realize that it isn’t me that is confused about whether XAML is a web technology, but rather it’s the people who send me emails about it that are often confused.

Microsoft started this confusion last year at the PDC when they said that XAML was a way of bring the web programming model to Windows. What a stupid thing to say. Not that it is inacurate, but what a whole lot of people HEARD was “XAML is a way to program for Windows and the web at the same time in the same model”.

Thus, I (and I’m sure other Microsoft-related people) constantly get questions about how XAML is different from HTML, and what kind of browser will parse it, and why is Microsoft doing this if it can be so easily replicated and so on and so forth.

I suppose I should have been more in my original post regarding the point I was trying to convey. Specifically the point is that XAML is not a web technology other than in that it uses HTTP to deploy code to clients. I thought that was rather clear given that the XAML is compiled to a .NET assembly on the server, and only that assembly goes to the client, but now it should be very clear.

Robert is right though - XAML doesn’t impact reach-oriented scenarios much at all on the surface. Organizations trying to project a web presence to everyone in the world will still using HTML.

However, I hold out hope that some higher-profile sites might offer alternate XAML presentations as well - just like some sites offer both HTML and Flash presentations today. I really can see value to someone like Amazon in providing a truly rich user experience as an alternative to the comparatively bland HTML. Another modern example is Napster, which has an adequate HTML interface, but where most people use the rich Windows client. Just think what they will do with XAML/Avalon when it is available!