"WPF/E" (code name) Community Technology Preview (CTP)
Summary: This white paper describes the benefits, features, and usage of the "WPF/E" (code name) Community Technology Preview (CTP) for delivery of rich audio and video experiences on the Web. (4 printed pages)
Reaching Broader Audiences
Example Media Scenarios with "WPF/E"
Developing "WPF/E" Media Experiences
Delivering Rich Media with "WPF/E" and Windows Media Technologies
Microsoft is making broad investments in the user-experience (UX) capabilities of its platform and tools. As companies seek to differentiate their respective brands and deepen the connection with their customers, there are a number of new and existing scenarios that are enhanced by delivering rich and compelling user experiences. In addition to incorporating support for the Emmy® Award–winning Microsoft Windows Media technologies for cross-platform– and cross-browser–based playback, "WPF/E" provides a rich development framework for building a new wave of rich media applications that incorporate audio, video, animation, and graphics in a seamless way.
Note In recognition of its contributions to streaming media, Microsoft was recently awarded a Technical and Engineering Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Windows Media technologies. The award for Streaming Media Architecture & Components was announced by the National Academy of Television and will be formally delivered to winners at a ceremony held during the CES trade show, January 2007, in Las Vegas.
"WPF/E" Community Technology Preview (CTP) is a freely available download. For more information, visit the "WPF/E" Web page.
The December CTP package will expire on February 18, 2007. Upon expiration, an expiration notice will appear, and users will be required to upgrade by using the freely available download from Microsoft. Web developers will be able to offer the update programmatically, making the experience easy for their users.
Note The December CTP is for evaluation and feedback purposes, and is not intended (or licensed) for live deployment.
Features of the "WPF/E" CTP include:
For more information about Microsoft Expression design software, visit the Microsoft Expression Web page.
The following list includes examples of the some of the types of experiences that can be enhanced by using "WPF/E" for cross-platform, cross-browser delivery:
Microsoft recommends the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), part of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, for building rich, immersive applications and experiences that can take full advantage of the Windows platform, including user interface, media, offline communication, and document support. However, if you want broad-reach interactive media content and browser-based experiences, use "WPF/E" instead. Developers can easily transfer their skills from designing an experience in WPF, building Web applications and AJAX techniques, to designing "WPF/E" applications.
AJAX is a fundamental technology that works in conjunction with "WPF/E" and ASP.NET. "WPF/E" can talk to any AJAX application, on both the client side and the server side. In addition, you can use ASP.NET AJAX to control "WPF/E"–based visualization of data or delivery of rich experiences. Examples might include mapping applications, or video playback with rich presentation.
Developers and designers will also experience increased productivity and collaboration through inline XML markup (XAML), Visual Studio, and Microsoft Expression Designer tools. XAML is the foundation of WPF in .NET Framework 3.0 and "WPF/E." Microsoft Expression Studio provides features for designing both WPF and "WPF/E" applications. You can use Expression Design, which is the designer tool to create vector-based graphic elements, for creating the visual elements. You can program the design with code by using either Expression Blend, which is the designer tool to design WPF and "WPF/E," or Visual Studio.
When authoring "WPF/E" for different platforms, the development experience is very similar. XAML is used with a programming model to make the design interactive. When embedding into a Web page, different platforms might require different yet common considerations to include "WPF/E" in the experience. For instance, Internet Explorer and Firefox have different plug-in models. The integration of the component with the hosting platform is platform-specific, but as a component the "WPF/E" application is a cross-platform entity.
"WPF/E" also offers an improved programming model, including:
For the final release, ASP.NET AJAX and "WPF/E" will be fully supported by Microsoft, with the benefits of around-the-clock technical support and the breadth of support of the Microsoft development community.
"WPF/E" works with any server, just like AJAX, to make Web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes. Thus, the entire Web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user makes a change. This is meant to increase interactivity, speed, and usability of the Web page.
"WPF/E" adds video and audio capabilities to AJAX-style Web applications. Video and audio content can be progressively downloaded and played back from any Web server platform. However, in the final release of "WPF/E," when Microsoft Windows Server–based distribution is used, you can take advantage of Windows Media Services with Fast Streaming (instant playback) and Fast Reconnect technologies, lower distribution costs (because streaming users only download what they watch), and the ability to tap into the full Windows Server ecosystem of platform components and solutions.
The "WPF/E" Web client is a separate component and works independent of any media player. This "WPF/E" component addresses the need for cross-platform, browser-based, rich media scenarios that contain integrated audio and video. The CTP release supports Windows Media Audio and Video 9, and some common profiles of the SMPTE-standard VC-1 codec. Support for MP3 audio and additional formats might be available for the final release, based on customer feedback.
High-Definition (HD) video quality is within the range of playback capabilities. However, as with other platforms, it will be dependent upon CPU capabilities. In order to provide a consistent experience across a broad range of hardware, "WPF/E" uses only the main CPU for rendering of audio and video in this release. For high-definition, 3-D–accelerated video playback, .NET Framework 3.0 (WPF) and/or Windows Media Player are recommended solutions.
Microsoft recognizes the importance of digital media as a part of its technology platform offering. As with other core platform investments, digital media has matured to the point of being an integrated part of the larger Microsoft ecosystem, from operating systems to devices. Windows Media continues to be the brand and technology for the Microsoft audio and video platform. As with other Microsoft offerings, such as Xbox game systems, Windows Media Center, and .NET Framework 3.0, "WPF/E" will take advantage of Windows Media platform features where customers report a significant business need.