Home > Articles > Programming > Windows Programming

Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Extensible Application Markup Language: The Core of the WPF

This successful blurring of the lines between designer and developer requires the Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML for short, pronounced ZAM-uhl), an XML syntax for explicitly defining objects and placement onscreen. Listing 1 shows a sample XAML script.

Listing 1 Sample XAML script.

    Width="640" Height="480">

       <Storyboard x:Key="OnLoaded"/>

       <EventTrigger RoutedEvent="FrameworkElement.Loaded">
           <BeginStoryboard x:Name="OnLoaded_BeginStoryboard" Storyboard="{DynamicResource OnLoaded}"/>
    <RichTextBox FontSize="14" HorizontalAlignment="Left" VerticalAlignment="Top" Margin="62,134,0,0" Width="134" Height="47" x:Name="RichTextBox" Background="{x:Null}" RenderTransformOrigin="0.5,0.5" Foreground="sc#1, 0.921881437, 0.04365848, 0.04365848">
       <FlowDocument AllowDrop="True" FontSize="11" FontFamily="Tahoma" TextAlignment="Left">
           <Paragraph><Run>This is just a text block on the screen</Run></Paragraph>

When rendered on a computer running .NET 3.0 (Windows XP or Vista), the XAML will create the result shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2 A simple XAML text presentation.

Breaking down the building blocks of the XAML code in Listing 1 isn’t too difficult. In fact, if you have some HTML or XML code experience, you’ll see some common threads.

First, you need to define the area that your XAML code will occupy, using the Grid tag. The code sample in Listing 2 shows the Grid parameters.

Listing 2 Parameters for the Grid tag.

    Width="640" Height="480">


Following the Grid tag, you can add a text block using the RichTextBox as shown in Listing 3.

Listing 3 Adding a text block with RichTextBox.

<RichTextBox FontSize="14" HorizontalAlignment="Left" VerticalAlignment="Top" Margin="36,57,0,0" Width="211" Height="99" x:Name="RichTextBox" Background="{x:Null}" RenderTransformOrigin="0.5,0.5" Foreground="sc#1, 0.921881437, 0.04365848, 0.04365848">

<FlowDocument AllowDrop="True" FontSize="24" FontFamily="Tahoma" TextAlignment="Left">
<Paragraph>This is just a text block on the screen</Paragraph>


Obviously, this isn’t a very exciting example, but it becomes more exciting when a new factor is introduced: Designer and developer can work on this file simultaneously. Anyone who has been involved in a project in which developer and designer had to work together will appreciate this statement. No guesswork is involved on the developer’s part when taking the file from the designer, because both use tools that interact with XAML. Even more exciting is the fact that Microsoft has set up the workflow process with XAML to allow designers and developers to work continuously on the XAML files. This feature allows companies to deliver rich, engaging, and interactive solutions more effectively.

Many other objects can be added to your projects—images, 3D, video, text, buttons, form elements, and so on. You’ll find that objects such as text fields can be changed and controlled through the Windows Presentation Foundation. If it’s on the presentation layer, then you control it.

Tools for WPF Design Solutions

WPF tools coming out in early 2007 mainly focus on designers. The two tools you want to look for are Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer and Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, both from the new family of Expression tools that also include a web tool.

Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer actually was released in late 2005 to the design community. The focus of Graphic Designer was to give Microsoft something that it didn’t have previously: a serious illustration tool. The feedback among graphic designers is that Microsoft has delivered a solid illustration tool. Figure 3 demonstrates the types of illustrations you can create.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer allows you to export professional-quality illustrations to XAML.

While Graphic Designer still lives in the shadow of Adobe Illustrator, it’s clear that this is a solid version 1.0 contender. This time Microsoft isn’t kidding (as we all thought with past Microsoft graphics tools).

What separates Graphic Designer from other graphics tools is its tight integration with the Windows Presentation Foundation. The clearest example of this is taking an illustration such as the one shown in Figure 3, exporting the file as a XAML file, and then being able to import the identical document into any other tool that supports XAML. Figure 4 shows the illustration from Figure 3 in Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer.

Figure 4

Figure 4 A design created in Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer, shown in Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer.

A key element of the Windows Presentation Foundation is interactivity. You can use Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, a tool designed from the ground up to build interactive XAML solutions, to add animation and objects.

Interestingly, Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer is a complete development environment that builds deployable solutions in much the same way you expect to see with Visual Studio. The difference is that the tool, built with the Windows Presentation Foundation, is flexible and engaging (two words you wouldn’t ordinarily hear applied to Microsoft products).

Future tools from third-party vendors—such as Electric Rain, with its XAM3D modeling tool—continue to hit the market. Certainly, when Windows Vista ships in 2007, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a whole slew of visual tools being released to support XAML.

Tools to Engineer WPF Solutions

While the immediate focus of Windows Presentation Foundation tools is the designer, that doesn’t mean that the developer is left out in the cold. XAML code can be edited and controlled effectively in Visual Studio 2005. There are even third-party add-ons such as Xamlon, a XAML snap-on to Visual Studio 2003 that you can use to work on XAML and produce solutions for the Windows Presentation Foundation.

The next release of Visual Studio, code named "ORCAS," will come with the developer tools necessary to build large-scale and complex solutions for Vista. As you can imagine, ORCAS can work with the same files as Interactive Designer, allowing the developer and designer to work on the same project files.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020