Just been in a presentation for the Windows Presentation Foundation. This is the new directX based UI technology, it is basically Quartz for Windows Vista. The idea is to provide rich apps. (ye gods, how many times will they use the term ‘rich’ I think they misunderstood Gates wanting to get richer from the web and came up with the hook rich rich rich…)
One of the fundamental changes in the vista is the replacement of GDI (so windows 3.0) with a directX based render layer. This is what they are calling Windows Presentation Foundation and is simply Microsoft’s response to the bar being raised by Apple with Quartz.
HOWEVER where things start to get interesting is in the area of web applications, MS is releasing WPF/E Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere and it is nothing less than a full blown assault on Macrodobe Flash using the full WPF for ultra slick UI that extend out beyond the bounding box of Flash apps.
I see a few problems with the approach, firstly it requires use of a proprietary markup language XAML, secondly it will be tough to break the design developers out from under Macrodobe, but the biggest advantage, especially for those concerned with SEO, is that the markup is on the page and is therefore visible to search engines, and content managment applications which is a BIG problem for FLASH content.
At least one application is available that was built using the WPF/E microsoftMax is a photolisting app, that allows you to share lists of photos as albums and is very slick indeed from a UI perspective, whether it has the legs to affect the other players in the photoshare space I doubt, but it will likely be shipping with vista so MS can always use the new PC channel to push product so who knows what’ll happen.