XAML is a new descriptive programming language developed by Microsoft to write user interfaces for next generation managed applications. Once Windows Vista is launched, XAML is going to be the most essential element of user interface programming. This editorial gives you a direction how you can get started with XAML.
1. WinFX SDK and Downloads
First of all, you need to install WinFX SDK to get XAML support. You may download latest version of WinFX SDK from Microsoft website. You may also want to look at this link to get more details:
2. XAML Editors and Tools
WinFX and XAML are supported on Windows XP, Windows 2003, and Windows Vista versions only. Once you downloaded and installed WinFX SDK, your next step is to type the code. Here are some of the editors you may use to type your XAML code.
You can type your XAML code in any text or HTML editors such as NotePad, WordPad, or FrontPage and save the text as .xaml file. Windows Vista operating system already knows how to interpret XAML.
XAMLPad application (xamlpad.exe) is designed for XAML. If you install WinFX SDK, XAMLPad gets installed with it. This is a nice little tool, which let you type XAML and show the output of XAML right away in the upper portion of the application as you can see in Figure 1.
Figure 1. XAMLPad
3. Microsoft Expression
Microsoft Expression is a graphics designer tool developed by Microsoft to keep in mind XAML designers. Figure 2 shows Microsoft Expression tool. Check out http://www.longhorncorner.com/UploadFile/mahesh/Expression02162006012339AM/Expression.aspx article to learn more about Microsoft Expression tools.
Figure 2. Microsoft Expression
4. Visual Studio 2005
If you are an MSDN subscriber and have Visual Studio 2005, just ignore what I said above. Visual Studio 2005 is the best editor and designer ;-). Once you install WinFX SDK and WinFX Extensions for Visual Studio 2005, you can create WinFX applications and as you can see from Figure 3 and Figure 4, WinFX application has an XAML Toolbox. Similar to Windows Forms and ASP.NET Toolbox, you can simply drag and drop XAML controls from Toolbox to the designer and code will be written for you by the designer. The XAML Design tab let you see the XAML code written by the designer. You may also edit the XAML code by hand.
3. Third Party Tools
There are bunch of third party XAML tools such as Xamlon, MyXaml, and Aurora XAML Editor. Check out my article on XAML tools here:
4. XAML Tutorials and Articles
Once you have every thing setup for you, the next step is to write your first XAML application. You may want to start with XAML Introduction article here: http://www.longhorncorner.com/UploadFile/mahesh/XAMLIntro03282005195730PM/XAMLIntro.aspx
There are many more articles on XAML section of Longhorn Corner here:
5. XAML References & Resources
On Longhorn Corner website, the XAML Section lists code for most of the XAML controls and how to use them. Check out XAML References here: http://www.longhorncorner.com/Article/frmDisplayArticles.aspx?SectionID=6&SubSectionID=34
Ideas, questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions? Post them below.