WPF, from XP to Seven
Windows applications works under WPF and WPF applications run on Windows (since XP) and the .NET runtime.
On Windows 8, WPF is used to desktop apps, but not on the new Metro interface which has a different backend.
WPF was designed to be the graphics subsystem of Windows Vista but it is also a part of the .NET Framework, and so it is also available for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and all system with a .NET compatible runtime.
The goal of WPF is to provide a single programming model for the desktop and for applications on the Web, much more elaborate than the traditional model of Windows XP.
WPF is a unified graphics system:
- 2D and 3D graphics.
- Vector or bitmap drawing.
- Audio and video.
The graphics system is based on Direct3D (of which it does not use all possibilities) and is entirely vectorial for text display. This allows to increase the size of objects according to the resolution of the screen without any pixelization .
The display of text is done through ClearType, TrueType or OpenType and that improves smoothing.
It supports many formats to display pictures or video such as MPEG, AVI, and of course WMV from Microsoft.
WPF and applications
WPF is not only a tool to build the graphical interface of software such as word processing, games, etc ... but it also provides a runtime environment to render web pages and to build web applications that run in browsers. These applications have no access to the file system for security.
There is a separation between the data and their presentation, and the two are processed by WPF. It manages databases for desktop or web applications, and provides models of presentation.
WPF provides "widgets", the GUI elements: windows, buttons, text fields, menus, lists, etc. ...
The description of the interface (ie windows, buttons, etc. ...) is in XAML.