February 5, 2004 .net

Dino on Longhorn Un-programming”

Dino’s gotten some interesting feedback from his XAML-based articles. Apparently he’s hearing from real programmers” that don’t want to recycle themselves as web designers.” This feeling Dino has dubbed un-programming” and it’s the idea that XAML takes away the need to code.

XAML is most of what’s needed to build trade-show apps, that’s true. But look at your apps today: How much of your web app is HTML and how much is C# or VB.NET? How much of your Windows Forms app is in the InitializeComponent method and how much is code? While XAML can also be used for general-purpose object creation and initialization, as far as the UI of your app is concerned, all XAML does is replace the HTML or InitializeComponent method. The power of what Avalon can do is separate the UI from the code so that trained designers can work on the specifics of the UI, while real developers work on the specifics of handling events and hooking up the business logic and talking to the back-end datastore.

I know that as a Microsoft flunky, the value of my reasoning is now suspect. So don’t listen to me. Listen to Dino:

XAML is the hot new toy for app developers, and articles inevitably emphasizes that. However, there’s life beyond XAML. And by life here I mean code, managed code, classes, methods, delegates, events and the like. XAML is a shortcut much like ASPX tags in ASP.NET. Believe me, you wouldn’t do much with XAML alone and without smart C# or VB.NET code.

XAML (and the Longhorn programming style) is not the negation (and let alone the death) of programming.”