Sunday, February 05, 2006

Playing around with Avalon

Just back from my trip to New Zealand I was pleasantly surprised to finally find a CTP of Sparle, the 'Expression Interface Designer' for Avalon (äh, WPF). Get it here.

It's a great tool. Although it's very easy to draw some rectangles and buttons really getting into it would not have been possible without some examples (mainly the tutorial, the flickr browser and Peter Blois' math problems (see

There is one interesting thing I discovered going through Peters code: If you use the MouseMove event, make sure you don't do a computation every time but use a Stopwatch to only do work every 20ms or so. Otherwise Avalon will hammer MouseMove events at you until the framerate completely breaks down. If you're interested, there is a tweaked and sped-up version of the VectorField

It is still quite possible to crash Sparkle and I had to disassemble and recompile
FlickrFX.dll to add piped downloading to make it fun from Australia, but I can honestly say I love it. Especcially the fact that you can work on the same project with Sparle and VS 2005 in parallel, getting all the design benefits from Sparkle and all the code acrobatics from VS whithout even the hint of a problem is fascinating!

I'm still in the process of getting my feet wet with the whole CLR Object data binding thing, still havent figured out what exactly I have to do to a class so it shows up in Sparkle List of databinding classes...

More to come. B.


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