Today’s topic is on WinFX, the “core” managed API in the to-be-released Windows Vista. WinFX consists of 3 frameworks [1]:

* Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF/Avalon) – GUI APIs
* Windows Communication Foundation (WCF/Indigo) – Messaging API for inter-process / inter-machine
* Windows Workflow Foundation (WF)

WPF is straightfoward that it encompasses all the Windows Forms and drawing API. WCF is more interesting because the new API uses an SOA to locate both local or remote processes in the same way and communicate using SOAP. From [2] inter-WCF communcations will be performed using an optimized binary SOAP format, while non WCF will be standard SOAP. Hopefully the non-WCF protocol will be well-documented so that other technologies can communicate with WCF processes easily. I can forsee projects starting to build non-Microsoft adapters to communicate in WCF SOAP formats.

[3] shows some seasoned Windows Developers arguing that WinFX will never take over Win32, since all managed calls have to end up calling some Win32 functions. However the author explains that although WinFX functions are expected to be just wrappers to Win32 DLLs, the situation may be reversed in the future. Core Win32 DLLs now do little but to call pentium instructions to perform their task. The situation may later be reversed such that Win32 dlls become wrappers to WinFX functions as Win32 reduce in favour of WinFX. The same situation has happened to Win32 and Win16, where Win32 now takes over Win16 as the core API for the OS.

From what happened between Win32 and Win16, I believe that the same will happen to WinFX and Win32, as Win32 gets phased out. In the end, does that mean that future Java bytecode will be interpreted into WinFX calls by the Java interpreter and then interpreted into CIL by WinFX and then interpreted by the CLR before becoming machine code? Hmm…

[2] … Foundation
[3] … orn_01.htm

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