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Be an Avalon Test Pilot and Build the Windows UIs of Tomorrow

Avalon, the nascent framework for building next-generation user interfaces in Windows Vista, is available now in beta, but you don't have to wait for Vista (a.k.a. Longhorn) to get started. We unpacked it early in order to give you a jump start on building the UIs of tomorrow.

here's two things that most developers are (or should be) excited about in the upcoming Vista version of Windows (formerly codenamed Longhorn), and one of them is Avalon. Avalon is the code name for the presentation subsystem class libraries in WinFX, which is the new application programming interface (API) in Vista/Longhorn. Avalon consists of a display engine and a managed-code framework. Using Avalon, you can build high-fidelity Longhorn applications, blending together application UI, documents, and media content.

While Vista is still about a year away from release (expected to ship in late 2006), Microsoft has recently made a version of the Avalon and Indigo (the other exciting feature of Longhorn for developers) available to the general public in a Beta1 "RC." Anyone who is interested in testing out Avalon and Indigo features on Windows XP can download this RC beta and get a jumpstart on learning the great features Avalon and Indigo will offer.

This is the first of a three-part series in which I will introduce you to some of the development opportunities in Avalon. In this first article I will introduce you to the basics of Avalon, the different types of Avalon applications, and XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), the user interface markup language you use to build Avalon applications.

Getting Started
To try out Avalon on Windows XP, you need the following:

The easiest way to compile and run an Avalon application is to use Visual Studio 2005, currently in Beta 2. (You can use the included MSBuild utility in the WinFX SDK to manually compile an Avalon application, but that would be tedious and is not recommended.)

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