(XAML is Extensible Application Markup Language, pronounced "zamel," rhymes with "camel.)
I've been thrown head-first into a project to build a WPF app at work. I'm not enjoying myself because it has all of the characteristics of ultimate failure, like no actual specification or design of any kind beyond some vague (always changing) screen mock ups. I'm all for Getting Real, but even I have my limits.
Putting that all aside for a moment, I'm seriously impressed with WPF as an honest to God replacement for crappy Windows Forms. XAML is pretty awesome too, because the very nature of anything XML based is that there's a logical hierarchy of stuff that flows and expands as you change it.
The real excitement for me comes with the fact that Silverlight 2 is a subset of WPF, living in the browser. And heck, there are actually more goodies for it and enormous potential to do pretty much anything you can think of. And it's so easy to prototype and build stuff! I'm thinking very seriously of building a chat system with it to complement my forum app, just because I think I can. But alas, I need to cut down on the science projects and start delivering some new sites, sooner than later.
Silverlight 2 was released last week, and unfortunately the books are a little slow to release. I still enjoy and value a good book, even with the mountains of blogs, forums and documentation out there. Although what's unusual about this particular product is that I barely touched it at all prior to release. Prior releases of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio I'd be all over long before they were final. I suppose this comes in part because I was working on delivering real finished goods for the summer. Now I'm trying to catch up a bit.
I still haven't totally wrapped my head around what I could do with these new tools. I think the first and most obvious thing is some new photo and video tools. Stay tuned for that!