Yesterday, Microsoft released their first public preview version of their WPF/E plugin (WPF/E = Windows Presentation Format Everywhere). WPF/E is the web-version of WPF, which is Microsoft's new graphical framework, available in Vista. WPF/E is a direct competitor of Adobe's Flash and other open standards based approaches like SVG.

Apparently, Microsoft is giving the shaft to the Linux user base by not providing a plugin for said platform. As the dated link mentions, they are relying on third parties to write plugins for those "oh-so-obscure" platforms. Great that shouldn't take too long ... sigh ...

Microsoft has a very long, uphill battle against the mightily entrenched Adobe. Couple this with the facts that they are not supporting the Linux space and do not seem to be working to support a fine browser like Opera (WPF/E an ActiveX control and Opera doesn't support ActiveX - someone tell me I'm wrong, will WPF/E eventually be done as a Netscape plugin?) means that Microsoft will have a hard time gaining the hearts and minds of die-hard web developers: it's not a true cross-browser, cross-platform solution (much less than Flash is, in fact). I think if anything, they can only steal curious developers from Adobe and gain converts from Window app developers. Perhaps the occasional frustrated web developer who gives up the standards religion out of frustration 😉

Here's a videoplayer that someone put together, looks pretty nice - maybe an eventual competitor to Flash's video support. You will need the plugin and either Internet Explorer or Firefox 1.5+.

§302 · December 5, 2006 · Adobe, Linux, Microsoft, Opera, RIA, Software, Technology, Web, Windows · · [Print]

3 Comments to “WPF/E: The Return Of The Browser Plugin”

  1. Mike Harsh says:

    FWIW, the WPF/E plug-in as only an ActiveX control for IE. The Netscape plug-in version is used for all other browsers, including Firefox on Windows.

    Also, I’m the author of the WPF/E video player sample mentinoed in this post.

  2. Ryan Stewart says:

    Hey Jeff,

    I talked to someone on the WPF/E team about Linux and they said they’re looking to their customers. Right now, no customers are requesting it but if they do in the future, Microsoft hadn’t ruled out supporting it.

    And you’re right about the video in WPF/E – it’s going to be a HUGE Flash video competitor. Things are getting interesting!

  3. Ryan,

    Thanks for the info, I can understand the business justification for that, but Microsoft should be keeping an eye on spaces even where there are no current customers. Those kids today who are playing in Linux could be the next Google or Flickr creators.