I have to admit that lately I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of new technology that I need to grok in order to stay ahead of the curve. In a relatively short window of time, we've had Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Expression Blend, XNA Studio and Windows Vista (with 7,000+ new API's) released and Silverlight, Dynamic Language Runtime, Core-CLR, yet another version of Blend, Windows Home Server and, probably most importantly, "Acropolis" coming within the next six to nine months. And this is just the items that I have on my personal todo list; the list is actually a pretty small in comparison to the total.
Obviously it isn't possible for me to learn all of this at the same exact time. So I've decided to focus on one of the core technologies behind several of the ones I've mentioned. XAML. Since XAML is the basis of WPF, Silverlight, Blend and "Acropolis"... it's something I'm not going to be able to avoid. Additionally, I'm focusing on the WPF angle.. but learning WPF via "Acropolis" and Blend. I have a long list of projects that I'd like to utilize WPF, so I'm starting there and seeing if I can rewrite one of the smaller ones utilizing "Acropolis".
What is "Acropolis"?
"Acropolis" is a "set of components and tools that make it easier for developers to build and manage modular, business focused, client .NET applications". "Acropolis" "builds on the rich capabilities of Microsoft Windows and the .NET Framework, including Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) by providing tools and pre-built components that help developers quickly assemble applications from loosely-coupled parts and services".
Ever heard of CAB? Ever tried CAB? If you have and thought, "Man, why does this sort of thing have to be so difficult.", "Acropolis" is poised to help rectify that situation. Brad Abrams used the word "democratize" to describe the goal of "Acropolis". As such, you won't have to understand what composite applications, software factories, etc. mean in order to build these sorts of applications. Using a wizard, you can create a basic infrastructure for a robust application that you can then focus on the business problems at hand instead of all of the plumbing to bring different "parts" together.
Since "Acropolis" is focused on delivering this technology leveraging XAML for both the plumbing and display (WPF), it seems like a great technology to focus on to get my feet wet with several pieces of technology. Also, I really believe that there will be a huge demand for those that understand "Acropolis" in the near future as more people realize the benefits of what a true rich client application can provide.
Additionally, I have decided to make it a personal mission (one of many it seems) to do whatever I can to see that VB is a true first class citizen in the "Acropolis" world. So it seems I have three reasons to spend some serious time in the land of "Acropolis".