A couple days ago I wrote about the free WPF datagrid component from Exceed. This is good news for WPF developers for a couple reasons. One, we get a practical datagrid to use in our applications. Two, the datagrid is a good showcase for WPF. We can see what kinds of components can be written in WPF.
I think it’s good PR for Xceed too. By getting a working WPF component out early and giving it away for free they gain market share and mindshare in the WPF community.
I was thinking about this the other night when I was struck by a new thought. It lit my mind like a streak of lightning sizzling across the moonlight sky. Zzzaap!
–XBAPs are the perfect way to demo your WPF product–
If you haven’t seen the Exceed demo yet I recommend that you check it out and see for yourself what they have done. Exceed’s XBAP demo is a suburb way to show off their new product. Its more than just code. Its interactive, which is better than watching a video. It nudges you along the demo path with informational balloons and pointers. Go see what I mean.
It’s a brilliant use of WPF technology. I’m suggesting that you consider the same for your product.
Your company builds tools for WPF developers. You want to show the world how nifty your latest WPF tools are. What are your options?
- Create a demo app and distribute on DVD at trade shows and conferences
- Give away free copies of your software with SDK demos
- Time cripple the app
- Limit features in app
- Film a Videocast of the application demo and post on your website and other video sites
- Hire a Flash team or Adobe Director company to build an interactive demo
- Attempt a web-based demo
Xaml Browser Applications (XBAP) are full featured WPF applications. There are a few differences between them, which I’ve listed here, but XBAPs can do nearly everything that a standalone WPF application can do. That is what makes this so intriguing. You can showcase your product – via WPF and deploy the demo via the browser.
So what do you do? Now you want to build and deploy an XBAP demo:
- Have your demo gods whip up a WPF demo (XBAP) that shows off your tools finest features.
- Make the UI for the demo, the marketing screens, the information and sales pages, beautiful and compelling via the rich WPF graphics engine.
- Upload the XBAP to your webserver.
- Invite your customers to experience your latest release.
There are a couple caveats.
- Your customer must have the .NET 3.0 runtime installed.
- Your customer has to visit your demo site with Internet Explorer.
How big a limitation is this really? Let’s think about this for a second. You are trying to sell your toolset to the WPF community. What are the chances they would have .NET 3.0 installed already? Very high, I bet. How many of them have IE? A better question would be how many of them use Firefox. Probably a high number, but to use your demo they could switch to IE for a few minutes.
I see so much potential for this idea. If you are selling WPF tools you really should consider XBAP demos.