How will WPF change the windows component vendor marketplace?

Phil Wright who many early .NET-ers will remember as the author of the “DotNetMagic” widget set for windows forms is going to start a micro-isv as a component vendor, and was recently speculating as to what strategies the existing players might be adopting in the face of the fairly big change in rich-client programming that is WPF. This got me wondering what the component vendor space will even look like once WPF lands - it seems like many existing components main differentiating factor from their traditional windows counterparts is the extra “look and feel” that can be applied (giving them the MS Office, Visual Studio or MS Money “theme“). WPF can do all this through templates - maybe the market will shift from buying third-party controls to buying libraries of mouth-watering control templates. Will regular developers embrace the power of themeing, or stick to battleship grey? At the moment the application design surface in Cider (where application-scoped themes would presumably reside) is not yet implemented, so its hard to forsee what kind of UI they’re planning on there. I imagine in order to be successful theme libraries would have to have some kind of “drag and drop from the toolbox onto the application surface” kind of design experience to be widely adopted, but who knows - maybe MS has something even better in mind. Perhaps control libraries with nice-looking default templates (but no additional behavior) will hit the sweet-spot?


Mitch Denny
I think you might be pleasantly surprised by Cider.
23/01/2006 10:08:00 PM