These are some of the features I can remember off the top of my head (that blow off the top of my head!):
- Transparent windows with per-pixel hit-testing. This means, for example, you can have a 3D model floating on your desktop (with no window), and mouse clicks are so accurate you can click between gaps in the 3D model and grab applications behind (see video @ ~8:00).
- Supports fully interactive 2D UI elements on 3D surfaces. The demo shows buttons, textboxes, scrollbars, tick boxes… all being used on a 3D cloth simulation (see video @ ~6:00).
- Full integration with DirectX/3D. This means elements of existing 3D games (think World of Warcraft, Halo or the Sims) and applications can be used seamlessly within a WPF app and vice versa.
- Programmable pixel shaders for hardware accelerated special effects. Imagine a video playing on a 3D plane, with a real time chroma key / transparency … all without taxing the CPU (see video @ ~10:45). Translation – you will be able to apply any photoshop filter in realtime to your UI elements.
- Writeable bitmap. Fast access to a traditional bitmap image for custom software rendering. Perfect for creating 2D bitmap games, paint programs etc.
There are a ton of other features but I wont bore you.
Not that these demos show anything that would necessasily be sane to do in real life – the exercise is left to the reader to imagine how these powerful features could be applied to create stunning, compelling, revolutionary, intuitive user experiences.
Who is going to be the first to harness WPF to its true potential? I have yet to see anything close to being a killer WPF application… but these upcoming features really leave imagination as the last remaining obstacle.
When a team with the right combination of creative & tech finally get stuck into WPF the results are going to be spectacular.