Avalon Beta 1 RC has been released for general consumption. Tim Sneath has the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Avalon. Why is Avalon so interesting? Well, it’s because Microsoft is finally catching up to Apple. The graphics sub-system is one of the things that has had little change over the last 10 years. GDI has only yeilded GDI+. Yes, there are some good gradient things that GDI+ can do, but graphics cards can do SO much more.
Apple led the way with their Quartz Extreme rendering engine, but it uses an unusual API, Objective C. C!?! Not even C++!?! WTF? Ummm, Apple, don’t you have a little be more, ah, modern language? Now, I might be completely mistaken, as I don’t work with mac’s too much (I really DO want a mac mini just to program on it), but C is NOT a modern language. Efficient, yes, but VERY cumbersome.
Microsoft is giving Avalon (and Indigo, for that matter) MANAGED APIs. That means C#, VB.NET, and C++ will all share the same interface. Plus, the new ‘Metro’ document rendering engine is included within Avalon. Finally, .NET’s equivalent to Java Applets will appear with Avalon. You don’t know HOW long I’ve waited for that.