The Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is a modern graphical display system for Windows. It’s a
radical change from the technologies that came before it, with innovative features such as built-in
hardware acceleration and resolution independence, both of which you’ll explore in this chapter.
WPF is the best toolkit to use if you want to build a rich desktop application that runs on Windows
Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 in desktop mode (as well as the corresponding versions of Windows
Server). In fact, it’s the only general-purpose toolkit that targets these versions of Windows. By comparison,
Microsoft’s new Metro toolkit—although exciting—is limited to Windows 8 systems only. (WPF
applications can even be made to run on ancient Windows XP computers, which are still found in many
businesses. The only limitation is that you must configure Visual Studio to target the slightly older .NET 4.0
Framework, rather than .NET 4.5.)
In this chapter, you’ll take your first look at the architecture of WPF. You’ll learn how it deals with
varying screen resolutions, and you’ll get a high-level survey of its core assemblies and classes. You’ll also
consider how WPF has evolved from its initial release to version 4.5.