Graphical user interfaces are a relatively new phenomenon. The first programmers didn't have all of the glitzy bling-bling that adorns many a modern UI. They had to make do with naval semaphore flags and Morse code. Here in the 21st century, having passed through the epochs of text-based and stick-figure interfaces, computers are finally able to present information in a way that totally confuses the end-user, yet in a beautiful and highly interactive style.
Microsoft's latest tool for building active, next-generation user interfaces is Windows Presentation Foundation, or WPF. As in LINQ, WPF melds together many different technologies into a unified whole. Some of those technologies have been with us for many years, such as Microsoft's Direct3D system that displays and manipulates 3D elements. WPF condenses all of these technologies, and makes them available through an XML-based descriptive language known as XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language).
WPF includes features and elements that deal with many areas of presentation, including on-screen controls, 2D drawings (like GDI+), 3D graphics (from Direct3D), static images (such as JPEG pictures), interactive multimedia (video and audio), and WYSIWYG document presentation (similar to PDF documents). Individual elements and entire user interfaces can be animated automatically, or in response to user interactions.
When it comes time to display your WPF content, you can present it to the user in a few ...