XAML and Avalon represent the future of Windows applications. The fact that XAML is a declarative markup language — an implementation of XML, to be precise — has led to speculation that they represent a Microsoft attempt to control the next generation of web-based user interfaces. Certainly, XAML bears more than a passing resemblence to XML-based UI technologies such as SVG + XBL (formerly SVG-RCC) and Mozilla’s XUL.
I don’t know whether Microsoft has any such ambitions or not. XAML could potentially be of tremendous value to those developers currently working on in-house VisualBasic apps or ActiveX controls for intranets. That alone is enough reason for Microsoft to pursue it, even if XAML never makes it onto the public web.
Regardless of whether XAML becomes prevalent on the public web, it’s one of the techologies to watch as web apps begin moving past simple HTML UIs towards the sort of rich graphical interfaces we expect on the desktop.
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