Tablet PC developer features I’d like to see


Recently I’ve been brainstorming about new Tablet SDKs or features would I like to see for developers down the road. Here are a few:

* High-level classes/XAML/etc that can create, edit, search, print note pages similar to those in Journal. With the right SDK, creating a Journal clone should be no harder than creating a Notepad equivalent.
* Out of the box, the Tablet SDK can draw in an ink style or highlighter style. What about support for a pencil? Or a simulated oil brush? I’m thinking in terms of three or four more stock renderers with numerous parameters that developers can select. If the Tablet SDK support a drawing style that actually used tilt, for instance, maybe we’d start seeing Tablets that actually support this feature. Until then, standalone digitizers are providing superior features for graphic artists. It’s a shame.
* Programmatic access to the TIP or a standard correction comb or UI. Have you ever wanted to allow users to select text in your app and have the TIP display the text so that the user can edit it in the TIP comb? Sure would be nice. What about adding custom buttons to the TIP? Or pushing the ink actually drawn in the TIP to the application? Lot’s of great TIP extensions are possible.
* It’s well known that Microsoft uses a neural net technology as part of its recognition engine. What if this part of the recognizer was open? Would third-parties build data collection and analysis software to support it? Would community efforts to collect samples of certain training sets evolve? I think so. It would be a bold move on the part of Microsoft to open up this core technology, but when you think about it, imagine how forward thinking a move this would be? Can you think of any other mainstream platform SDK that would be even close to this?
* Sharing and collaboration SDK geared towards ink. WCF is getting closer here, but I’d like to see higher-level objects that simplify the process of sharing and managing ink and text between multiple instances of an app with minimal code.
* UI controls that support ink input.
* Cross-browser support for ink.

What other SDKs/classes/XAML would you like to see?


  1. Create a Cursor object from a DrawingAttributes object.

    Also, in WPF, the textboxes natively support TSF so you get the correction stuff in the TIP “for free”.

  2. Thanks for the WPF TIP tip, Josh. I’m half way through installing the WinFX Beta 2 right now and this will be one of the first things I try.

  3. Unfortunately, I still don’t know how to “attach” recognition results to text that I’ve already recognized. The TIP sends this stuff via the TSF API’s which I am completely unfamiliar with. Like text boxes in TEO do not have this feature which I would like, but alas I have no idea how to send the reco results that I have to the TIP.