WinFX goes “live”

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It doesn’t take much but to look at this blog’s calendar than to guess that I’ve been in heavy duty developer-mode this month.

For one of the apps I’ve been working on I’ve so eargerly been wanting to use WinFX even though it’s still in beta–so much so that I’ve been simultaneously developing a WinForms and WinFX version–just in case WinFX makes it out the door during our development cycle. I figured by developing a WinForms version I’d also give myself an out in case there are some technical barriers we encounter in WinFX.

The equation has changed, however.

Yesterday, Microsoft released the WinFX Beta 2 and better yet gave it a “Go Live” license. What’s a “Go Live” license? It means that you can develop and launch apps using WinFX right now. You do have to fill out an additional form, located here, if you want to go this route.

Of course, whether it’s a good idea to develop a product with beta technology depends greatly on what you’re doing. For my little app, it’s ideal. However, there’s a catch…

The WinFX Beta 2 Go Live license covers only WinFX components, such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, and so on. For Tablet-minded developers, this means you can create ink-enabled apps using InkCanvas. That’s the good part. The catch is that the companion ink recognizer, InkAnalyzer, is part of the Windows SDK Beta and hence is not covered by the Go Live license. You can use InkAnalyzer on your internal development system, but you can’t release a project with it into the public.

I imagine one approach around this license issue for now is to leverage the current ink recognizer. I haven’t tried this yet, but I think it’ll work. For what I’m doing, it’s probably a good solution anyway because I can write the same reco code in my WinForms and WinFX apps.

All of this is theory, though. I need to download and install the latest WinFX components and see how things go.

Here’s the link to the WinFX Beta 2 components. If you have a previous WinFX CTP installed, you’ll want to use this tool to uninstall it first.