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Beginning Microsoft® Visual C#® 2008 by Eric White, Morgan Skinner, Jon D. Reid, Jacob Hammer Pedersen, Christian Nagel, Karli Watson

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Chapter 34. Windows Presentation Foundation

In this book you have seen two main types of application: desktop applications, which users run directly, and Web applications, which users access through a browser. You have created these with two different sections of the .NET Framework: Windows Forms and ASP.NET pages. These application types have their advantages and disadvantages. While desktop applications give you more flexibility and responsiveness, Web applications can be accessed remotely by many users at once.

However, in today's computing environment, the boundaries between applications are becoming increasingly blurred. With the advent of Web services and now the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF, which you'll look at in Chapter 35), both desktop and Web applications can operate in a more distributed way, exchanging data across local and global networks. In addition, Web client applications (that is, browsers such as Internet Explorer or Firefox) can no longer be seen as so-called "thin" clients that lack any functionality other than the simple display of information. The latest browsers, and the computers that run them, are capable of far more than this.

In recent years there has been a gradual convergence toward a user experience singularity. Web applications now typically use technologies such as JavaScript, Flash, Java applications, and others, and increasingly behave like desktop applications. You only have to look at the capabilities of, for example, Google Docs to ...

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