The CAB + WPF Designer → Visual Studio = “Acropolis”

If you're writing winforms ("smart client") apps, then hopefully you're aware of the Smart Client Composite UI Application Block (CAB), a free, community-supported toolkit released in December 2005 by the Patterns & Practices group (PAG) to assist with assembling more flexible Windows Forms applications. This is supported by the Smart Client Software Factory (SCSF) which automates the creation of new CAB apps for developers; the latest version (out a few weeks ago) adds support for occasionally connected clients, support for integrating Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) UI’s, new QuickStarts, the latest version of the Enterprise Library assemblies and new guidance package enhancements.

Work secretly begun a while ago to integrate all this work into the IDE itself and basically bake the whole thing into the platform (i.e. make it part of Visual Studio). This project, headed up by one of the original CAB Architects (and fellow countryman) David Hill, and the lovely Kathy Carper, is code-named “Acropolis”. Last night the team released their first CTP to the public, and Kathy announced what they’ve been up to for the first time. As I see it, essentially this is the CAB Architecture + a WPF designer built in to Visual Studio. So if you liked CAB you're going to love this!

For those building in CAB today, I've heard that there will be guidance available for moving existing code built upon the CAB to the Acropolis framework so you're time investments now will not be wasted. J

If you get a chance, I recommend this quick twelve-minute screencast by David to get a feel for the new all-WPF UI.

To play with the bits, I recommend firing up Virtual PC and grabbing the Orcas Beta 1 (required for Acropolis) VPC from here; then grab the Acropolis bit to your VPC from here.

Exciting stuff!! J