The birth of Transitionals

So I’m up here in Redmond at TechReady. It’s a super secret event that we get to go to once a year and learn about the cool things the product groups have been up to.

This year I'm learning about Prism, which is a cool lightweight framework for building composite applications in WPF. No, it's not CAB.Next and no it's not Acropolis reborn. Still, developers of these frameworks should find themselves at home. Prism is different and Prism is cool, but I'll leave it up to that team to talk more about their baby when they're ready.

As I've been sitting through talks about Prism, CAB, smart clients and RIA, I can't help but think back to some of the cool things Acropolis did for us. One feature that comes to mind is the Transition framework. It allowed views to be swapped in and out of a shared workspace in an animated fashion, like switching between video rolls in a professional editing application.

When the Acropolis research project was discontinued I was asked by a couple of my ISVs how they might go about implementing their own transition framework. At the time, all I could recommend was that they use Relfector to take a look at what was done. Or look to another solution for transitions (like what's available in the Syndicated Client SDK). I always hoped that the Transition framework would be rolled forward into another product, but as I sat here in Redmond listening to these talks I started to realize that this cool little feature was nowhere to be found. So I decided it's time to take action.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Scott Guthrie in person before, last year at Mix. And just like many of you I follow his blog to learn about cool new things in .Net 3.5, Silverlight, WPF and the like. But this week he presented to us in person and I took the opportunity to go up afterward and say hi.

I first thanked him for all that he does and let him know what a valuable resource his blog has been to me. Then I brought up the Acropolis transitions and immediately proposed an Open Source project on CodePlex. It took less than two seconds for him to reply and to my pleasant surprise, he said he thought it was a great idea! He even offered for me to get back in touch with him if I needed any help making it happen. I was stunned.

Next I reached out to Brad Abrams. Back in October I had a chance to do a webcast with him on WPF and at the time he was also overseeing Acropolis. Again I was shocked with an almost immediate and emphatic response in support of the effort. In fact, Brad's already put me in touch with David Hill to start working on getting access to the source.

Could things really be this easy...? I know, I shouldn't ask that out loud.