The WPF/XAML Conversion Tool Contest

First, a sincere thank you to everyone who sent me daily e-mail reminders of the three Dell XPS M1710 laptops that we'll be awarding as contest prizes. Your wait has finally paid off!

Announcing...the official start of the WPF Conversion Contest, a contest that challenges you to build a freely-available tool that converts from an existing 2D or 3D graphics format to WPF/XAML. You'll have until Friday, October 27th, 2006 to build and submit your application for consideration. Each of three winners will receive a decked-out Dell XPS M1710 laptop. Suh-wheeeeet!

We're looking for tools that work with the following graphic file formats: Flash® (.SWF), Photoshop® (.PSD), Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG), 3ds Max® (.3DS, .MAX), AutoCAD® (.DXF), DirectX® (.X), and Wavefront® (.OBJ). If you're wondering, these formats were selected based on feedback from many of our WPF early adopters.

Each of these formats has its own unique challenges. For example, at a high level, Flash files can contain shape definitions, animation, and code. I've already done some early experimentation with Flash files, and I've documented some of my thoughts in Converting Flash Shapes to WPF. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to dig into converting animation, and I've not even looked at what it would take to get ActionScript code over to C# or Visual Basic .NET. Think you can do it?

You'll have to be creative with some of these solutions. For example, what does it mean to convert layered bitmap files from Photoshop (.PSD)? Does it make the most sense to flatten the layers and export a single bitmap? Or is it better to retain the individual layers in WPF? Or maybe it's best exposed as an option for the user. And how does the user convert a file (or frankly, a batch of files)? Do they drag files onto a GUI form to launch the conversion? Or do they need to construct a command-line? It's all up to you.

You can find documentation and tips for most of these file formats by searching the internet. There are even some books like the Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats to help get you going.

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. If you like to play with graphic file formats, this should be a very fun and challenging contest.

Good luck!