Visual Studio Orcas and WPF First Impressions

I decided to play around with Orcas and luckily, Microsoft provides a fully working virtual machine with everything installed. That is GREAT and I hope they do that with all their beta tools. You can get Virtual PC 2007 for free from and you can get the virtual machine image from Don’t forget to download the base image from

I ran the new visual studio and created a new WPF application targeting the 3.0 framework and it looks pretty good for a CTP but there are a lot of things missing:

  1. There is no “Events” tab in the properties window of controls.
  2. Double clicking on a control in the form designer doesn’t wire an event.
  3. Tags are not automatically closed in the XAML editor.
  4. No smart tags on the controls and is very hard to figure things out without looking at samples and documentation.
  5. I can’t switch Windows 2003 to use window XP themes to test the look and feel of my application; but it was easy to just drag the executable to my Vista desktop and run it and everything is automatically “Vista-fied”
  6. You pretty much have to hand-XAML everything e.g. no point and click Menu designer (or even a preview of how the menu looks like)

But there is a LOT to like:

  1. The split view in the form designer is awesome (and fast).
  2. The tag breadcrumb is great and has live preview (like vista taskbar previews)
  3. I love how IntelliSense starts working as soon as you type (this has always been a feature in C# and it’s about time it made it to VB).
  4. I am not sure yet, but so far I like how IntelliSense filters results as you type

I am sure there is more to like and I will keep blogging about my experience as I play around with it more.

Please share any tips, info, etc… and let me know what you think of Orcas so far.


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