Microsoft deprecates support for XBAP WPF apps in version 5.3 of the Media Center SDK

I downloaded and installed the latest version of the Media Center SDK just now, and was a bit surprised to see that WPF apps are now officially deprecated as a supported way of extending Windows Media Center on Vista. There’s no big announcement around this so far, it’s almost just a footnote in the “What’s New” section:

Deprecated features

The following features have been deprecated:

  • Hosting for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) browser applications (XBAPs).
  • The Triple-tap/Soft-keyboard ActiveX control for hosted HTML applications.
  • Support for using alternative shells to run and host HTML applications.

The reason I’m surprised is that Microsoft announced the support for WPF based extensibility apps at PDC05 with some fanfare.

I guess interest among developers just hasn’t been there for WPF-based Media Center apps, and Microsoft needs to make judgment calls on where to invest in their extensibility platform. The rest of the deprecated features seem to have been made for the same reason: limited interest among developers for these features. In addition I think there might be issues of an architectural nature that just make the three things that got dropped too expensive to maintain or improve.

I’m sad about this development, mostly because I still don’t see a great set of development and design tools around for MCML. WPF seems to me to have a whole lot more momentum than MCML (WPF has the Expression suite of tools and has been billed as the “GDI for the next 20 years”), but who knows what may be coming for Windows 7, or even an earlier interim update for Media Center?


  1. Fil Mackay

    Seems a bit crazy / short-sighted, I thought WPF would replace MCML (or underly it).

  2. It specifically states .NET 3.0 XAML and XBAP applications. Is there any chance they are still suupporting .NET 3.5 apps?

  3. I can only give you my personal guess. Since WPF in .NET 3.5 is more or less a collection of new Class Libraries for the 2.0 SP1 CLR, like WPF in .NET 3.0 was, WPF apps for Media Center won’t be possible for future versions of Media Center. But I don’t work for Microsoft, so it really is nothing more than a guess. A half-educated guess, but still a guess.

  4. Rahul

    What ..? XBAP will not be run in MCE..? Then why at start Microsoft allowed to do for MCE.?

  5. I highly doubt that. Media Center provides one of the things that Vista has and Mac OS doesn’t: TV recording / time shifting. That’s too big a thing to give up.

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