Windows Forms or WPF ? Choosing software.
Part three of a three-part series of blogs

If you're developing software, should you use old-fashioned but reliable WinForms, or the exciting new concept, WPF?

  1. Windows Forms or WPF?
  2. WinForms or WPF from the Developer's Point of View
  3. WinForms or WPF - from a Project Manager's Viewpoint (this blog)

Posted by Andy Brown on 23 March 2012

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WinForms or WPF - from a Project Manager's Viewpoint

If you're responsible for bringing in a project on time and within budget, I wouldn't touch WPF with a bargepole.  Here are 2 reasons why.

Reason 1 - Simplicity

Here's a typical (if simple) business application:

Mortgage application form

A simple form for creating a mortgage application.

 

This was created in WinForms.  It's got everything a form needs, including:

  • A menu
  • A toolbar
  • Some reasonable formatting
  • A status bar

Anything more is not going to make the application any easier to use. 

The form was created by dragging controls onto a blank screen and positioning them where you wanted them to go.  No worrying about brushes, pens, stack panels, grids, dock panels and all of the other paraphernalia of WPF.

If you don't need pretty forms, don't commission them.  If you give your developers WPF to use, you're going to get lots of window-dressing!

Reason 2 - Developer Experience

Here's a summary of Windows Forms and WPF, with notes on which type of developer each will appeal to:

What WinForms WPF
Positioning Absolute Relative
Spiritual ancestor VB6 HTML
Most suits Nerdy programmers Arty types

If you want a project building in WinForms, there are legions of VBA, VB6 and Windows Forms developers out there waiting to help you!

I should stress that once you've drawn your form, the code to make it work is similar in both WinForms and WPF.

  1. Windows Forms or WPF?
  2. WinForms or WPF from the Developer's Point of View
  3. WinForms or WPF - from a Project Manager's Viewpoint (this blog)
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