WPF vs. WinForms - a Delphi programmer's perspective?

Posted by Robert Oschler on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by Robert Oschler
Published on 2011-03-01T18:00:33Z Indexed on 2011/03/02 7:31 UTC
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Hello all. I have read most of the major threads on WPF vs. WinForms and I find myself stuck in the unfortunate ambivalence you can fall into when deciding between the tried and true previous tech (Winforms), and it's successor (WPF).

I am a veteran Delphi programmer of many years that is finally making the jump to C#. My fellow Delphi programmers out there will understand that I am excited to know that Anders Hejlsberg, of Delphi fame, was the architect behind C#. I have a strong addiction to Delphi's VCL custom components, especially those involved in making multi-step Wizards and components that act as a container for child components.

With that background, I am hoping that those of you that switched from Delphi to C# can help me with my WinForms vs. WPF decision for writing my initial applications. Note, I am very impatient when coding and things like full fledged auto-complete and proper debugger support can make or break a project for me, including being able to find readily available information on API features and calls and even more so, workarounds for bugs.

The SO threads and comments in the early 2009 date range give me great concern over WPF when it comes to potential frustrations that could mar my C# UI development coding. On the other hand, spending an inordinate amount of time learning an API tech that is, even if it is not abandoned, soon to be replaced (WinForms), is equally troubling and I do find the GPU support in WPF tantalizing.

Hence my ambivalence. Since I haven't learned either tech yet I have a rare opportunity to get a fresh start and not have to face the big "unlearning" curve I've seen people mention in various threads when a WinForms programmer makes the move to WPF. On the other hand, if using WPF will just be too frustrating or have other major negative consequences for an impatient RAD developer like myself, then I'll just stick with WinForms until WPF reaches the same level of support and ease of use. To give you a concrete example into my psychology as a programmer, I used VB and subsequently Delphi to completely avoid altogether the very real pain of coding with MFC, a Windows UI library that many developers suffered through while developing early Windows apps. I have never regretted my luck in avoiding MFC.

It would also be comforting to know if Anders Hejlsberg had a hand in the architecture of WPF and/or WinForms, and if there are any disparities in the creative vision and ease of use embodied in either code base. Finally, for the Delphi programmers again, let me know how much "IDE schock" I'm in for when using WPF as opposed to WinForms, especially when it comes to debugger support. Any job market comments updated for 2011 would be appreciated too.

-- roschler

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