Microsoft Surface and WPF

Microsoft earlier today announced a new product called "Microsoft Surface".  If you haven't checked out the online videos of it yet, I highly recommend watching them here.  It is one of those products that looks and feels like it comes from a science fiction movie - but it is actually real.

Popular Mechanics also has a good article (including their own video) of how it works that you can read and watch online here.

One of the really cool things about Microsoft Surface is that the table UI experience is built entirely using WPF and the .NET Framework - which is a great statement about the power of what WPF provides.

If you are interested in learning more about programming WPF, there are two great books out there that I've been recommending to people:

Both books have 5 star ratings on  You can download the first chapter of Chris' book for free from this web page.

Hope this helps,



  • I couldn't help but notice that the Surface promotional website is in Flash. When is Microsoft going to begin dogfooding Silverlight?

  • Wow! that looks truly amazing!

  • Do you know if there will soon be opportunities for developer to buy the hardware and get access to a SDK? I see a lot of opportunities for this technology in other areas than those mentioned.

  • I really like this product and see a lot of potential for it. That’s how user interfaces should be; intuitive, simple, fast to use, natural. I really like the idea of object recognition, especially the video clip where two friends are sorting through a pile of photo's and one of them just dragging out the photos she wanted to keep on to her own camera.

    I also thought the use of surface in the restaurant for ordering and paying (splitting the bill between the two credit cards) was cool.

    You can see a lot of thought has been put into this and I think providing the cost isn't prohibitive, it’s easy to develop for, and it's robust, then surface will be a big hit with both businesses on the cutting edge wanting to innovate and IT enthusiasts a like.

  • Awesome stuff from microsoft, Scott. I saw the videos and it was mind blowing. No wonder, it was kept under wraps. Iam really looking forward to get my hands on it.

  • Hi Portman,

    The site above is still in Flash, but will move to Silverlight (along with the other parts of once Silverlight 1.0 ships this summer.

    Some companies ban installing beta software on client machines, which is why for really big announcements we still need to use non-Silverlight solutions in the interim. We are, though, starting to pilot using Silverlight on for "opt-in" scenarios already, and will use it in a lot more places once the final 1.0 release ships.

    Hope this helps,


  • Wonder what the Linux world is going to say about this! Well done Microsoft!

  • As I was watching that video earlier the first thing came into my mind was: This is the killer app for WPF! Here's a medium that is made for WPF's rich expressiveness...

    Very intriguing piece of software/hardware. I'd love to see more of that interface trickled down to tablets or other touch devices. I think the multi-point functionality is what might finally drive making tablet/touch computing really to take off - since tablets have gone exactly nowhere so far...

  • Great piece of Hardware!!!

  • Would be interested to know when we will see some of these applications as desktop WPF apps. Microsoft Max came and went - where's the new WMP, news reader etc...

  • Hi Scott, are there any technical details on how it is working internal? I read about that it is running with WPF on Windows Vista, what do you need to create such software? Will there be a SDK or any hardware add-on for more or less common touch screens?

  • I like the new look on your blog.

    So when will Surface be cheap enough that I can toss my pressed board computer desk out the door? (Or well, atleast when can we expect to buy surface from

    IMO, Surface > Tablet PC. (OMG, did I just say that :-P).


  • Didnt Steve Jobs say that they patented the multitouch screen thing that is to be behind the "Surface" interaction for the iPhone, or am I mistaken? Anyways .. it is great to see such a nice product so intuitive and sleek from company other than Apple.

  • This definitely sounds interesting, although the only pity (that i can find) here is that it is based on projection + digital ir cameras. i guess it's necessary for the object recognition (the barcode-like code) but still, a flat panel version would be much more versatile, no?...
    of course, who's to say that's not the next step for ms research

  • The videos for Surface are very cool. But I doubt this product ever takes off. Why would I stand in line to use a surface computer in the hotel lobby to plan my day when I could use my laptop in the privacy of my own room? Why would a restaurant replace there $400 tables that last for 20 years with $4000 tables that last 5? And will something like this really be affordable for your home? Besides, to fit the decor of the home it will need to be made in hundreds of different form factors. I'm guessing that won't happen. A lot of the things that need to happen for Surface to become successful are out of Microsoft's hands.

    Does anyone remember how cool the "Smart Display" videos released by Microsoft were? That product died too.

    But I hope it does succeed in some iteration. It looks cool.

  • Sahil,

    You can't carry around a surface computer. ;)


  • Minority Report anyone??????

  • Anything I click on there goes to a blank white screen and does nothing. IE 7 and Firefox latest.

  • Wow, cant tell u you How good it feels to see a productlike this made on the same technology as I am working on. Way to go

  • Surface computing, a technology thats finally getting its long standing due.. But I'm still not sure if it'll really find its way into the common man's household..

  • Great post Mr. Guthrie. As soon as I heard about Surface I wanted to find out about developing for it, and I came here first. As usual you didn't let me down. Please keep us posted on this as it develops, it has awesome potential.

  • This is friggin' awesome.

    Thanks for the info Scott, I've passed it on to the other guys at work. This is really cool news, great to hear WPF is being used in bleeding-edge technologies like this.

  • That's really cool! Yes, Minority Report! That was the movie that use the same technology, and it's here now!

  • man alive that looks so cool! any1 have an idea when a live show event with this is gona be demo??????

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  • Cool work scott, though we have to wait for the real use i guess, but really cool stuff, specially the use of WPF.

  • The biggest question for me is, yep, I've built my WPF app, how do I take advantage of the multi-touch. Is this using the same technology as the Multi-point library released by MS a little while back?

  • I thought the fact that it was in Flash was funny too ;)

    Looks neat I guess, but I was distracted by the marketing speak in the videos. Apparently this has already changed everything in the world, and it just passed me by ... ;)

  • It's amazing!!!
    Good Microsoft

  • I would wonder if this surface would interface with my Xbox-360 or XBOX-720 later.

  • Is it close to the pc tha tom cruse user in Minority Reports. I think its closer in its work. Though the Computer in M.R. Was thin like a glass, it is only the Begining.
    Thanks and Lond Live MSFT.

  • Do you know if Microsoft is going to have a "3D" Operating System? I saw that Sun had one, but don't remember the name. It was truly like Minority Report - no table required. Not knocking this product. Surfact looks nice, but just wondered about the other because it looks so much like something that should be off the table. Thanks.

  • Thanks. I like that P-Mechanics video. Much more informative than the others I've seen.

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