Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WPF Architecture

For every new technology, it is very essential to have a clear idea about its architecture. So before beginning your application, you must grab a few concepts. If you would not like to know WPF in detail, please skip this section. As mentioned earlier, WPF is actually a set of assemblies that build up the entire framework. These assemblies can be categorized as:
Managed Layer
UnManaged Layer
Core API

Managed Layer: Managed layer of WPF is built using a number of assemblies. These assemblies build up the WPF framework, communicate with lower level unmanaged API to renderits  content. The few assemblies that comprise the WPF framework are:
PresentationFramework.dll: Creates the top level elements like layout panels, controls, windows, styles, etc.

PresentationCore.dll: It holds base types such as UIElement, Visual from which all shapes and controls are Derived in PresentationFramework.dll.

WindowsBase.dll: They hold even more basic elements which are capable of being used outside the WPF environment like Dispatcher object, Dependency Objects. I will discuss each of them later.

Unmanaged Layer (milcore.dll): The unmanaged layer of WPF is called milcore or Media Integration Library Core. It basically translates the WPF higher level objects like layoutpanels,buttons, animation, etc. into textures thatDirect3D expects. It is the main rendering engine of WPF.

WindowsCodecs.dll: This is another low level API which is used for imaging support in WPF applications.WindowsCodecs.dll comprises a number of codecs which encode / decode images into vector graphics that would be rendered into WPF screen.

Direct3D: It is the low level API in which the graphics of WPF is rendered.

User32: It is the primary core API which every program uses. It actually manages memory and process separation.

GDI & Device Drivers: GDI and Device Drivers are specific to the operating system which is also used from the application to access low level APIs.
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In the above figure, you can see how different framework elements communicate between one another.

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