Maxxed out on Avalon
I just watched a part of the keynote of the PDC05 via the webcast. I got in while Don and Chris were presenting Avalon, currently names the Windows Presentation Foundation. More info on WinFX and all it's APIs at Microsoft.
Anyway, some guy came in to give a demonstration of a demo application called "Max". He showed how to share photos with friends. I cannot say enough how much I like the new Microsoft user interfaces they keep coming up with. Especially those sexy icons they keep using for Avalon based presentations like Max. Max itself also looks really smooth, which is also made possible with Avalon. Once you've created a gallery you can shared these with friends. Those galleries are shared through Indigo, or the Windows Communications Foundation.
Besides that, it can update itself with new security patches and features, although it has to be seen if Microsoft will add more features to Max. Not many starter-kit applications have gotten any upgrades after they were released.
At the PDC05 you can visit two sessions about Max. One where they talk about how they did the user interface, and one where they'll walk through code. The presenter said the app was build by pure web developers without any knowledge of Windows Forms applications or 3D graphics, they all learned that within 6 weeks. Have your own thoughts about the statement, it's extremely cool to see your pictures sliding past you in 3D, as you can see in the screenshot. Click it for a more detailed view, where you can pay close attention to the realtime reflection of the images.
I tried to grab a video with Fraps, to show the 3D sliding images. Microsoft says Avalon runs on DirectX, if I'm correct. Fraps should be able to notice DirectX and be able to grab the pictures, but it failed on this app.
A second note is the blog of the Max developers. It's based on Communtiy Server but has a most excellent customized look, based on the PoisonIvy skin. Can't wait to get my hands on some css!