The WPF Umbrella: How WPF is driving Microsoft’s UI platforms

I get a lot of confusion from non-techie types about what WPF is versus Silverlight, Surface and the like. So after noticing myself right paragraph after paragraph, to person after person. I realized that the relationships between these technologies and products can be pretty easily visually representing.

You might notice that something interesting about the table is I completely disregarded the deployment strategy when grouping these technologies. I approached it strictly as a question “form factor” or platform paradigm. As the line between web application and rich application gets more and more blurry with technologies like Silverlight I think the deployment approach is going to naturally lose importance as categorical delineation between technologies.

Below is a table of all the technologies that fall under the WPF umbrella.


Microsoft Silverlight is a unique platform as it currently crosses into both Mobile and Desktop space. Applications built with it are currently constrained to be online only and accessible through a supported web browser but those limitations are expected to evaporate very shortly. Silverlight will eventually allow offline support and hosting outside the browser.

Microsoft Wintouch is another one of those boundary hugging technologies. Applications built with it closely resemble their Surface cousins in the NUI (natural user interface) department but simply by their vertical orientation they share common ancestry with Desktop applications.



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