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InfoQ Homepage News Rob Relyea weighs in on XBAP vs. ActiveX

Rob Relyea weighs in on XBAP vs. ActiveX


XBAP is the technology formerly known as "Web Browser Applications" or WBA, (wubbas), and Karen Corby provides a slightly dated introductory whitepaper on MSDN.  In simple terms, an XBAP application is written in XAML, hosted in a web browser sandbox, and does not need to be installed like a click-once application.  It does, however, require the .NET 3.0 Framework to be installed on the target machine and will trigger a .NET 3.0 Framework download before the XBAP application initializes, which is an important item to be aware of when considering XBAP.

Rob Relyea, a Program Manager working on WPF read Anne Zelenka's blog posting on the .NET framework 3.0 launch and wrote a comparison of ActiveX with XBAP. In a nutshell when compared with ActiveX:

  • XBAPs are easier to work with than DHTML
  • XBAPS run in a secure sandbox
  • XBAPS do not require approval prompts due to limited access to the local machine
  • XBAPS can use 98.2% of the power of WPF when building user interfaces
  • XBAPS must live inside an iFrame or top level window, which the WPF team hopes to fix in the future
  • The XBAP hosting strategy is currently as a DocumentObject application meaning communication must be done via a querystring.
  • XBAPS are only supported in IE6 or IE7 today. 

How difficult is it to convert your WPF applications into XBAPs?    Charles Petzold provided a follow up blog post last week detailing in 6 steps the process to convert an application to an XBAP

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Community comments

  • What? Microsoft gets a sandbox?!!

    by Paul Fremantle,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I remember back in about 1997 when Microsoft was saying that they didn't need a sandbox because signed ActiveX controls would work just fine!

    Nice to see its only taken them 10 years to catch up on the idea of a sandbox :-)

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