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Win2D: Accelerated 2D Graphics for C# But Not WPF

| by Jeff Martin Follow 16 Followers on Sep 19, 2014. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Developers looking to use DirectX in Windows Store-based apps currently can only do so by using C++ and the DirectX APIs that have been made available to the Windows Runtime.  This is not always a favorable approach for developers looking to use C#.  There are some non-Microsoft approaches available, like the freely available SharpDX project, but until now there had not been an active Microsoft project. Microsoft’s Shawn Hargreaves has recently announced the Win2D project which will enable GPU-accelerated 2D graphics for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 apps.

Win2D is designed to provide a Windows Runtime API for providing both C# and C++ developers a way to access DirectX functionality without resorting to the use of underlying DirectX calls.  The intended advantage is that developers will have an easier way to implement 2D graphics while retaining the ability to layer on DirectX calls if needed.

The code behind Win2D is licensed under the Apache open source license and is available now on GitHub.  It is undergoing active development by Hargreaves’ team, and new features are still being added.  Based on the initial feedback so far, the developer response to the new project is mixed.  Some are happy with the concept, but lament the lack of support for traditional Windows desktop applications.  Other users use the announcement to speak to what they feel are bigger issues:  lack of current Microsoft work on WPF.  This is not a criticism of the Win2D project so much as a criticism of the broader decision at the corporate level to not schedule any improvements for this older technology.

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