WPF is the best toolkit to use if you want to build a rich desktop application that runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 in desktop mode (as well as the corresponding versions of Windows Server). In fact, it’s the only general-purpose toolkit that targets these versions of Windows. WPF applications can even be made to run on ancient Windows XP computers, which are still found in many businesses. The only limitation is that you must configure Visual Studio to target the slightly older .NET 4.0 Framework, rather than .NET 4.5

In the past, each version of Visual Studio was tightly coupled to a specific version of .NET. Visual Studio 2012 doesn’t have this restriction—it allows you to design an application that targets any version of .NET from 2.0 to 4.5.

WPF is a mature technology. It’s been part of several releases of .NET, with steady enhancements along the way:

WPF 3.0: The first version of WPF was released with two other new technologies: Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). Together, these three technologies were called the .NET Framework 3.0.

WPF 3.5: A year later, a new version of WPF was released as part of the .NET
Framework 3.5. The new features in WPF are minor refinements, including bug fixes and performance improvements.

WPF 3.5 SP1: When the .NET Framework Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released, the
designers of WPF had a chance to slip in a few new features, such as slick graphical effects (courtesy of pixel shaders) and the sophisticated DataGrid control.

WPF 4: This release added a number of refinements, including better text rendering, more natural animation, and support for multitouch.

WPF 4.5: The latest version of WPF has the fewest changes yet, which reflects its status as a mature technology. Along with the usual bug fixes and performance tweaks, WPF 4.5 adds a number of refinements to that data binding system, including improvements to data binding expressions, virtualization, support for the INotifyDataError interface, and data view synchronization.
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