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Steven Kirk

Preemptive nostalgia of the possible but doubtful.

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I’m pleased to announce that Perspex is now in alpha!

Perspex is a multi-platform windowing toolkit - somewhat like WPF - that is intended to be multi-platform (more about that below). It supports XAML, lookless controls and a flexible styling system, and runs on Windows using Direct2D and other operating systems using Gtk & Cairo.

So what does “alpha mean? Well, it means that it’s now at a stage where you can have a play and hopefully create simple applications. There’s now a Visual Studio Extension containing project and item templates that will help you get started, and there’s an initial complement of controls. There’s still a lot missing, and you will find bugs, and the API will change, but this represents the first time where we’ve made it somewhat easy to have a play and experiment with the framework.

How do I try it out

The easiest way to try out Perspex is to install the Visual Studio Extension.

This will add a Perspex project template and a Window template to the standard Visual Studo “Add” dialog (yes, icons still to come :) ):

Add Dialogs

Creating a Perspex Project will give you a simple project with a single XAML window. There’s currently no designer, and not even any type-checking or intellisense for Perspex’s xaml, but it works when you press F5, which is the important part!

Add Dialogs

There’s also a Perspex Window template in there, but no User Control template yet (in reality you just need to change Window to UserControl).

Multi-platform you say?

Well, yes, that is the intention. However unfortunately as of the time of this first alpha, Perspex is only shipping with a Windows backend. There is a Gtk/Cairo backend that’s working pretty well (at least on Windows) but it’s not included in this release due to packaging issues. In addition, the framework did work on Linux at one point but with the recent Mono 4.0 something has gone wrong, and we need time to work out what that is. Getting Perspex working again on non-windows support is the next thing we’ll be concentrating on. You can track the progress on Linux in the issue on GitHub.

Even though it’s not quite there yet, the reason it’s a close as it is is due to the efforts of ncarillo - thanks Nelson!


Perspex’s XAML support has only just landed and its only thanks to the great OmniXaml project that it’s at all possible. OmniXAML makes it possible to consume XAML from PCLs and best of all, the XAML support is completely decoupled from the main Perspex library, due to OmniXaml’s high degree of configurability meaning that Perspex could well support other types of markup in future. It’s still early days, but check out OmniXAML now! Thanks @José !