How to Hook into an Existing App
The second session that I attended at the UI Smackdown discussed opportunities for hooking new technologies into an existing application. In particular, one of the participants wanted to hook a WinForms app with a WPF app. While we were there, Drew Robbins from Microsoft demonstrated how to do this, and gave references to some tutorials at msdn.microsoft.com.
One discussion that came out of this session was the idea that the goal in generating user interfaces is to be able to suspend the disbelief of the users that they are actually using software. They need to feel like it's a natural progression toward getting their work done. With WinForms, this is difficult, but WPF improves this experience.
One objection that people face when moving away from winforms is that there is a lot of third party support for it. However, looking at WPF, it's apparent that a lot of these things have been built into the framework, so third party support is not as critical. Rather, the downside of WPF at this point is in documentation (or lack thereof). Once you figure out what to look for, WPF is a lot easier than Winforms.
An aside that came out of this session was the idea that we often look at migrating an application based on what it currently does. Rather, we should consider what the USER is trying to accomplish. This will offer us more of an opportunity to provide a rich web application experience, since we aren't stuck in the mode of what has been done.