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The Tale of the Shader > The Tale of the Shader - Pg. 3

O'Reilly Media, Inc. 4/5/2012 .NET programming languages. To learn more about XNA get a copy of Learning XNA 4.0 by Aaron Reed from: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920013709.do As a XAML developer, do you need to write your own shaders? No, not really, you may spend your entire career without ever using a shader. Even if you use a shader you may never have the need to write your own as there are free shader effects included in Microsoft Expression Blend and also in the .NET framework. While it's nice to have these prebuilt effects, they represent only a fraction of the possibilities discovered by graphics programmers. Microsoft is not in the shader business, at least not directly. A core part of their business is building flexible programming languages and frameworks. The DirectX team follows this path and provides several shader programming languages for custom development. So if you have an idea for an interesting effect or want to modify an existing effect you'll need to write a custom shader. When you cross that threshold and decide to build a custom shader, you have some learning ahead of you. You need to learn a new programming language called HLSL. I've started using the term XAML development in the last year. Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) is the core markup for Windows Presentation Foundation, Microsoft Surface, Silverlight and Windows Phone applications. There are differences between these technologies but they all share a common markup in XAML. Even the new Metro application framework for Windows 8 uses XAML as its primary markup implementation. I find that WPF and Silverlight developers have more in common with one other than they have