I am currently trying to immerse myself in WPF from a practical and useful standpoint. My usage of this new system has been fairly light and fluffy up until now, I have been puzzled by some of the new concepts, realised that the framework has taken a totally different direction recently and been have wowed by the promise of "A New Hope" or, if you'll forgive me, a paradigm shift.
However, when I began seriously looking into what can be done on a practical level with XAML and how data and XML can be used to build pretty cool applications I find myself coming to the conclusion that its all really business as usual in the world of the programmer.
When you look at XAML and the various cool looking demo applications that are out there you will see in fact that XAML is only as good as the components you can use on your pages and windows. The supply of these components requires programming skills that are firmly based in traditional methods and despite the fact that XAML provides a declarative way of creating an interesting look and feel, when one begins writing a custom control, one is still forced to roll up the sleeves and get to work with good old C# or Visual Basic in the codebehind file.
Certainly XAML is a great way of defining a user interface and incorporating the design elements we need now but the need for strong architectural skills and a supply of high quality controls for all these markup-jockeys to consume is still of paramount importance.