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Microsoft Cloud: Book Review

Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Step by Step

Learn Blend a Lesson at a Time

Being primarily an architect and developer my use of Blend can be very limited at times. I use Blend mostly for prototyping with SketchFlow and I wanted to get a refresher on the functionality I don’t use day to day.

Over the past several months I have been cracking this book open over lunch (when I get a lunch) and going through all the exercises. It has been a very fun exercise.

The book starts out with an introduction to Silverlight and WPF and then has a chapter on the Blend 4 IDE. The book continues with a chapter on Designing an Interface, XAML and C#, Animations and Transformations, Adding Interactivity, Creating Design Assets, Resources, Skinning Controls, Working with Data, Using SketchFlow, and Designer/Developer Collaboration.

Each chapter is a lesson or a set of lessons that introduce you to the topic by creating a hands on experience.

One of the things I really liked was that the book introduced Expression Design 4 in the chapter Creating Design Assets and it touched on it in another chapter. I hardly ever get a chance to work in Expression Design so this was great.

The book does a great job of showing you how to work with sample data. One of the main problems we as developers always face is populating the user interface to see how it will really work when there is no data available on the project. That is no longer a problem with Silverlight and WPF.

One downside is the black and white print. I have started really enjoying the color books being put out on WPF, Silverlight, and Expression Blend. Have this one in black and white did not affect the quality of the lessons, but it would have been better in color.

The code was very well organized and went together well with the book. There were no errors or issues with the code. The thing I liked best about this code was that the author only supplied the base which prepared you for the lesson. That made you do the lesson instead of reading about it and skimming the code. Having to finish the samples added a lot of value to each lesson.

Overall I think the author did a great job of introducing a ton of functionality that is available in Blend 4.

If you are doing anything with Silverlight and WPF you owe it to yourself to get familiar with Blend, and this is the book you should start with.

Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft))

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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