Friday, March 21, 2008

Excellent introduction to Silverlight

This is an excellent book for developers starting to get more involved in Silverlight. I already had some exposure to Silverlight from presentations, demos and screen casts, and this book helped me get the bigger picture of Silverlight by describing from A-Z the essential components and techniques of this RIA platform. Even though it is dedicated to Silverlight 1.0 IMO about 80% of the book is applicable to the second beta of the platform. The XAML chapters worked for me on Silverlight 2 Beta and with some patience I was able to translate most of the JavaScript code samples to it's C# equivalent.

The book contains detailed information about all moving parts in Silverlight. Without being a boring reference book the content is presented in clean technical language with good examples. The code can be downloaded from the site of the publisher, but for the XAML part I preferred to type it myself using IntelliSense, so I can play with different options.

I particularly like how the author presents functionally similar components, such as transformations, brushes or animations, starting with the simplest variation and building up to the most complex. This not only shows the logical gradation in their functionality, but helps the developer to find optimal control for a given task.

The author frequently points out the difference between WPF, Silverlight 1 and 2, which helps to distinguish between seemingly similar features in all of these three presentation foundation flavors.

The color print was a pleasant surprise and certainly makes the content easier to comprehend. The color also helps to better demonstrate some of the more compelling visual effects in Silverlight.

Since the author, Adam Nathan, is a Microsoft developer on the Silverlight team, I really hope that he'll write a second edition of this book updated for Silverlight 2.

Dovizhdane!

ISBN: 0672330075
ISBN-13: 9780672330070