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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for Absolute Beginners
§
This is a solid book for beginners. I am not what I would call a programmer. My daily bread comes from building user interaction and knowing the technical foundations of Web application interfaces. That means I probably won't progress beyond the first half of the book. The early sections show step by step how to set up the Silverlight development environment and...
Published on July 7, 2010 by Brett Merkey

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Microsoft Silverlight 4 Step by Step
My review is also located here: [...].

I decided to do my first review with the new Silverlight 4 Step by Step book from Microsoft Press. I have read the entire book and completed all of the exercises. I have found several errors in the book's code, but they were not hard to figure out.

Instead of writing a formal book review that includes an...
Published on August 4, 2010 by Michael Crump


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Microsoft Silverlight 4 Step by Step, August 4, 2010
By 
Michael Crump (Hoover, AL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
My review is also located here: [...].

I decided to do my first review with the new Silverlight 4 Step by Step book from Microsoft Press. I have read the entire book and completed all of the exercises. I have found several errors in the book's code, but they were not hard to figure out.

Instead of writing a formal book review that includes an introduction, body and conclusion. I'm going to do a chapter by chapter review that points out the highs/lows and I will rate that individual chapter.

Just FYI, I am a C# Developer of mainly business applications. I have a few months of Silverlight experience and was hoping that this book would bring me up to speed with the new features of Silverlight 4. The book did help, but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

Please see my chapter by chapter review below:

Chapter 1. Introducing Silverlight
Description: This chapter shows you how to download and install the components that allow you to create Silverlight and WP7 applications. It walks you through a simple Silverlight app that consisted of a button and a textbox. It was very simple and someone with a few years of working with the Microsoft stack will be bored. This is a step by step book and I expected this coming in.

Chapter Rating: 2/5

Chapter 2. Silverlight Controls
Description: This chapter walks you through several of the standard Silverlight controls such as button, textblock, textbox, listbox, image and combobox. It was helpful to actually go into the MouseWheel event as I've never seen that mentioned in any other book. The chapter just barely touches on the Controls available; you could definitely learn more just by playing with the controls.

Chapter Rating: 1/5

Chapter 3. Layout and Styling
Description: Grids, Canvas and StackPanel's. It basically walks you through creating these controls manually. While, I believe its great to know how to do with straight XAML, I wouldn't recommend doing it that way. Expression Blend 4 is way too powerful to be creating these type of layout controls by hand.

Chapter Rating: 2/5

Chapter 4. Data and RIA Services
Description: A fairly interesting chapter on RIA Services. They walked you through creating a database to retrieve data to creating the RIA services server project. I actually learned a few things about the ADO.NET Data Model that I may be able to use in the future.

Chapter Rating: 4/5

Chapter 5. Rich Imaging
Description: This chapter discusses using the power of "Deep Zoom" and Photosynth. The version of Deep Zoom that they were using is a bit outdated, but it worked for the tutorial. It's my personal opinion that most developers will never use either of these technologies in a commercial app. The famous "Hard Rock" cafe demo is cool, but I can't find many uses for this in business applications. Photosynth could be helpful in real estate applications that need a panoramic view of a room.

Chapter Rating: 3/5

Chapter 6. Media, Webcams, and Video
Description: This chapter only talks about the MediaElement control (which is great for video) and briefly goes over using a webcam. While everyone that is doing media with Silverlight should know MediaElement inside and out, I find the webcam part useless. I will give this chapter a 2 because it does go over the necessary parts to understand the MediaElement control.

Chapter Rating: 2/5

Chapter 7. Transformation and Animation
Description: Expression Blend, Expression Blend, Expression Blend. This chapter unfortunately does not preach that entirely. They show you how to do a majority of this with straight XAML and finally show an example of Animations in Expression Blend. As I've said earlier, its great to know the syntax, but just plain stupid to do animation without Blend. You wouldn't turn off VS IntelliSense because its "better" to type would you? Do your transformation/animation work in Blend people.

Chapter Rating: 1/5

Chapter 8. Building Desktop Applications
Description: This was actually one of my favorite chapters. It was very simple to understand and hit a lot of "need-to-know" topics like: Out of Browser, Detecting Updates & Network Status, Isolated Storage, Elevates Mode, Notification Windows and even Interoperating with COM. I actually got something out of this chapter in an easy to read format. The knowledge from thie chapter would have taken a while if solely searching on the net.

Chapter Rating: 5/5

Chapter 9. Integrating with the Browser
Description: Another outstanding chapter, probably worth the price of the book. I've looked for a way to learn how to call Javascript from Silverlight app and vice versa and have always come up short. This book explains it in a very simple way and even explores the Bing Virtual Earth API. Very cool!

Chapter Rating: 5/5

Chapter 10. Accessing Network Services
Description: This is another helpful chapter. It discusses consuming data from services on your network and the internet. Uses the WebClient class to retrieve data and bind to a Silverlight UI. It even goes into some LINQ to XML. While I have already worked on projects similar to this, I found it useful information that the average Silverlight developer will need in his/her career.

Chapter Rating: 5/5

Chapter 11. Windows Phone Development
Description: This chapter helps you locate the tools needed to develop WP7 applications and walks you through building a application that consumes a web service. I admit that I was not expecting the WP7 chapters in this book. I am only planning on building Silverlight for the Desktop applications and maybe the last 4 chapters of this book belong in a different book.

Chapter Rating: 3/5

Chapter 12. Windows Phone Features
Description: This was a fairly informative chapter if you wanted to work with the WP7 series. It discusses orientation, back buttons, application bars and context-appropriate keyboards.

Chapter Rating: 4/5

Chapter 13. Expression Blend for Windows Phone
Description: Very short chapter that barely touches on what you can do with Expression Blend for WP7. It walks you through a simple animation and that's it. Leaves a lot to be desired.

Chapter Rating: 1/5

Chapter 14. Getting Started with XNA Game Development for Windows Phone
Description: Here we are again building an XNA Game for Windows Phone 7 and we are reading a Silverlight 4 book. While this chapter teaches you a few cool things about such as sprite sheet, it really doesn't belong in this book.

Chapter Rating: 2/5

Final Thoughts:
This book is great for a starter Silverlight 4 book, but that is all. I felt that it hit a few high points and left a lot to be desired. Chapters 8-10 were the best parts of the book and I would recommend reading those if you just want the `meat' of the book. The book comes with a CD that has all of the source code and I had to rely on it one time to get me past a typo in the book. I would only recommend this book if you are brand new to development and want to work with the Microsoft stack. For everyone else, I would recommend reading some of the Silverlight Blogs below:

Silverlight Blog
Jesse Liberty
Silverlight Buzz
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for Absolute Beginners, July 7, 2010
By 
Brett Merkey (Palm Harbor, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
§
This is a solid book for beginners. I am not what I would call a programmer. My daily bread comes from building user interaction and knowing the technical foundations of Web application interfaces. That means I probably won't progress beyond the first half of the book. The early sections show step by step how to set up the Silverlight development environment and tools; how to make simple programs; and how to create and edit screen layout and styling.

The book guided me through a trouble-free installation of the large number of Microsoft installs that go into Silverlight development. A lot of software gets installed before you can begin the fun. I am glad I had this book for that.

After installation is complete, the author does not delay in getting you right into your first Silverlight "hello world." You get a chance to place each control and find out a bit of what it can do. Then you build on that, learning how to determine the layout and visual style of the screens and all the controls contained in them.

A good thing to know is that the book comes with a CD with a searchable digital version of the book as well as all the practice exercises and code samples.
§
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Answers the question "How would I do that in Silverlight?", October 10, 2010
By 
If you are new to Silverlight and learn by doing, this is the book for you. Laurence proceeds step by step with recipes to do many common tasks in Silverlight. This is a book that can help you go from zero to a first application in just a few hours.

The basics of Silverlight controls, layout and animation are covered quickly. An unexpected and welcome surprise is coverage of some advanced media topics. There is a recipe for creating your own video player, and examples that show how to build Deep Zoom and Photosynth experiences. There are also chapters specific to developing for Windows Phone 7, an exciting new Silverlight platform.

The book format lends itself well to jumping in at any point. The focus is on the developer, so almost all of the examples show how to accomplish tasks in Visual Studio rather than using Expression Blend.

Topics that would be beneficial to a future edition include data binding, advanced layout and the role of dependency properties.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does not cover Microsoft's 2011 releases of software, February 1, 2011
By 
W. Mann (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
Be warned!

The step-by-step instructions fail--beginning on Page 2 and continuing through the book. The "Evangelist" was evidently not told that Microsoft was updating the Web Platform Installer from release 2.0 to 3.0 in December, 2010. Several of the tools that are required for the book's step-by-step instruction are no longer available as downloads from MS.

There is a website for errata at O'Reilly Press (not Microsoft Press), and it lists several dozen fatal flaws that readers have encountered. However, the author and publisher have not formally responded to any of these, and they have not published any updated instructions or information online.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for beginners, January 21, 2011
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This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
This book is a complete guide for beginners. If you are a senior developer or you alredy have experience in Silverlight this is a bad reference book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book to start with., October 31, 2010
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
I needed a book that would teach me about Silverlight. Of course, I knew this book would be good for me as a complete beginner to Silverlight since the title of the book says "Step by Step".

If I was looking for a more advanced book on this subject why would I buy a book with "Step by Step" in the title? I personally would not, unless it said "Advanced Silverlight 4, Step by Step".

If you are a complete beginner to Silverlight and have some experience with C# you will find this book to be helpful in getting started.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Beginners, September 26, 2011
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
This is an excellent book for starting out with Silverlight 4. You will need to move on to other material for a more in-depth understanding of Silverlight 4. Despite slight mistakes and some omitted code, it's still a great book to start with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, its just OK, February 23, 2011
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This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
This book doesn't cover all topics e.g. state management options and especially things related to navigation. I had to purchase other book (Silverlight in action) to be confident enough to have learned basic silverlight 4.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comes with a disc of exercises and tools needed to install and build a first Silverlight application, October 16, 2010
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
Laurence Moroney's MICROSOFT SILVERLIGHT 4 comes with a disc of exercises and tools needed to install and build a first Silverlight application. Use one of Silverlight's 4 features, learn how to deploy simple applications, and use the accompanying online learning resources in this outstanding survey!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended book to start you off..., October 11, 2010
By 
Oscar Azmitia (Moreno Valley, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) (Paperback)
With this book alone you can create and deploy a mid size application that would work for several scenarios. It covers the basics, history and great explanations. Upon completion of this book and understanding it you can consider yourself with some silverlight knowledge ready for the professional Silverlight. It includes several chapters on Windows Phone 7 Development which it gets you started on mobile apps in the first few pages of the topic. I think it was a great book!
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Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer)
Microsoft® Silverlight® 4 Step by Step (Step by Step Developer) by Laurence Moroney (Paperback - July 7, 2010)
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