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Silverlight 1.0 Unleashed 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0672330070
ISBN-10: 0672330075
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Adam Nathan is a senior software development engineer for Microsoft and the founding developer of Popfly, Microsoft’s first product built with Silverlight. He is the author of the best-selling Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed (Sams, 2006), .NET and COM: The Complete Interoperability Guide (Sams, 2002), a coauthor of ASP.NET: Tips, Tutorials, and Code (Sams, 2001), and a contributor to books such as .NET Framework Standard Library Annotated Reference, Vol. 2 (Addison-Wesley, 2005) and Windows Developer Power Tools (O’Reilly, 2006).


Adam regularly speaks at development conferences and to internal groups within Microsoft about a variety of .NET topics. Having started his career on Microsoft’s Common Language Runtime team in 1999, Adam has been at the core of .NET technologies since the very beginning. Adam is also the creator of popular tools and websites for .NET developers, such as PINVOKE.NET (and its Visual Studio add-in). You can find him online at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



In This Chapter

  • Who Should Read This Book?

  • Software Requirements

  • Code Examples

  • How This Book Is Organized

  • Conventions Used in This Book

Thank you for picking up Silverlight 1.0 Unleashed! Silverlight is changing the way many people think about designing and developing websites or web applications, and this book helps you take advantage of everything Silverlight enables. Silverlight makes it easier than ever to create rich web-based content or applications. And given that it's possible to use Silverlight without expensive development or design tools, learning Silverlight is a wonderful way for everyone from hobbyists to professionals to create compelling software.

As Silverlight was developed, it was obvious that a new wave of books would appear in the marketplace. But it wasn't clear to me that these Silverlight books would have the right balance to guide people through the technology while showing practical ways to exploit it. Therefore, I wrote Silverlight 1.0 Unleashed with the following goals in mind:

  • To provide a solid grounding in the underlying concepts in a practical and approachable fashion

  • To answer the questions most people have when learning the technology, and to show how commonly desired tasks are accomplished

  • To be an authoritative source, thanks to input from members of the Silverlight team who designed, implemented, and tested the technology

  • To be clear about where the technology falls short, rather than selling the technology as the answer to all problems

  • To be an easily navigated reference that you can constantly come back to

I hope you find this book to exhibit all these attributes.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is for software developers and designers who are interested in creating compelling web-based content, applications, or controls. This book contains a lot of content to help you get the most out of Silverlight, regardless of your prior experience with other technologies. And even if you are already well versed in Silverlight, I'm confident that this book still has something to teach you. At the very least, it should be an invaluable reference for your bookshelf.

To summarize, this book

  • Covers everything you need to know about Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) in Silverlight

  • Examines the Silverlight feature areas in incredible depth: graphics, text, audio, video, animation, ink, events, and more

  • Demonstrates how to create reusable controls and perform common tasks (such as drag-and-drop) using basic building blocks

  • Explains how to download assets asynchronously to maximize your user experience

  • Demonstrates how to create hybrid applications that mix Silverlight content with HTML or Flash content in powerful ways

  • Highlights features scheduled for future versions of Silverlight while showing how to achieve your desired results with the current version

Examples in this book appear in XAML, HTML, and JavaScript. You do not need to be familiar with these languages in order to understand this book.

By focusing on version 1.0, this book clearly shows what you can and can't accomplish with the first version of Silverlight. If you are interested in learning about future Silverlight features in more depth, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Unleashed provides a good preview of the direction Silverlight is heading (which is to more closely resemble the feature set of WPF).

Software Requirements

Three pieces of software are required to use the samples in this book:

  • Version 1.0 or later of Silverlight, which can be freely downloaded from

  • An operating system supported by Silverlight. Version 1.0 supports Windows XP or later (including the non-IA64 server versions) and Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later (either PowerPC or Intel). Future versions of Silverlight will support additional operating systems. (For example, the next version should support Windows 2000.) Note that the .NET features in future versions of Silverlight may only support Intel Macs, but all the features in 1.0 are supported on both architectures.

  • A web browser supported by Silverlight. Version 1.0 supports Internet Explorer 6 or later, Firefox 1.5 or later, and Safari 2.0.4 or later (on Mac OS X only). Future versions of Silverlight will support additional web browsers.

If you want to run the samples on Linux instead, you can use Moonlight, Novell's open source implementation of Silverlight for Linux. The plan (not yet realized at the time of writing) is for Moonlight to run on all Linux distributions and support the Firefox, Opera, and Konqueror browsers.

Although a lot of Silverlight development can be done with a simple text editor, you can be more productive with the following recommended software:

  • For developers, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 or later, which can be a free Express edition downloaded from (Visual Studio 2005 can be used as well, but the JavaScript editor isn't as rich, and the XAML editor comes with a separate download—the extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 development available from MSDN.)

  • For designers, Microsoft Expression Studio. Within this suite, Expression Blend is specifically designed for creating XAML-based user interfaces (whether based on Silverlight or WPF), even animated ones. Expression Encoder, covered in Chapter 10, "Audio and Video," makes it easy to produce compelling—even interactive—audio and video content optimized for Silverlight.

Code Examples

The source code for examples in this book can be downloaded via or

How This Book Is Organized

This book is arranged into three parts:

Part I: Fundamentals

  • Chapter 1: "Getting Started"

  • Chapter 2: "XAML"

Part II: Creating Static Content

  • Chapter 3: "Shapes, Lines, and Curves"

  • Chapter 4: "Text"

  • Chapter 5: "Brushes and Images"

  • Chapter 6: "Positioning and Transforming Elements"

Part III: Making Your Content Come to Life

  • Chapter 7: "Responding to Input Events"

  • Chapter 8: "Downloading Content on Demand"

  • Chapter 9: "Animation"

  • Chapter 10: "Audio and Video"

The first two chapters explain the fundamentals. Chapter 1 focuses on ways to get Silverlight content into a web page and your options for how it interacts with HTML. Chapter 2 explores XAML in great depth, giving you the foundation to understand the XAML you'll encounter in the rest of the book and in real life.

Part II covers the variety of static content that Silverlight is capable of rendering. This not only includes text and images, but also sophisticated vector-based content. Chapter 6 ends Part II by showing how to arrange, resize, and even transform multiple pieces of content in rich ways.

The final part of the book explains how you can make your otherwise static content come to life. Chapter 7 is the most important chapter for developers because Silverlight's input events make it possible to create an interactive application. Chapter 8 demonstrates how you can greatly improve the experience with large content by downloading it on-the-fly and showing slick progress indicators. And with animation, audio, and video (covered in Chapters 9 and 10), yo...


Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sams; 1 edition (October 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672330075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672330070
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,188,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric & Lisa on October 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after Silverlight 1.0 from Wrox, and from a brief topic-by-topic comparison, Silverlight Unleashed is simply better.

The Wrox book was a very good introduction, but it did not offer much beyond that. Silverlight Unleashed has more useful code samples (and they are also in full color, like the Wrox counterpart), and what I found most helpful was the series of "Tip" sections along the way to shed light on Silverlight's "gottchas". They gave good hints on what will probably be defined as Silverlight best practices in the future.

Topic-wise, the most notable difference between the two books was chapter eight on downloading content. Silverlight Unleashed had much more helpful explanations.

The Wrox book did, however, have a better introduction to Silverlight from a theoretical point of view. If you deal with Silverlight in a non-developer role (account/sales manager, business analyst, etc.), go with the Wrox book. That seemed to more plainly explain its features, integration with other platforms/tool sets, and how to sell others on Silverlight.

But if you are in a developer role, this book will be more immediately useful.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael on December 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a person who has read all the official documentation cover to cover and other Silverlight books cover to cover I can say that this is the best book on the subject.

Even though I had already read over 500 pages on the subject I was still able to find over a hundred things that I had not encountered anywhere else. One example is animation. He explains how you can set animated "to" in Javascript and you don't need a "from". A animation problem that previously had me stuck for a week was solved with 10 lines of code.

The examples are small and easy to follow. The coding is first rate. The "side bars" all contain priceless information. There is no fluff, if he wrote it down it's important. He also has all the code from the book online ([...]) where you can alter the examples in your web browser and see the results.

I also read his Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed (WPF) (Unleashed) and that is the best book on that subject so it is not surprising that he was able to nail this one perfectly.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By FutureTurnip on October 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was very usefull and masterfully crafted. The book guides you from creating the silverlight plug in, to using XAML, to making the most out of the Silverlight's media capabilities. The topics are covered to a very low level, but the author provides such carefull explaniations that even I finally get how attached properties work in XAML and why we need them. The sidebars and breakouts are extremely usefull. There are explanations, were appropriate, of how Silverlight compares with Avalon. Adam even points out known issues and problems along the way. The code samples are extremely relevant to the topic and very usefull. Truly, an enjoyable book for learning Silverlight!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ricci Gian Maria on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book for an introduction to silverlight, but the argument are not treated so deeply. This book contains an overview of the silverlight engine with a good amount of basic example, it is a good book for everyone that does not know anything about silverlight and want to read the first book on the argument
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