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Silverlight 2 Unleashed 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0672330148
ISBN-10: 0672330148
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurent Bugnion works as a senior software developer and architect in Switzerland, where he lives with his wife, Chi Meei, and his two daughters, Alise (2001) and Laeticia (2004). Originally an electronics engineer from the Engineering School of Yverdon (Switzerland), his interests quickly moved to software, and he achieved a post-graduate degree in software engineering in 1999 in the Engineering School of Rapperswil (Switzerland). Currently, his interests are very much set on WPF, Silverlight, and other .NET 3.5 technologies, which he helped introduce, teach, and coach at Siemens for the past three years. Prior to that, he first wrote embedded C/C++, and then moved to desktop computers in Java, JavaScript, and eventually .NET (WinForms and ASP.NET). After more than 12 years spent developing various software products at Siemens, Laurent is employed since December 2008 by IdentityMine, one of the world’s leading firms in WPF and Silverlight development and design.


Privately, Laurent has also been active, developing websites and web applications in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, ASP, and currently ASP.NET. He has done his best to contribute to various developers communities, first in the JavaScript newsgroups, and then in Microsoft’s forums related to ASP.NET, C#, WPF, and Silverlight. He blogs regularly on and publishes articles, prototypes, and demos related to the mentioned technologies. Laurent became a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in 2007 for ASP.NET and then in 2008 for Client Application Development. In 2008, he also earned an MCTS for Windows Presentation Foundation.


Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



With the release of Windows Presentation Foundation (a new graphical user interface framework for Windows desktop applications) in 2006 and of Silverlight in 2008, client application development took a turn for the best. Microsoft boldly decided to abandon some concepts and technologies that had been used since the first release of Windows and to do something new and better. While it sometimes seems difficult to keep up with the pace of change imposed on software developers, this one is really worth it. Microsoft's bet on Silverlight and WPF is huge, and it cannot fail. These technologies represent the future of client application development.

Because it runs on multiple platforms in a web browser plug-in that will soon be available on most of the rich clients accessing the Internet, because it can be deployed as easily as any web content and be served from any web server without additional infrastructure, and because of the rich graphic interfaces it allows to be built and the amazingly easy connectivity to remote services that it offers, Silverlight will be a major player in the world of rich interactive applications (RIA). Silverlight is also a gateway to Windows Presentation Foundation, the client application technology that represents the future of Microsoft Windows programming for desktop computers.

In a World Wide Web where Adobe Flash currently has a leading edge, Silverlight represents much more than just an alternative: It is the .NET way! Every .NET programmer will feel at home with Silverlight, because the libraries, the programming languages (C#, VB.NET, Ruby, Python), and the development environment (Visual Studio, Expression Studio) are the same. In addition, new concepts developed and refined in Windows Presentation Foundation are made available to Silverlight programmers, such as data binding, separation of behavior and looks, lookless controls that can be styled and templated at will in powerful design tools such as Expression Blend, a rich animation system, media integration, and so on. XAML, the new XML-based Application Markup Language developed by Microsoft, can be leveraged as a bridge between developers and designers to enable new workflows.

This book is not and was never intended to be a complete reference of the Silverlight platform. Honestly, I am not even sure that you need a book for this: The Internet is at your disposal and has a better, more complete, and more actual reference base than any book can ever offer. No, this book is here to help you discover why programming is fun and why Silverlight is even more fun, and to contaminate you with the Silverlight virus. Complex concepts are explained in simple terms, with many hands-on demos and figures so that beginners as well as advanced developers quickly will feel at home.

About Code in This Book

We tried to keep formatting as consistent as possible throughout the book and to make the code look like it does in Visual Studio. The code is color coded to help you work faster and recognize key concepts in XAML, C#, JavaScript, and HTML in Studio and in Expression Blend.

The source code lines are only numbered where it is relevant, for example, when the text makes explicit reference to a line number.

The whole source code for this book is available online at For C# code, a translation in VB.NET is also available, courtesy of this book's technical editor, J. Boyd Nolan.

One Year Older

I started working on this book in September 2007, and I am now exactly one year older. Professionally speaking, it has been the most interesting year of my life. Since I started working as a developer in 1996, I have worked with many client technologies and programming languages, including C, VB, Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Windows Forms and finally Windows Presentation Foundation and Silverlight. In all these years, I have never been as excited about a new programming platform. Writing a book is hard, and it's a lot of work. But it was also fun and so interesting that I always felt right doing it. If I had to do it again, I would sign without hesitation. And now that it's going to be published, I can't wait to see what you, the reader, will create in Silverlight. Software has much to do with art, and Silverlight is the richest palette you can imagine. So grab the book and your computer, start coding and designing, and show the world what you can do. I will be waiting.

Happy coding!


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (October 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672330148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672330148
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,232,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By whatever on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a developer who is intimiately familiar with C# and the .NET platform in general. I've also been playing with Silverlight 1.1-2 betas/rc's and was hoping that this book would fill in the gaps that I'd gotten through just playing with it.

But in general, the book seems to be pitched toward a less technical audience- for example, he spends a paragraph telling us how to comment out XML, another area explains how to install Expression Blend, page 68 explains to us why we've got F's in our numbers (it's hex, duh), the diff between raster and vector graphics (this was necessary?)

Chapter -8- finally gets us into some code, and it's JavaScript- but the whole point of V2 was to get us out of JS and let us use other langs for more complex apps than just adding Flash-like abilities to our .NET sites.

Even THEN, we get told that, "JavaScript ... and other C-based languages are case sensitive!", and apparently (in the next para), "...JavaScript uses -variables- (text has it in italics) to store data." Oh my!

Chapter -9- is "Understanding .NET" and finally gets into VStudio.

At page 488, you get 10 pages on calling WCF servers.

If you're a .NET developer with some familiarity with WPF/XAML and a little WCF, you're probably better off waiting for other books. This should have really been called something similar to "Beginning Silverlight 2, mostly with Javascript".

If there were any other reasonable books specifically on 2.0, I'd send it back, but there aren't yet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Putz on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As is the case with some of the other books in this series (the WPF book comes to mind), it seems organized as a stream of consciousness with constant sidebars, and doesn't get into some of the more important concepts when I think it should. Dependency properties in particular are so critical to understand, and had I not been also reading a WPF book, I wouldn't know enough about them.

The book tends to be somewhat designer focused, and doesn't go far enough to explain why you code things a certain way. It's not a cookbook, mind you, but as most programmers would tell you, understanding the underlying reasons for doing things ultimately leads to better understanding and more solid implementation of what you learn.

Perhaps the biggest issue for me is that there's an expectation gap. I think if you were a Flash designer with some basic C# knowledge, you'd appreciate the style of this book. It seems written more for that audience. As an experienced .NET developer, you may feel that this is too basic or flowery. There are a great number of pages dedicated to finding a Web host and using FTP. Simply be aware of those expectations before buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Martin on November 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I previously purchased 'Introducing Microsoft Silverlight' by Laurence Moroney, and it was fine for its time before Silverlight 2 was released. However, do NOT buy any book not based on the release version - way too much has changed from Beta 2 and you will be quickly frustrated.

This was an excellent book! But...first the bad. I think it was a little too basic in parts, particularly when it tried to teach me how to program in C#. One book should not try to be both a beginning tutorial and address advanced topics, which this does - I would have much preferred a lot less basics and a little more in-depth explanations. It was obviously rushed through to production because the graphics did not match the text in many cases, and there were obvious bugs in the examples that would have never compiled, much less work correctly. However, it all got the point across very well. I am not a great fan of 'let me show everything with examples' - I would rather have more meat and explanations. This book is BIG on example code, though - which is good in the advanced topics where you can have exact syntax to copy and play with.

Now the good - this book is very thorough, although it occasionally leaves out simple subjects (how do you upload a file to a server???) The examples are thorough, and Bugnion talks through most lines of code. He also covers almost all of the controls available in 2.0, and he even discusses the object hierarchy, which is invaluable when creating your own controls.

Expression Blend is thoroughly covered, as well as significant tutorials in how to code in Visual Studio 2008. This book is meant for a C# programmer who is interested in building n-tier Silverlight applications, not simple eye-candy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Wilcox on November 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Laurent has made a special contribution to the Silverlight world with this book: this is something that anyone with some web development can pick up to get started learning about this great new platform. Not a reference book, this is a good overview.

Before this guide, a lot of Silverlight knowledge was held solely by early adopters, and nearly off-limits to casual web developers looking to extend their knowledge from AJAX and the Adobe stack to what Microsoft has to offer.

This book is full of so many short topics that you'll come away with a great idea of what the possibilities are.

In Silverlight 2 Unleashed there's info on the tools, the highlights and promise of the platform, and get started exploring Silverlight for your next project. The book moves from XAML to an intro on .NET, C# basics, data binding overview, working with XML, and even unit testing.

If you've read Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed (WPF) (Unleashed) or Pro WPF in C# 2008: Windows Presentation Foundation with .NET 3.5, Second Edition (Books for Professionals by Professionals), you won't find the technical details you might expect.

So, let's be clear: this is targeted at those new to web development on the Microsoft stack OR new to everything Silverlight OR those looking for the highlights. If you're new to these things, this is one of the few books that you don't need knowledge of the last 6 years of Microsoft's platform to get going. And that's great!
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