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Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Unleashed 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672331077
ISBN-10: 0672331071
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This book has one primary goal: to get you working in Expression Blend 4 effectively using the features and functionality of the tool.


This book is not about XAML, not about code nor explicit work flows. It is about simply dragging, dropping, drawing, and defining the experience and vision for a user interface and rich interactive experience.


You will learn how to work with the core features of Blend, edit Styles and Templates, and more importantly, understand what they all mean. You will also work in detail with Parts, States, and Behaviors to understand how collectively they can provide your solutions advanced functionality without the need for code or hand-cranked XAML.


Animations and Storyboards will allow you to bring life to your vision, as will working with data efficiently and learning how to create and manage Resources.


In short, this book will give you the answers to many questions asked in forums by new and experienced users alike.


Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Unleashed is a stunning, full-color resource with hundreds of screenshots and informative figure references. It has also been authored sequentially, to enable you to build your knowledge step-by-step and gain confidence through repartition and fearlessness in discovery.


Detailed information on how to…

  • Create, edit, and work effectively with Styles and Templates
  • Master Parts, States, and Behaviors to enable XAML and code free functionality
  • Use Blend’s Animation and Storyboard workflows to bring life to your solutions
  • Create and manage Resource Dictionaries, Skins, and Themes
  • Create sample and live data
    Implement effective XML, CLR Data binding, and Control Template binding using Expression Blends advanced data support tools
  • Use Blend as part of your designer/developer workflow to create rapid prototypes with SketchFlow
  • Use design resources to start creating solutions for Windows Phone 7
  • Work with WPF, Silverlight, and Silverlight for Windows Phone 7 platforms

About the Author

Brennon Williams is the Chief Technology Officer for the award-winning UK design and development agency, Splendid. Brennon is also a technical advisor to several companies around the world, specializing in the implementation of designer/developer collaboration and workflows.


For almost two decades, Brennon has worked in several countries as a consultant software developer and technical advisor.


Owner of the ExpressionBlend.com website which is due to be launched in 2011, Brennon’s technology insights can also be followed at his personal blog, brennonwilliams.com


Brennon was awarded a BS in Computer Science from NYU and has received the Microsoft MVP award for Expression Blend 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.



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Product Details

  • Series: Unleashed
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (April 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672331071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672331077
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By I. D. Smith on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've read all the Blend books I could find. My summaries would be as follows:

Foundation Expression Blend 4 with Silverlight 4 (Friends of Ed): Poor. Printed in black and white. Author seems totally confused about some topics (especially grid layout and coding) and misleads the reader as a result. Unstructured and rambling.

Blend 4 Step by Step (Microsoft Press): Not a bad set of tutorials but can be frustrating when things don't work as advised. Good intro tutorials but not much else and leaves out too much key information.

Pro Blend 4 (Apress): The second best book available. However after the same author's seminal "Pro C#" book I was disappointed at how thin this book was, and feel it should have been issued under the "Beginning" series instead. It is printed in full colour but suffers from being written by a hard core developer who doesn't seem to have "got" some of the key points or understood what's important about design. Too often there's an excuse that something is "beyond the scope of this book" when really it shouldn't be. However it's well worth reading and makes a nice companion to the "best" book....

which brings me to this one. Blend 4 Unleashed. Why is it the best?

The author seems to have written this book as if it were a classroom course, and fine-tuned it based on student feedback. The examples work, but more importantly he answers questions the other books ignore as they're working through things (eg "Why is the square peg next to a property orange or green or yellow?", "What can I do with the grid just using those funny icons, or moving the mouse close to them?" etc).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I tried several Blend\Silverlight book samples (via kindle) and this one seemed the best. I had struggled with Blend over many years. It seemed so cryptic. I'm half way though and I finally I feel like the veil has been lift and I understand this weird Blend application. Many thanks Brennon! Blend is is a very complex app but you broke it down into logical chunks I could get my head around.

The book has deep information, but what I also enjoyed was Bennon treats the instruction like a class room and takes you step by step through many practical exercises. As you progress through exercise and experimenting you become more and more confident. BTW What I would like to see is a forum where other people reading the same book can talk and help each other (as I did get stuck at one stage). Brennon next book maybe you could set up a Google or Yahoo group for peer-to-peer help? The group name could be published in the book?

The many images are a big help. Although on the standard kindle (even in landscape view) some were hard to read. Luckily Amazon do allow you to download your books on any device that supports Amazon reader. I would read each chapter through on the Kindle in the morning and in the afternoon try the exercises on the PC (using the Amazon PC reader). When travelling and light was a problem I'd enjoy the Amazon Windows Phone 7 reader (the book was in my pocket everywhere I went).

5 stars easily. A great help to me in my professional life. I like Bennon's teaching style and found it easy to follow along. Minor annoyance: There were a few obvious typos in the book (Proof reader please note).

I finally understand Blend! Yeah!!
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Format: Paperback
I have not taken the time I should have to get to know Microsoft Expression Blend like I should know it. I use it a lot to build user interfaces and to create SketchFlow prototypes, but I knew I was not fully aware of its capabilities. My hopes for this book where that it would get me up to speed.

I am happy to report that Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed has provided me with the insight into the Blend tools I was looking for. The book is in full color so it is a pleasure to read and the author has a great writing style.

The book starts off with a history of Expression Blend, the author's opinion on why you should learn it, and insight into the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows 8 and Project Jupiter.

The author then covers the Blend interface in detail. Like I said above, I have been using Blend for years, and this section shed a lot of light on the tools I was missing. It pointed out a lot of tools that are not very obvious.

The book then continues with chapters on Properties and Functionality, Layout, Styles and Templates, Working with Parts and States, SketchFlow, Data Support, Animations and Transitions, Shapes, Paths, and Effects, Skins, Themes, and Resource Dictionaries, and Windows Phone 7.

These chapters really help to flesh out the features in Blend that are hard to find. I knew how to do everything in XAML, but using Blend will hopefully increase my productivity.

There is very little code behind in the book. The author did a good job of choosing examples that allowed everything to be accomplished with Blend.

The code download is very well organized and usable.

All in all if you want to learn about the Blend UI, this is a great place to start. This book has moved Blend from a tool I use once in a while to one that I feel confident enough about to use for any UI development.
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