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Posted April 21, 2011
Troelsen Blends Technical Concepts with Clarity
Andrew Troelson has written a great book that breaks down Microsoft Expression Blend 4 into easy to understand concepts. Blend isn't necessarily a simple program to use. This is the case for many programs that are used to create sophisticated applications. The programs used by developers (and designers!) are somewhat sophisticated as well. Should you buy this book? Absolutely - if you need to learn Blend. But you should really take a few moments to read the introduction. Troelson's key point is clear: "This is Not a Programming Book, and Graphical Artists are Welcome!" In other words, even though it's not a book that delves deep into programming, .Net programming guru's will find this book very useful in getting up to speed with using Blend 4 as well as designers too. In my first real world Silverlight projects I had used Blend 2 and 3, so moving through the book I felt right at home. However there was much to learn about version 4 and some of it's capabilities that I'd never touched in my previous Silverlight projects. I had never used custom control templates or custom UserControls. Never tried a Windows Phone 7 project. I have used SketchFlow - but discovered I wasn't using it to it's full potential. Following Troelson through the exercises is easy as everything is very clear. There are a generous amount of color screen shots and the code samples (yes there is code - but not too much) are in the same color format as when working in Blend code view. I should say that his writing style is very casual. Many technical books can make your eyes glaze while managing a heavy buzz kill of your excitement about learning the technology. Troelson keeps things light and makes the technical point at the same time. As well, there are lots of extra bits if info in the form of Notes (separated from the rest of the page content) and detailed footnotes. Troelson also provides a generous amount of links, references and images to help you follow up with subjects lightly touched upon, but are outside the scope of the book. What I find exciting, is that once you develop some skills using Blend, you can apply them to web applications (via Silverlight), Windows apps (via WPF) or mobile apps (via Win Phone 7). Having that kind of flexibility as a "deviner" (developer/designer) creates more value in learning Blend. I read the entire book, did all the exercises and tried many of the suggested extra stuff too. If you do the same, you will have worked with all the features of Blend 4 in one way or another. Keep the book handy. You'll probably take it off the shelf during your next Silverlight, WPF or mobile Phone project.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.