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Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed

Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed

by Brennon Williams

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Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed is about learning a new tool for designers, but also learning a new mindset for developers. Expression Blend enables the delivery of rich interactive applications, for the web as well as the desktop, allowing you to take graphical assets and blend them with functional .NET code through the power of XAML and the WPF


Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed is about learning a new tool for designers, but also learning a new mindset for developers. Expression Blend enables the delivery of rich interactive applications, for the web as well as the desktop, allowing you to take graphical assets and blend them with functional .NET code through the power of XAML and the WPF platform. Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed also features a C# Primer, introducing designers to the .NET Framework. .NET allows the reader to extend the functionality of many of the WPF elements used in Expression Blend. The most important concept for the reader to grasp is that Blend and Visual Studio together are about facilitating the kind of user experience everyone wants from the applications they use. This book will give you the skill set whether you are a designer or developer; from there, you just need to use a little imagination.


Detailed information on how to…

  • Design and develop WPF applications
  • Use Blend’s animation workflows
  • Design and implement WPF template types
  • Create and manage Resource Dictionaries
  • Master WPF Style templates
  • Handle control events
  • Understand advanced control properties in XAML/Blend/C#
  • Create customized controls through inheritance
  • Understand the fundamentals of XAML-based design and development
  • Implement effective XML, CLR Data binding, and XAML template binding
  • Extend XAML functionality with C# code
  • Implement video and audio in your applications
  • Use Blend as part of your designer/developer workflow

Product Details

Pearson Education
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Barnes & Noble
File size:
20 MB
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Read an Excerpt


You're a user of things—we all are. You have an experience with every thing you interact with. And, it better be a good experience, too; otherwise, you'll change the thing, avoid interacting with it, or suffer.

It could be that basking in the color of your bedroom walls is a therapeutic experience. Conversely, you might have a frustrating experience with a hammer whose head keeps falling off (or which, to keep you and those around you safe, asks you to confirm every blow). On the other hand, an object may be perfectly well-designed, but not necessarily designed for you. Even if you could fit in it, a child's chair would be too short for you. As anyone who has seen the movie The Forbidden Planet will know, Krell-sized doorways would be a needlessly extravagant use of space in a human home! In each of the previous examples, the experience depends, to some degree, on the person doing the experiencing.

Let's talk about software—the kind of software you create. That's why you have this book in your hands, right? Good software is concerned with the emotions of the person using it. It can excite the user from time to time, but it should never frustrate the consumer. When it's working effectively, good software's unobtrusive usability brings only a faint smile of satisfaction to its user's lips, not grumbles. The value of software is the value of the experience that flows from it.

This book is for anyone interested in designing usable and beautiful software. It's about a framework for helping you do just that. It's about a platform and toolset that do the heavy lifting so you can focus on the art,the usability, the experience. You'll learn how it's possible to separate the tasks done by the designer and developer roles so that you can work in an independent, yet complementary way. You'll see how you can avoid a potentially lousy translation step from comp to user interface. You'll see how to customize controls, bind to data, create artwork with vectors and brushes, and represent user interface and data in declarative markup that is kept separate from the application logic.

WPF, Silverlight, and Expression are instruments: Artists create with them. The tools have a user experience of their own—and that experience will improve as they mature. Expression Blend, for instance, is suited to designers with esthetic talent, to be sure—but those with a taste for a little technology will find a lot of additional possibilities. Soon, Blend will adapt to an even greater diversity among designers. Making that happen is the daily preoccupation of the development, test, program management, technical writing, product design, product development, support, and evangelism members of the Blend product group.

Jimi Hendrix asked: "Are you experienced? "A Hendrix album or concert was an experience that went beyond the everyday to provide astonishing sounds, virtuosity, charisma, psychedelia and theatrics. What makes your consumers enthusiastic about—and return to—your software and design is the quality and nature of their experience. For the most part the experience you provide is dependent on your talent and imagination. However, some of your success is due to the tools you use and how well you know them.

I hope you enjoy using WPF and Expression. I hope they give you what you need and make you successful. You can communicate with the Blend product group at http://expression.microsoft.com.

In the meantime, there's a lot for you to learn. I'll let Brennon tell you the rest!

Steve White
Program Manager, Microsoft Expression Blend

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Brennon Williams is among the top .NET developers in the UK, consistently contracted by leading consultancies for cutting edge development projects. He has an extremely wide skill set as a hybrid designer/developer, with experience in Flash, 3D Object Modeling, and DirectX based development. Brennon’s UK company X-Coders Limited is the preferred Blend/WPF training and development provider for some of the World’s largest companies.


For almost 15 years, Brennon has worked in several countries as a consultant software developer. He is currently employed as XAML Architect for SmithBayes in the UK and Dev Lead/XAML Architect for Motorola’s WPF project in the United States and Sri Lanka. He is also creating his ExpressTrain video tutorial network online at ww.learnexpressionstudio.com. When he schedules an hour or two of free time, he enjoys nothing more than having a BBQ with his wife and kids in the backyard.

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