- Learning the Core Blend IDE
- Vector Graphics and Object Resources
- The Animation Editor
- Controls, Layouts, and Behaviors
- Styles, Templates, and UserControls
- Blend Data Binding Techniques
- Designing for Windows Phone 7
- Prototyping with SketchFlow
Pro Expression Blend 4 / Edition 1by Andrew Troelsen
Pub. Date: 03/03/2011
Pro Expression Blend 4 is for .NET developers and graphical artists who want to learn the ins and outs of the Expression Blend integrated development environment. You may know already that this tool can be used to build Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Silverlight, and Windows Phone 7 applications; however, this book will take you well beyond the/em>
Pro Expression Blend 4 is for .NET developers and graphical artists who want to learn the ins and outs of the Expression Blend integrated development environment. You may know already that this tool can be used to build Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Silverlight, and Windows Phone 7 applications; however, this book will take you well beyond the basics and provide you with a detailed examination of key Blend topics, including workspace customization, graphics, layout, styles, themes, data binding, and the use of SketchFlow, giving you an excellent understanding of the Blend product and what it can do for you.Over the course of these eight chapters, you will learn numerous techniques to simplify the authoring of XAML using Blend. These include:
- Transforming a vector graphic into a custom control template with a few clicks of the mouse
- Generating complex animations using an integrated timeline editor
- Visually designing interactive data templates
- Creating prototypes (via SketchFlow) that can be transformed into production-level code
Throughout Pro Expression Blend 4, you'll work with both Blend and .NET code to finalize fully-functional projects that will provide both valuable insights and a sound foundation for your future WPF and Silverlight projects. Each chapter will give you ample opportunity to build .NET software using Blend. However, this is not a programming book, per se. While some examples will require a manageable amount of C# code, this book is squarely focused on helping you gain mastery over the numerous tools, editors, designers, and wizards of the Microsoft Expression Blend IDE.
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Pro Expression Blend 4 is the perfect guide to anyone wishing to improve their knowledge of Expression Blend. Expression Blend can be quite daunting for developers but this guide takes you step by step through from simple examples to more complex and graphically rich applications. Each chapter has been designed with developers and designers in mind and is written in a concise and very easy to read manner. The Step by Step examples are easy to follow, and will give you the skills required to write your own Silverlight or WPF controls and to design quite complex animations. It's an excellent book for developers who are not really graphical designers, but who are interested in design and creating stunning applications. I also loved the fact that it is printed in colour. I cannot count the number of design books I have bought which are in black and white!! An excellent book and is highly recommended.
Switching development platforms to C# and using WPF for the user interface, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the choices for building applications. This book was a great help in my learning process about XAML and the role that Expression Blend plays in developing the user interface of an application. Geared towards both developers and designers who want to learn how to use Blend, the author writes in a friendly, easy to understand style, covering technical details without getting bogged down in complex jargon. The examples use minimal code (if any) that is easy to understand and have good explanations. The book's examples switch between using Silverlight and WPF with explanations of any differences between the two. Pros . Easy to read language without being technical . Full color printing throughout the book. This is makes it easier to read XAML and C# code by showing the syntax highlighting. . Examples are easy to follow and can be completed without having to rely on downloaded source code. . Additional resources are given to learn more information about particular topics. Cons . The chapter on Windows Phone 7 at first seemed to cover the topic too superficially spending a lot of time covering the installation of the SDK. But this book is not about developing Windows Phone applications and it does show that you would use all the same tools and techniques to develop a Windows Phone application as a regular Silverlight application. I really like that the author also includes additional information on where to go for more details about a topic. Often he points to specific help topics, or other resources like MSDN magazine articles. The last chapter is about prototyping capabilities in Blend called SketchFlow. It shows how to build simple prototypes to show customers or others and collect their feedback. The section about creating component screens was helpful, as I had not seen that capability in the couple of other SketchFlow tutorials I had worked through. It also discusses how to convert your SketchFlow prototype to start your production development. I really recommend this book if you are learning XAML and want to know how Blend works. As a programmer or designer you will find it will give you a good overall view of the many capabilities of Blend.
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.
I've been recently finished Pro Expression Blend 4, and all I have to say is: YES! The most important fact you have to take into account when trying this book is whether you are a developer or a designer. Almost every book out there regarding Silverlight or WPF assumes you are a developer, and so is its content. From the very beginning, the index itself, the content as a whole, everything is taught to you as if you were a developer. I am not saying it is not a great resource to a dev, but if you are like me, and enjoy designing but have not too much experience as a developer, or if you have no such experience writing C#, chances are you have a bunch of books involving how to deal with Silverlight/WPF from a developer way of thinking. This book is the opposite. Given you are a designer, you will likely enjoy using the book, following all the chapters and, most important, you finally realize that all those things you couldn't say exactly what are they for, you can now take it altogether and bring them to life! Before this book, dependancy properties, namespaces, data bindings and so forth, were explained as if you understood them from the very begining. Good, but not for someone with no previous experience on the matter. But now, with the advent of Pro Expression Blend 4, we designers finally have a resource to fully understand how to... everything you never understood before, at least enough to make your own without always have to feedback to your many, many resources stored in your disk. I recommend it to everyone who is using Silverlight/WPF and want to learn how to deal with Blend interface. For the next edition, I will only ask for more depth and applied knowledge, as long as the book is a little bit too for beginners and intermediate users. I'd like it to be a more advanced book, maybe how to make a fully workable custom control, or 100 more pages to give the user some more examples. But the book is really a good lecture and you won't be disappointed anyway. If you are a designer, don't hesitate - buy this book.