BOOK REVIEW: Professional Silverlight 2 for ASP.NET Developers [WROX]

Peter reviews a new Silverlight book and gives it a "thumbs up".

Don't be confused by the title of this book - it's 95% about Silverlight. I think its just one of those "publisher title formulas". Of course, most all Silverlight development is done by "ASP.NET" developers because you are using Visual Studio 2008 and an ASP.NET Web project to host the Silverlight control. And of course, Expression Blend will also load a Silverlight Visual Studio project to do your design work and XAML layout.

Jonathan Swift, Chris Barker, Dan Wahlin, and Salvador Patuel have put together a very well-designed, informative book on all major aspects of working with Silverlight 2. I am not familiar with all the authors, but I know Dan Wahlin pretty well and he's a real thinker. Dan is the one who, among other contributions, designed the WCF polling duplex game app.

The book starts out with the obligatory first chapter about Silverlight / history and so on. But from that point on it gets a lot better.

Chapter 2 provides a feature - complete description of Silverlight Architecture, what's "in" and what's "out", and XAML.

Chapter 3 is a condensed treatise on XAML and why you need to learn how to use it.

Chapter 4 gets into the actual programming model of Silverlight, how applications are composed, namespaces, pages, Javascript, DOM manipulation, the SL Object Model, Dynamic XAML, Events, Threading, Routed Events, BackgroundWorker, and a lot more.

Chapter 5 deals with Expression Suite and creating the User Interface. You get a whirlwind tour of the Expression family of products, the layout process, controls, full-screen support, localization via resources, and more.

Chapter 6 comprises a comprehensive treatment of all the Silverlight controls, including the new Toolkit controls. Forty five pages worth!

Chapter 7 provides coverage of Styles and Templates - inline styles, specifying styles, overriding styles, and templating along with VisualState and template binding.

Chapter 8 covers User Interaction - UIElements Events, consuming properties, input devices, storyboards, keyboard, ink, drag and drop, and navigation, with lots of great code samples, visuals and charts.

Chapter 9 gets into the area of communication- Networking, data processing, Cross-Domain support, policy files, WCF and ASMX services, service proxies, REST API's and services, processing XML data, JSON, serialization, sockets, feeds, and more.

Chapter 10 covers all the data framework options, LINQ, Data controls, data binding, complex binding and conversions, dependency properties, data repositories, Isolated Storage, ADO.NET Data Services and more.

Chapter 11 is devoted entirely to the creation of Custom Controls and control architecture.

Chapter 12 covers security - the Security Model, Cross - Domain Security, and integration with ASP.NET Security.  It ends with some coverage of obfuscation.

Chapter 13 provides feature - complete coverage of audio and video in Silverlight.

Chapter 14 covers graphics and animation.

Chapter 15 explains troubleshooting and debugging techniques, along with testing and exception handling.

Chapter 16 provides about the best coverage I've seen on Game loops and performance considerations in developing Silverlight apps.

I was surprised at the level of depth this book goes into about Silverlight - even thought just released, it really wasn't on my radar until I asked Dan Wahlin about it. I'm not sure that the book has been properly promoted. But rest assured, I believe this book is "up there" in the top 4 or 5 books about Silverlight. It is very well written and orderly, loaded with excellent charts, graphics and source code examples (all in C# - along with downloadable Visual Studio solutions for almost all chapters), and it covers topics that other Silverlight books either skim over or do not cover at all. Definitely worth your while. The book lists for $49.95 and can of course be found at online discounters for less.

By Peter Bromberg   Popularity  (1314 Views)