Silverlight is the latest framework developed by Microsoft for building robust visually appealing web applications. Many developers are currently in the process of learning the concepts of Silverlight and hence there is a requirement for a good resource material. Even though the web is scattered with plenty of articles and tutorials, there is no substitute for traditional books. Manning Publications Silverlight in Action by Chad A. Campbell and John Stockton (http://www.manning.com/campbell/) provides a comprehensive coverage of Silverlight with the help of detailed explanation, code samples and screenshots.
Chapter 1 provides a nice introduction to Silverlight including the role of developer and designer during the development stage. This chapter also includes a short overview of XAML. Chapter 2 examines the creation and integration of a Silverlight plug-in and also provides a short coverage of Silverlight Application Model and HTML DOM. Chapter 3 examines the layout related aspects such as StackPanel, power grid, display of text, UIEelement and FrameworkElement.
While chapter 4 enables you to interact with users with controls such as Button, Date, chapter 5 provides a detailed coverage of binding data into Silverlight applications with reference to DataGrid and Language Integrated Query (LINQ). Chapter 6 helps you to create Silverlight applications powered with networking functionality. Silverlight is primarily designed to build applications with stunning videos and graphics and chapter 7 examines the related concepts with the help of a mini project. The author demonstrates the application of audios, videos and images in a Silverlight project along with relevant methods and properties in tabular format with associated description.
The next two chapters lay emphasis on graphics and animation such as brushes, transforms, storyboarding and key framing including a short coverage of the usage of Expression Blend. While chapter 10 examines the creation of templates, usage of visual states, VisualStateManager, Chapter 11 provides a detailed analysis of using XAML at runtime, BackgroundWorker and Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR). The final chapter examines the creation of a user control including the usage of a custom splash screen and also provides the required guidelines to host a Silverlight application in a live web server.
The book provides detailed explanation for each concept in an easy to understand manner for the benefit of both beginners and advanced developers. The authors deserve special credit as they have given a screenshot of the final output just above the code snippet in certain chapters. Moreover, the code snippets are marked in relevant places of the analysis which I hope will help readers to understand the techniques very easily.
The complete source code along with two sample chapters is available for download at http://www.manning.com/campbell/. The publisher also maintains a dedicated forum (http://www.manning-sandbox.com/forum.jspa?forumID=369) where you can post queries to the authors. From my point of view, the book will be highly useful for advanced developers but beginners will also find it useful to some extent.
Silverlight in Action is an excellent companion for seasoned .NET buddies
Anand Narayanaswamy, Technical Author/Editor and Microsoft MVP, Learnxpress.com