6 November 2008
If you're looking for a great overview of all things Silverlight 2, Laurent Bugnion's Silverlight 2 Unleashed book is a great introductory book for web developers, designers, and folks new to the Microsoft web/client platform. Amazon delivered my copy in the pouring rain today, so I immediately took it up to my neighborhood coffee shop.
Since my blog's filled with some fairly technical resources, I should point out that the book is not the right reference for anyone that has an extensive knowledge of WPF or that has been an early adopter of Silverlight 2.
Laurent's book instead targets everyone else: the millions of web developers that are new to .NET, looking to expand their working knowledge, or just wanting to learn something about the new exciting Silverlight platform. Much like Adam Nathan's WPF Unleashed book, the full color examples and screen captures really add life and will help you connect to the tools and examples.
The book is organized into many vignettes almost, each covering a concept, walkthrough of a task, and showing screen captures, code, and helpful tips along the way. As a former client- server- Flash- everything- guy, I'm confident in saying that this is a great overview of what you'd expect if you were wanting to get all the key, above-the-fold info on this new platform.
The middle of the book moves to C# programming, isolated storage, and animations. There's then coverage on Expression, videos, and events. It then progresses to details on the rich Microsoft presentation platform basics, and will be familiar to WPF developers. This includes layout basics, the built-in controls, simple interaction and interoperability features.
The rest of Silverlight 2 Unleashed book covers a few neat topics that people may not be as familiar with: loading media metadata, quick WCF basics, cross-domain requests, exception handling, and then a bunch of odds-and-ends that will whet your appetite for learning more about working in a Silverlight world, working with binding converters, unit testing, and resources for finding controls and resources.
And, yes, you read that right: a Silverlight unit testing walkthrough is on pages 541-549. For full disclosure, I should note that I did work with Laurent to review that part of Chapter 24.
Anyway, if you're looking to move to the Microsoft web platform, expand your skills, and see what Silverlight is all about - do check it out! Oh, and if you're looking for even more controls resources, do check out the Silverlight Toolkit.
Jeff Wilcox is a Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft in the Open Source Programs Office, helping Microsoft scale to 15,000+ engineers using, contributing to and releasing open source.