Book Review – Pro Expression Blend 4 (Apress)

Pro Expression Blend 4

  • Author: Andrew Troelsen
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (March 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143023377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430233770

I got my first exposure to Microsoft Expression Blend when I read Beginning Silverlight 3 by Robert Lair. In the book I learned some basic animation and how to make a Silverlight interface look better by using Expression Blend.

Fast forward to Pro Expression Blend 4 by Andrew Troelsen and my Expression Blend skills were sent through the roof. This book is a great tool for anyone wishing to ramp up their knowledge of Expression Blend – which is the preferred user interface designer for both Silverlight and WPF projects. I also found this book useful in designing apps for Windows Phone 7 which also uses XAML-based code.

Perhaps this may be a good spot to say that Expression Blend is part of Microsoft Expression Studio. This is not a free product and it can be quite expensive to get all the tools you may need that are demonstrated in this book. Although you can get 60-day trial versions of some aspects of the studio, some things in this book may not be available to you unless you have purchased this product.

The first section of the book takes you on a detailed walk through of the IDE and helps you learn all the tools. This in-depth session makes getting around the IDE easier which allows you to get onto the more enjoyable task of developing.

The second section then leads you through a series of demos where you can put your skills to the test and learn all the intricacies of the IDE. The last chapter of this section gives you an in-depth look at SketchFlow which was a product that I did not have a lot of experience with beforehand but I gained some useful insight into how this could be used in future projects.

There are labs and code examples using both XAML and C# but this book is mostly based in theory so the code snippets do not dominate the book. This book straddles the line between being accessible to both developers and designers who want to use Expression Blend 4. It also ranges in skill levels between novices and professionals. I think it does so successfully that it can be used by anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the tool.

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About Ken Cenerelli
I am a Programmer Writer, .NET Developer, Microsoft MVP - Visual Studio and Development Technologies, Public Speaker, Blogger, and Microsoft Azure Nerd. I blog regularly at kencenerelli.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

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