Patrick\’s Bytes

9, May 2008

Microsoft Expression Studio v2.0 is out

Filed under: Blend,Silverlight,WPF — patrickyong @ 4:53 pm


image Every time when I apply leave just to relax, I would either go out of town or go learn something new. Most of the time I will end up learning a technology I wanted to check out for sometime. It could be a competing technology like Ruby on Rails, or something developed by Microsoft but not on my scorecard. That is exactly what I strike out to learn today, Windows Presentation Foundation and Microsoft Expression Blend 2.

Just in case your don’t know Blend is part of Expression Studio and it is a tool for designers to create rich interactive user interface applications based on WPF or Silverlight technology.

blend2So what I am keen to find out (because I did some talks on Smart Client recently)in Blend is how to create Smart Client application using WPF which has a lot of funky user experience. To get myself a jumpstart I refer to a new book, Foundation Expression Blend 2. The book is using September preview of Blend and some content might be outdated. Let me warn you first, the author of this book is a designer and not really a developer, and sometimes the comparison he made in the book is confusing for developers but they are OK for designers. For example, his non stop referencing of C# as the code behind language of XAML but never mention about Visual Basic. Commenting that CLR is just like Adobe’s Flash Player (CLR can do so much more!)

Just finished Chapter 5 (total 15 chapters) of the book and I found some of the stuff I like a lot about WPF or Blend:

  1. Brush Transform Control to manipulate the gradient setting of any UIElement
  2. Ability to store any design part or properties such as color setting as a resources so you can reuse it throughout the project.
  3. Layout Controls acts like container to different UI Elements and they come in different forms like Grid layout, Canvas, panels, Scroll View and Borders. Each has different way on how you want to layout your control. Something hard to do with WinForm programming.
  4. Additional development view (on top of XAML and Design) called Split view which also available in Visual Studio 2008


 imageBrush Transform

image Local Brush Resources

image Layout controls

image Split view (Design view on top with XAML on the bottom)


1 Comment »

  1. Hello Patrick, First let me thank you for referencing my book. But let me address some of your comments about my book:

    First, I am what my company has termed an “Integrator” which means I spend my time developing in Blend as well as Visual Studio. So, I am really not a designer nor a .NET architect; I am a hybrid of the two, but I tend to work more on the code side.

    Second, I refer to C# as the code behind because that is what 99.9% of professional WPF applications are built in; that being the case I wrote the book with references to C#. Really though, what were my options? Write every chapter twice? Once for C# and then once for Visual Basic? Not practical at all.

    Finally, I do compare the CLR to the Flash player. This may be a bad comparison because the CLR is so much more powerful (I totally agree with you on this point) but how would you explain it to someone who has no concept of the CLR? Also, keep in mind, my target audience is mainly .NET and Flash developers. So, the .NET guys, much like yourself, already know what the CLR is. The Flash guys have no concept of it and comparing it to the Flash player can at least give them some idea of what it is. So, I stick by the comparison.

    So I hope this clears up any of your concerns about the book. Again, thanks for reading it and talking about it here. Regards, Victor Gaudioso

    Comment by Victor Gaudioso — 17, May 2008 @ 1:17 am | Reply

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