Author: Adam Freeman
Audience: C# programmers
Reviewer: Ian Elliot
Metro Revealed - it's a bold claim. So how much can a book of 85 pages reveal?
Given the book is only 85 pages long (ignoring index, table of contents etc) you can't really expect much depth. There is also the small problem that the WinRT platform is a moving target with Microsoft adding features and changing things. For example, the book uses the term Metro app and makes a point of explaining why it isn't using the longer winded but Microsoft sanctioned Metro Style app - but of course we know that Microsoft has dropped the name Metro completely - even if it still isn't 100% clear what it wants us to call apps that run under WinRT.
The book starts off with a basic look at using Visual Studio 2012 to create an app. It goes over what XAML is all about and provides a guide to the files generated by the blank project template. This should give you an idea of the level that the book is aimed at.
One of the advantages of WinRT in C# is that it looks a lot like standard C# development and you don't need very much explanation to feel at home. The differences in development practices tend to come later.
Chatper 2 moves on to data binding and adding pages to an application. The basic explaination is made more difficult by the use of a view model. When you are trying to learn the basic mechanisms it doesn't help to have high level ideas get in the way. Most of the chapter is about managing pages.
Chapter 3 moves on to the AppBar, Flyouts and Navigation and this moves on in the next chapter to layouts and tiles. There is no real attempt to explain the background of what is going on and obvious question that occur to almost any beginner aren't addressed. For example, can I write directly to a tile? Can I create my own XML template?
Chapter 5 explains the lifecycle and contracts and brings this very short book to an end.
I'm all in favor of short books, but this one doesn't really provide enough information. It presents the basic ideas as you might find them if taken directly from the documentation. It adds very little by way of explanation beyond what you have to do to make something work. It certainly never thinks outside the box, goes off the beaten track or thinks about answering the obvious questions that a beginner asks. What descriptions there are are well written, but they just aren't probing enough. There are also far to many long listings complete with irrelevant generated code.
If you are even a reasonable C# WPF or Silverlight programmer you aren't going to need to read much of this book. At best it might serve to give you an overview as travel reading - the book is light enough to carry without being an ebook! The problem is that if you are a complete beginner then you are going to find parts of the book tough going. You need to be a reasonable C# programmer and have a rough idea of what XAML is all about to get any value from this slim book.
Microsoft Drops Metro Name