Author: Laurence Moroney
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2010
Aimed at: Beginners to Silverlight
Pros: Includes CD
Cons: Covers too much in too little depth
Reviewed by: David Conrad
This is a very simple introduction to Silverlight with an emphasis more on making things look impressive than on, say, any enterprise side Silverlight may have.
It starts off with installing Web Developer Express providing lots of screen dumps and discussion. Then Chapter 2 goes through each of the common controls from buttons to list boxes. These are covered in hardly any depth other than they are here and this is how you put one on a form and hook up some code. If you already know how to do any of this in another language you won't need this chapter.
Chapter 3 deals with layout and introduces the Canvas, Grid and StackPanel. If you have never used WPF or a similar layout based GUI then you will need to pay attention to this chapter.
Chapter 4 is about the only part of the book on serious applications with a look at data and a very short introduction to ADO.NET this isn't enough to get you started let alone finished. Then we move on to a section on graphics and multimedia. Chapter 5 is on deep zoom and photosynth and both topics could have been left until later. The only justification for doing them so early in the book is that they are exciting - and this may be enough justification. Then on to Webcams and video, transformations and animation.
Chapter 8 returns to some more serious applications with a look at building desktop apps using Silverlight out of browser mode. This is interesting but it might have been better to concentrate on Silverlight in the browser for such a short book. Chapter 9 does indeed focus on the browser with a look at browser integration. Chapter 10 deals with accessing network services and it again this mainly complex topic is dealt with in not enough detail.
The last four chapters of the book are on Windows Phone development. Yes WP is important and it does use Silverlight but really it is a different topic. It even strays well away from SIlverlight in the last chapter with an explanation of using XNA to create games. This is crazy - to start on a completely different programming platform in the last chapter of the book is just a waste. It would be far better to confine phone development to a single overview chapter and spend the pages on core Silverlight.
This books starts well - it describes simple things in a methodical way but then it speed up and covers far too much ground to be able to explain it. There is a CD bound into the back with a PDF copy of the book practice exercises and the code examples.
I can't recommend this book even to the complete beginner because while it starts off slowly it simply covers too much ground and goes into topics that are simply not central to the topic.