Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed
Author: Brennon Williams
Publisher: SAMS, 2008
Pages: 600
ISBN: 978-0672329319
Rating: 3.5
Aimed at: A good question
Pros: Provides much need coverage of Expression Blend
Cons: Unfocused; misses the mark; has some very poor sections
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler

One of the great problems with WPF is that the line between developer and designer is blurred and frequently misunderstood. Historically, the design tools in Visual Studio have been poor or non-existent, often resulting in many developers hand-crafting their XAML. Many developers have tried and spurned Expression Blend, due to the alien interface. Similarly, most WPF books focus on the deep technical aspects, making them opaque to designers. Consequently, I was looking forward to reading a book that, from its title at least, purported to pick apart Expression Blend and make it accessible to all. Which is why I was so disappointed with the result.

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This is not so much a book about Expression Blend, but is a scattergun approach to WPF, C# (Chapter 10 is a primer on the language), .NET and Blend. Frustratingly, the sections that actually cover Blend will be extremely useful to designers and developers actually wanting to use Blend. However, there’s anywhere from 30 - 50% of the book that you will almost certainly just want to ignore. Many of the coding practices shown are poor.
Williams starts with a good overview of WPF, Blend and the future of the smart client. He also picks out the importance of a new and critical role: that of a XAML Architect (often known as a “devigner”), a hybrid that understands the key touch points for integration between designer and developer.

Ultimately, would I recommend this book to a developer? The answer is a qualified yes. The book has a lot of practical guidance on how to use Blend, and these sections are great. However, a lot of the book will have no appeal to designers or developers. It is almost the perfect definition of a curate’s egg: good in parts, awful in others.


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Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 27

Author: Mark Frauenfelder
Publisher: Make, 2011
Pages: 176
ISBN:978-1449302467
Aimed at: DIY and electronics enthusiasts
Rating: 4.5
Pros: A mix of projects and emphasis on robots
Cons: Ignores software aspects and nothing ambitious this issue
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

A special issue on robots. What c [ ... ]



Drupal's Building Blocks

Author: Earl & Lynette Miles
Publisher: Addison-Wesley, 2010
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0321591319
Aimed at: Drupal PHP developers
Rating: 3
Pros: Coverage of CCK
Cons: Fails to specify which version of Drupal it covers, wild changes in pace and level
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

Subtitled Quickly Building Websit [ ... ]


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