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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JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual

Author: David Sawyer McFarland
Publisher: Pogue Press, 2011
Pages:536
ISBN: 978-1449399023
Aimed at: JavaScript beginners
Rating: 4
Pros: Clear and logical
Cons: Doesn't do JavaScript justice
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

JavaScript and jQuery seem to be inseparable these days, so what could be more sensible th [ ... ]



Java Programming Interviews Exposed

Author: Noel Markham
Publisher: Wrox
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1118722862
Audience: Intermediate Java Programmers
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Alex Armstrong

A book to prepare you for the torture of a job interview seems like a good idea. But is it possible?


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 August 2011 )
 
 

   
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