Professional Silverlight 2 for ASP.NET Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)

Professional Silverlight 2 for ASP.NET Developers (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
Jonathan Swift, Salvador Alvarez Patuel, Chris Barker, Dan Wahlin
03 Feb 2009
Purchase online

Our overarching goal in writing this book was to give ASP.NET developers the power to quickly and easily create visually stunning Internet applications, coupled with rich interactivity to fully immerse the user in a new online experience. Silverlight gives you everything you need to do just this, and in serious style! As well as taking you through each feature that ships with Silverlight, this book will make sure you're able to debug, troubleshoot, and performance-tune your Silverligh

Page 2 of 2
  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Colin Brown said
Writing a programming book is extremely difficult. You generally either end up wallowing in a blancmange of technical details suitable only for egg-heads like me or you end up with a meringue, so light on details that your granny would understand every word.

Professional Silverlight 2 for ASP.Net developers is like a lemon sorbet fitting nicely in-between the two. Light enough to make for easy reading but with enough bite in the technical department that you walk away with a very good knowledge of actually how to do things. Wrox are known for their tombstone like manuals that are everything to everybody, desktop reference books. Over the years Wrox has went from being the absolute authority on programming (if you are old enough you will remember the Wrox book on classic Asp which was the bible for Asp programmers), to books that I honestly wouldn't expend the energy to lift up. Lately however Wrox have been retracing their steps back to the good old days and this book on Silverlight 2 is definitely a step along that path. It comes in lighter than most Wrox books at only a tad over 600 pages so you don't need professional weight bodybuilding classes just to lift it, but is packed with knowledge and information.

As you might guess from the title, this book is not for programming newbie's and expects that you have a good understanding of ASP.Net, it's page lifecycles, event models, and the underlying .Net Framework. This book was written squarely for Asp.Net developers who want to get to grips with Microsoft's new(ish) Silverlight component. Silverlight 1 was fairly limited in what you could do with it and your only programming choice was JavaScript. Silverlight 2 introduced a condensed .Net Framework and CLR and therefore opened up the programming realm to C# and VB.Net programmers.

After a brief introduction into the Silverlight world and how it is architected, you delve straight into the meaty aspects of Silverlights XAML model, a cut down version of the full client side XAML model and how to interact with the Silverlight objects in your code-behind. A chapter is dedicated on how to layout your Silverlight application detailing what controls are available to you and giving you tips and guidance on how to appropriately scale up for full-screen mode if you should decide to allow users to use this option. Next the book moves on to varied user controls that come pre-packaged with Silverlight 2, what they are, they're various properties and quirks and also refreshing to see is some details of controls in the Silverlight Toolkit, a separate download that adds further controls and functionality Silverlight.

Most Asp.Net developers are trying to produce standards based, best practice websites and they are a myriad of options on how to style objects and controls available within the Asp.Net framework from CSS to theming. Silverlight 2 also has these options available albeit slightly differently, there is no CSS as per se, but there is an equivalent. Chapter 7 of the book covers all of these in detail, except for one which I found odd. The book does cover best practices in separating content from styling but then does not proceed to it's natural conclusion in removing the styling from the actual page and into a separate resource file. This strangely comes much later in the book under the chapter of working with data and appears to be a bit of a disconnect. A fairly minor gripe as the author's do indeed cover the subject, along with best practices and explanations as to why.

Every application needs interaction and responding to what the user is doing, the next chapter covers just this and goes into sufficient detail that you not only know about events from the built in controls but the authors give you a good explanation of the actual event model should you decide at some point to build your own controls. It's certainly not an exhaustive view of the event model but certainly enough to get you started with your own controls. This is nicely rounded out with a chapter later in the book on precisely that, how to build your own controls.

The next major chunk of the book deals with communicating with the server and data. Silverlight 2 is a client application with your code-behind actually running client side and not server side like you are used to with the Asp.Net programming model, therefore getting data in and out of Silverlight is slightly different. The book details well all of the possible ways that this can be accomplished and the various ways of actually getting that data into your controls and onto your page. Special attention is paid to data binding which is done slightly differently in Silverlight than in Asp.Net.

When Silverlight 1 first appeared on the scene, most thought of it as the beauty queen of plugins, very pretty but not much substance. Silverlight 2 retains the looks of its' predecessor but adds some meat to the bones rounding out a very nice package. The next section deals with the blush and lipstick of Silverlight, what makes it different from it's main rival Flash, and how to take advantage of this added power and graphical wondrousness. Finally it rounds off with a few chapters on how to Troubleshoot Silverlight errors and your inevitable programming glitches and performance considerations that you should take into account with best practices on how to do this. Remember, Silverlight is a client application and therefore everything has to be sent to the client, but there are ways to do this so that your web page doesn't take an orbit of the sun to load.

This is the first Silverlight 2 book that I have read that really does take into account what knowledge you should have programming web pages in Asp.Net and transferring and molding that knowledge so that it is relevant to Silverlight. The authors have done a fantastic job and given you enough details that you can be confident to get good looking and fully immersive applications in Silverlight 2. If you are an Asp.Net developer who has a future project that will use Silverlight 2 or you just want to dip your big toe into the pond and make some waves then I thoroughly recommend this book.

JORGE_C said
This is a great book for people who already have experience with ASP.NET and want to learn all the features Silverlight offers and how to integrate both techniques in one single solution.
This book covers every aspect of Silverlight in detail from explaining the client and server architecture to Data Security and Animation. One of the most interesting chapters is Chapter 11,this chapters explains how to create a custom control for Silverlight and how to apply different styles and even animations and templates which are covered in detail on chapter 14 (-Graphics and Animations-).
I would not recommend this book for readers seeking to start learning ASP.NET or Silverlight. If you have already worked with ASP.NET in the past and want to navigate through the new world of Silverlight then this is the right book for you.

H. A. Vander Leest said
I was excited when I first opened the book. After reading it, and using the code examples I downloaded, I can say it's worth it! I am still going over the various chapters, I found Chapter 4 the most difficult. Unlike many "Learn To" do something books, the code worked nearly every time and by rereading I was able to learn what was presented. It's not "light" reading if you work out the code examples with the text, but it's understandable.
I would recommend this book as a first step to aspiring Asp.Net programmers, and it's in my favorite language, C#. Only short coming is I posted a question or 2 in the WROX support forum for this book, and after 2 weeks no response there. Worthwhile...

Mr. A. J. W. Ingpen said
As usual, Wrox have delivered another quick-start, hit
the ground-running leg-up for developers to climb the
learning curve of a new technology quick and painlessly.
As the web continues its absorption and replacement of the
thick-client, advanced browser functionality is definitely
the direction in whick client / server software is headed.
Technology such as this lets us provide a comfortable
user experience with rich feature set. With close to 100
contols, rich control templating support, JSON serialization,
local storage, XAML.. all the new features which make our lives
easier as developers, explained clearly and concisely by the
guys at wrox.. another 'must have' on my desk!

Kirk Vlamistov said
I love this book, straight to the point not fussing around with hundreds of pages of code (it just shows you the important bits, download the full code if you want the full app). I have been developing web and flash applications for the last 5 years and this book will remain near my computer for a while.

Strong points:
* Really good ideas around simulating LOB applications, like paging, modal dialogs and communication between packages.
* The performance chapter is really useful, not commonly found in tech books.
* I kind of disagree with other reviews about data binding, it shows you all the possible ways to achieve them and it is put in practice on the other chapters.
* The communications sections is also very good, I have coded really useful integration modules using sockets.
* It has a pinch of humour with some personal stories.
* Customs controls chapter is really good, from simple customization to generic.xaml

Some warnings:
* Not for .NET beginners and C# only code and samples
* There is a small section on DLR, a pity as I was looking forward to integrate my Ruby skills. The sample is good but I wish another book on this area is published soon.
* It is big!

I am really happy with it and really excited about the technology, I just wanted to share this as sometimes buying is just a lottery.

You might also like...



Why not write for us? Or you could submit an event or a user group in your area. Alternatively just tell us what you think!

Our tools

We've got automatic conversion tools to convert C# to VB.NET, VB.NET to C#. Also you can compress javascript and compress css and generate sql connection strings.

“C++: an octopus made by nailing extra legs onto a dog.” - Steve Taylor