Denis Gladkikh


My personal blog about software development

  • 26 Jan 2011
  • Silverlight, Silverlight 4, Book Review

pbrown_cover150Silverlight 4 in Action (Manning, Pete Brown) – this is second book, which I read about Silverlight. First was Pro Silverlight 3 in C# (Apress, Matthew MacDonald), which helped me when I was need to very quickly know more about Silverlight after WPF. After reading Silverlight 4 in Action I think that this is best book about Silverlight. But maybe I should compare this book with Pro Business Applications with Silverlight.

I think that most of Silverlight and WPF developers know book’s author’s blog Pete Brown. Since 2009 author is Microsoft employee, since 2007 Silverlight became the main technology of development for him. You can think that Silverlight 4 in Action is second edition, because Manning has also Silverlight 2 in Action, which I didn’t read. But Silverlight 2 in Action has different authors than SL4 in Action. So talk about what’s new in Silverlight 4 in Action is no good, it is different book, written by another author. Looks like this is first book of Pete Brown, and it is written very good.

After buying paper book you will get also free e-book version (pdf), which you can read with Kindle device for example (only in album rotation). The book has about 800 pages, has 3 parts and 25 chapters.

First what was strange for me it was order of chapters. Chapters about creating own panels, custom controls (not UserControls), and about styles and resources located at the end of the book (with comparing with Pro Silverlight 3). Maybe for beginners it will be a problem, but for me all was very consecutive. And I think it is very logical that stuff which you will use not really often showed at the end of the book, like: Writable Bitmap, making own panels and controls. Most of us are developing applications for enterprise, so for us making animation not is usual stuff. About own controls and panels, really I remember only a few cases for 2-3 years of my WPF/Silverlight developing career, when I was designing panels and controls for Silverlight or WPF. By the way, it was really cool that in book author design OrbitPanel instead of WrapPanel (this is first example in each book of creating own panels, like Hello World).

Nearly the end of the book I really liked example of creating own MediaStreanSource, which generate video and audio noise instead of video and audio streams at client side with Silverlight code. Most of examples are really useful, most of them are usual problems which you need solve when you are developing own application, like when author write about printing he show the example about creating reports from list with paging support. This is ready to use code, really.

And of course the book has chapter about which every book reader write: “Structuring and testing with the MVVM/ViewModel pattern”. With chapter “WCF RIA Services”, which going after MVVM chapter – they are on 100 pages in details show how to develop Silverlight business applications, architecture specifics, etc. I think this is the best topic explanation which I saw.

I recommend this book for developers, who want to or already design business applications on Silverlight, I think this is main auditory for who Pete Brown had wrote this book.

One thought which I can’t understand, what is notice on 492 page:

If you’re really and truly bored and need a break from reading, check out to add unicorns and rainbows to any web site or photo. Warning: 5th grade girls’ Trapper Keeper graphics overload.

Humor? :)