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Book Excerpt: Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed

Targeted toward both developers and designers, readers will find this book invaluable for gaining the familiarity and skills needed to build Windows Presentation Foundation visuals using Microsoft Expression Blend.


Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed is not only about learning a new designer tool; it targets both developers and designers, showing both a new way of thinking about UI development. Expression Blend enables the design and development of rich interactive applications for both web and desktop applications, letting you blend graphical assets with functional .NET code through the power of XAML and the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).

To help change the designer mindset, Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed includes a C# Primer, introducing designers to the basics of programming with the .NET Framework. For more advanced developers, the book shows how the .NET framework supports extensive customization of the WPF elements used in Expression Blend, letting designers extend their base functionality as needed.

Together, Blend and Visual Studio faciliate building the kinds of user experiences that everyone wants from the applications they use, but which few applications today deliver. This book gives both designers and developers the necessary skill sets to use Blend and WPF effectively. Whichever you are, the only other thing you'll need is a little imagination.

The book includes detailed information on how to:

  • Design and develop WPF applications
  • Use Blend's animation workflows
  • Design and implement WPF template types
  • Create and manage Resource Dictionaries
  • Master WPF Style templates
  • Handle control events
  • Understand advanced control properties in XAML/Blend/C#
  • Create customized controls through inheritance
  • Understand the fundamentals of XAML-based design and development
  • Implement effective XML, CLR Data binding, and XAML template binding
  • Extend XAML functionality with C# code
  • Implement video and audio in your applications
  • Use Blend as part of your designer/developer workflow

Download Chapter 8, "An Example Control Using Just the Tools Palette," and find out how to build a gel button from scratch. Build this once, and you can use it as a template for future buttons!

Reproduced from Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed by permission of Sams Publishing. ISBN-10: 067232931X, ISBN-13: 978-0672329319, copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Brennon Williams is a .NET developer working in the UK, consistently contracted by consultancies for cutting-edge development projects. He is a hybrid designer/developer with experience in Flash, 3D object modeling, and DirectX-based development. Brennon's UK company X-Coders Limited is a Blend/WPF training and development provider for some of the world's largest companies.
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