Silverlight, for real this time

Microsoft's RIA framework offers client-side programming with .Net languages and tools, plus high performance

Development and design

I tried Silverlight 2 development using Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and Expression Blend 2 SP1. I didn't have any trouble picking it up and developing with it, but I was already familiar with Visual Studio, C#, the .Net Framework, and XAML. Other programmers with backgrounds in .Net languages (now quite a large selection, including IronPython and IronRuby in addition to C#, Visual Basic .Net, JavaScript, and so on) and with XML-based markup (including MXML and even HTML) should find it easy to learn and develop for Silverlight.

The basic method for programming XAML elements is to give them a x:Name tag, for example:

Once the x:Name attribute has been set, the program can manipulate the properties of the element, very much in the same spirit as JavaScript manipulating HTML elements in DHTML:

message1.Text = "Hello, " + name1.Text;

This connection between program and XAML element by name is the key to using teams of programmers and designers to develop Silverlight and WPF applications. As long as the names don't change, the programmers can modify the code-behind files, and the designers can modify the XAML files without breaking the interface between the two. They might not even use the same tools.

As a programmer who also does a little design, I was disappointed to find that I could not drag controls onto the graphical pane in the Visual Studio XAML designer; that pane is only a preview, so I could drag controls only into the XAML text. On the other hand, XAML editing in Visual Studio is supported nicely by IntelliSense, and the instant-preview pane does help quite a bit when you're trying to get the appearance of a page just right.

Expression Blend provides a graphical design surface for XAML pages, but it doesn't offer much in the way of programming support. It would certainly be the Silverlight tool of choice for most designers. In an ideal world, I might wish for a unified tool that serves the needs of programmers and designers alike, but Visual Studio and Expression Blend integrate well enough, and they are probably better suited for their target audiences than a unified tool would be.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags silverlight

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martin Heller

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?