Unleash that dragon

So I’m in the clutches of the lurgy here, and trying to keep my brain active. I’ve received a miscellaneous bunch of books in the mail in the last few days, one of them being Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed. I’ve read the first two chapters, and skimmed the next two.

First, a quote:

“If you have used Microsoft Vista, you will have noticed how Microsoft appears to have finally gotten an outstanding balance with their product with respect to familiarity, visual appearance and general feel.”

OK, so we’re starting off with a Vista ad. Great. This bit, on page 10, was the moment when I began to question my judgment in choosing this book over the others on the market. No, wait, that happened on page 4:

“Next Generation Hardware Is Coming!

Already hardware changes are being made to accommodate Vista-specific features like Windows Sideshow.


However, it appears that the implementation has been slow to gather momentum in this particular case.”

… yeah.

The same chapter expresses similar feelings towards other Microsoft technologies, such as Silverlight. Fine, I get it, Silverlight is cool. However, I bought a book to learn how to work with the tools, not to be blasted with marketing garbage.

Chapter 2 really makes clear that this book is not intended for a programmer. Topics that are obvious or at least easy for a developer are discussed in a tone that, to me, feels condescending. Around page 48 things get more interesting – first demo app. At this point, the author’s conversational tone is beginning to feel forced. However, the next few pages do cover bits of the Blend tooling that are interesting to me. On the downside, that coverage is accompanied by a step-by-step tutorial no less than 44 steps long. Perhaps this could have been broken down to a number of sub-tasks, so that the steps could be kept simple, and grouped logically?

Chapter 3 meticulously goes through all the panels of the Blend UI. Maybe it’s just me, but again a little breathing room would have been nice.

I have few comments about the XAML basics bits in Chapter 4. It’s a very short chapter.

I’m really hoping the rest of the book offers something more compelling for me. More posts when I read further.

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