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Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Andreas Grabner, Nick Basinger, Kevin Benedict, Liz McMillan

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Microsoft Cloud: Book Review

Book Review: Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed

Great overview of the Blend Interface

I have not taken the time I should have to get to know Microsoft Expression Blend like I should know it. I use it a lot to build user interfaces and to create SketchFlow prototypes, but I knew I was not fully aware of its capabilities. My hopes for this book where that it would get me up to speed.

I am happy to report that Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed has provided me with the insight into the Blend tools I was looking for. The book is in full color so it is a pleasure to read and the author has a great writing style.

The book starts off with a history of Expression Blend, the author's opinion on why you should learn it, and insight into the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows 8 and Project Jupiter.

The author then covers the Blend interface in detail. Like I said above, I have been using Blend for years, and this section shed a lot of light on the tools I was missing. It pointed out a lot of tools that are not very obvious.

The book then continues with chapters on Properties and Functionality, Layout, Styles and Templates, Working with Parts and States, SketchFlow, Data Support, Animations and Transitions, Shapes, Paths, and Effects, Skins, Themes, and Resource Dictionaries, and Windows Phone 7.

These chapters really help to flesh out the features in Blend that are hard to find. I knew how to do everything in XAML, but using Blend will hopefully increase my productivity.

There is very little code behind in the book. The author did a good job of choosing examples that allowed everything to be accomplished with Blend.

The code download is very well organized and usable.

All in all if you want to learn about the Blend UI, this is a great place to start. This book has moved Blend from a tool I use once in a while to one that I feel confident enough about to use for any UI development.

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