I’m happy to announce that my book Pro Business Applications with Silverlight 5 has now been released. Preparation of this edition has been an enormous task, and I’m so glad to see it finally make it out into the wild. What I had planned to be a short task of simply updating the Silverlight 4 edition of the book with the new features available in Silverlight 5 blew out to become a huge endeavour. Not only did I update the book for Silverlight 5, but I also rewrote much of the existing content to make it easier to read, and expanded upon the concepts I had covered in the previous edition (the chapter on MVVM got a huge update, as did discussion of collection views, along with many other topics). In addition, I also covered many new concepts too (such as MEF, and modularising your application). All this new content has added another 200 pages or so to the book from the previous edition.
Most importantly, I have peppered the book with workshops, that walk you through the steps involved in implementing the topics covered in the book. All the steps you need to follow are listed right there in the book, saving you the need to read a mass of text and interpret it in order to apply it to your project. This makes it easy for you to apply the principles being covered without fumbling about and having to rely on any prerequisite knowledge.
If you’re not familiar with the Silverlight 4 edition, I took what I believe to be a rather unique approach, in that I attacked the subject of how you build business applications in Silverlight in a somewhat linear fashion. Many (most?) technology books tend to be focused on the technology itself, with the topics not organised in order of how you would use them. As a reader of these sorts of books, you’re required to apply the technology to your problem. With my book, I took a problem-centric approach. The problem being that you’re building a business application, and the book showing you how the technology can help you reach a solution, from beginning to end. Ideally you’ll read and follow this book from start to finish. That said, it is still usable as a reference book if you so wish.
To demonstrate the process that the book follows, here’s the table of contents:
- Getting Started with Silverlight
- An Introduction to XAML
- The Navigation Framework
- Exposing Data from the Server
- Consuming Data from the Server
- Implementing Summary Lists
- Building Data Entry Forms
- Securing Your Application
- Styling Your Application
- Advanced XAML
- Advanced Data Binding
- Creating Custom Controls
- The Model-View-View Model (MVVM) Design Pattern
- The Managed Extensibility Framework
- Printing and Reporting
- Out of Browser Mode and Interacting with the Operating System
- Application Deployment
The benefit of this linear approach is that the workshops actually guide through the process of building a business application in Silverlight step-by-step. You can follow through the workshops in order, and have a fully functional application at the end.
All in all, I’m actually really proud of this edition of the book. I put a lot of work into it, and it’s become the book that if I were building business applications in Silverlight, I would want to have it by my side.
It saddens me greatly that Microsoft have let the “Silverlight is dead” rumour get out of hand, and depresses me that many people have been turned away from using Silverlight, and will not buy my book because of it. I strongly believe that Silverlight is one of the best technologies available for building line of business applications, and I see it being so for quite some time yet. It’s a mature platform, with a strong community around it. Sure, Silverlight can’t beat HTML5′s reach, but you’ll no doubt find it quicker and easier to develop applications in Silverlight when there’s no need for your application to run on an tablet or phone.
If you are planning to buy the book from Amazon, please consider clicking on the cover of the book above, which will use my affiliate link to take you there. And once you do have it and have been reading it, it’d be great if you could leave a review!
Now that the book is done, I’ll be doing some more blogging now. Not everything I wanted to write about made it to the book, so I’ll be covering some of those topics. Feel free, however, to suggest a topic in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do!