Are you new to Silverlight or WPF development and wondering how and where to get started in Expression Blend? For developers who have only used tools like Visual Studio, Eclipse and MonoDevelop, Blend represents a bit of a shift in UI presentation. Designers who have used Adobe products like Illustrator or Photoshop will find the Blend environment familiar but will have a learning curve when it comes time to write or tweak the XAML markup. Here are some useful samples and resources for newcomers to Blend and Silverlight.
Released today, the 92nd in DZone’s Refcardz series, this quick reference card is a great place to get up to speed quickly with Silverlight 4 and Expression Blend. Victor Gaudioso authored this six-page Refcard packed with essential information for Rich Internet Application (RIA) designers and developers. Victor is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and author of two books on Expression Blend development.
More than just sample code, this is a collection of samples, behaviors, effects, triggers and much more. This library is free to download and use. The project is receiving very positive feedback but remains relatively unknown. It was last updated in July 2009.
This is where members of the Expression Blend and Expression Design teams:
- Announce new releases
- Describe new product features
- Provide quick tips and tricks
- Walk through a particular feature or technology
Their blog is not as much a quick reference as some of the other resources listed here, but it is a great blog to follow as you continue your learning experience with Blend.
Stumped? Stuck? Have a specific question about Blend or just want to discuss your experiences with other designers and developers? Here you can ask a question or search the forums to find out if it has already been answered.
Microsoft Expression Official Site
There are several useful resources right on the Expression Blend website.
These are the official Microsoft forums for Expression Blend. They are monitored by Microsoft employees and MVPs to provide quick, accurate and helpful answers and feedback. The Expression forums are very active and very useful. There are nearly 3500 users on these forums.
On this section of the Expression Blend site, you can find starter kits, videos, white papers and tutorials to help you get started with Blend or one of its features. To find out the latest info being published, I recommend subscribing to the Expression Newsletter.
Microsoft has provided the Community Gallery for all members of the Expression community to upload their own samples, snippets, themes, behaviors and more. You can search the gallery by category, tags, or keyword and quickly find the highest ranked or most recent uploads.
The author of DZone's Silverlight/Blend Refcard has a large collection of video tutorials that he has authored. You can find them all nicely indexed here.
Christian Schormann is a member of the Expression Blend team and has an active blog with technical posts detailing the latest and greatest Blend and Silverlight topics and trends. Chances are you can find an article on Christian’s blog to get you up and running quickly.