Foreword – Silverlight 2 in Action, illustrated edition

Foreword

The technologies powering the web are a heterogeneous mix of features and initiatives, some driven by standards bodies, others by companies and individuals. In the richest traditions of the web, Silverlight is an example of innovation happening at the periphery because the status quo wasn’t good enough. It complements the existing web nicely, be it with skills or code or tools or infrastructure or interoperability, while also bringing many new tricks to deliver functionality that simply wasn’t possible before it.

Silverlight is a seminal technology from Microsoft. It comes from an incredible team of people that conceived it to deliver rich media and application experiences over the internet using .NET based applications. It was built from the ground up to function consistently across browsers, platforms, devices, and display configurations. It fosters productivity in your team with unprecedented levels of collaboration between developer and designer roles. Silverlight’s APIs are just what you’d expect from a truly great platform: simple and predictable, providing extensibility hooks for the intrepid coder but otherwise staying out of the way. This book teaches you how to harness that latent power.

For the three years or so I have known Chad Campbell, he has been at the vanguard of technologies such as Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). As an early adopter and an active community participant, his incisive and vocal feedback has been valuable to us as we built and iterated over these products. The unique insights he has gained as a result are apparent in this book. If you are new to Silverlight, you simply must have this book by your side. Even if you have developed Silverlight applications before, you will find many things in this book you did not previously know.

Our goals of “lighting up the web” with Silverlight will come to naught if we don’t instill in developers and designers new practices for doing customary chores. Developing for the next-generation web using asynchronous patterns is chief among them. Drawing on user experience as a differentiator and competitive advantage is another; and there are many more. These practices might take a bit of effort to learn, but once mastered they open up new interesting worlds with boundless possibilities. You write better code and more fulfilling applications. Peppered with imaginative samples, Silverlight 2 in Action provides a hands-on way to learn a new technology and hone your skills. Chad Campbell and coauthor John Stockton walk you through the paces of acquiring such skills. As the concepts get familiar to you, this book switches gears so you’re constantly learning new things rather than rehashing the old.

Everybody who develops for the web must have a mix of technology skills and tools in their arsenal. Understanding where and how you can use Silverlight is critical. Understanding how to build secure, high-performance, and responsive applications using asynchronous patterns is equally critical. And this book will get you there.

ASHISH SHETTY

Program Manager, Silverlight

Microsoft Corporation