Preface – Silverlight 2 in Action, illustrated edition


I have been waiting for Silverlight for quite some time. I began writing professional-grade web applications in 1999. Immediately, I became frustrated with the “good-enough” mindset that seasoned web developers had adopted and users have endured. This mentality arose from the limitations of HTML and the complexities involved in delivering applications over the internet. I didn’t want to fall into this mindset; I wasn’t going to be content with “good-enough.” I wanted to make my applications stand apart, and I wanted to deliver a true user experience.

My first attempt at dodging the bullet of compromise came in 2000. At that time, I decided I was going to try to leverage a nearly invisible HTML IFRAME element to load content. I would then parse that content via JavaScript and load it into view. Although this approach helped remove some of the page flickering caused by post backs, there was still something missing. I really believed that vector graphics were important and that media would be a nice bonus, so I investigated another alternative.

Around 2001–2002, I took a Flash course as an elective at Purdue University. Over the course of the class, I learned a great deal about Flash. In fact, I was really excited about Flash’s potential. In the end though, I felt that Flash was just a tool. I felt that the long-term viability of Flash was limited due to the nonstandard ActionScript language. Being a software engineer, I was in search of a platform, not a tool. That’s when I realized I would have to wait for something more powerful.

In 2006, during Microsoft’s MIX conference, I heard about WPF/E. WPF/E excited me because it was a subset of the powerful Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Knowing of the power of WPF and of WPF/E’s cross-platform goals, I decided to heavily focus on WPF until WPF/E matured. Eventually, WPF/E was renamed Silver-light; it continued to impress and inspire me. This inspiration led me to maintain a blog and, most recently, write this book.