This is the first of a series of blog posts directed at folks who are new to Silverlight and/or want to brush up on the fundamentals. It will consist of mini-tutorials on topics I think need more coverage, and links to existing mini-tutorials, tutorials and videos. We begin… at the beginning.
What is Silverlight, Why Do I care?
This is the traditional place to start, but in all probability if you are here, you know the answer. In brief: Silverlight is Microsoft’s Rich Internet Application enabling technology. The goal is to create applications that are delivered by the browser but which offer the user experience of a desktop application. There is no question that using a RIA technology offers the ability to create a quality of experience that cannot be matched by more traditional approaches.
Where Do I Get It?
Everything you need to start writing Silverlight applications is available on our Get Started page.
Navigating the Get Started Page
On Get Started you’ll find an array of options. The first option tells you how to get Visual Studio or VWD, and options 2, 3 and 5 while incredibly useful, are not required for your initial foray into Silverlight… so just grab option 4.
In the next section on the Get Started page, you’ll find a quick tour of Silverlight.
This is a great way to get going. On the other hand, if you are going to follow this series, you may want to watch just #1 (Getting Started video) and hold off on the rest as I’m going to integrate all of that material (including Tim’s terrific 8 part blog series) as we go.
Tim’s excellent first video in his series will definitely get you started on the right foot using the tools.
I’ve never fully understood why developers don’t spend more time learning the details of Visual Studio; it is, after all, our fundamental tool, the environment in which we live all day. Time spent on getting all you can out of Visual Studio will pay dividends for a long time.
With that, you are ready to dive into Silverlight. Arguably, the best way to get a handle on what Silverlight is, is to write a program that uses it to accomplish something reasonably useful. A good starter video on building an application (a bit old, but still correct) is this gentle intro to creating a Silverlight application with Visual Studio, using the Canvas to lay out controls. Then read Part 2 in Tim’s series on layout.
Next in this series: Three Approaches: Designer, Xaml or Dynamic