Using Blend with Visual Studio

For the past six months or so I’ve been experimenting with and then “preaching” the idea of developing with two tools: Expression Blend for the UI and Visual Studio for the code.  This has paid big dividends for me in productivity and it fits in well with the Parts and States Model and with keeping a clear separation of visuals form logic.


I’m about to give a pair of presentation at DevConnections (hence my total lack of blogging!) and I thought it would be fun to see if I just perceive  an increase in productivity or I can actually measure that increase.  Thus, I decided to put together a simple form, using a number of controls placed in a grid, including a control from the new Silverlight Toolkit (specifically the AutoCompleteBox) and measure the time it took to create the form from scratch in Visual Studio and in Blend.

Here is what the final product looks like:



I created an entirely non-scientific test in which I filmed and timed myself creating this form first in Blend and then again in Xaml using Visual Studio.

My not very accurate timing is that it took about 40 minutes in Blend and 30 in Xaml, but I think if you eliminate the overhead of filming, it is more like 30 in Xaml and 15 in Blend. Note also that I have about 15 years experience with Visual Studio and about 6 months with Blend

In any case, this may well be a case of “Draw Curve, Plot Points,” but it was interesting and fun to do and seemed to validate my impression that Blend is not only easier, it is faster. I’m off to DevConnections and will try to post from there, but will resume what I hope will be much more frequent (and entirely technical!) blogging once I get back, along with the long promised series of deeply technical videos and tutorials.

2009 will be a very interesting year.

Thanks. -j

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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