Silverlight From Zero


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.WebPlatform

If you don’t already have Visual Studio, consider starting with Visual Web Developer (VWD). You can download both VWD and Silverlight together using the Web Platform Installer

Otherwise,  you may want to take a look at the more powerful  Visual Studio 2008 or the new beta of Visual Studio 2010.  Once you get serious with Silverlight you’ll really want  Expression Blend.  

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.

Quick Tour?StartLearningAbridged

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.

The Tools

Tim’s excellent first video in his series will definitely get you started on the right foot using the tools.  TimH

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.

Diving In

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


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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