Microsoft Expression Blend Unleashed
Author: Brennon Williams
Publisher: SAMS, 2008
Pages: 600
ISBN: 978-0672329319
Rating: 3.5
Aimed at: A good question
Pros: Provides much need coverage of Expression Blend
Cons: Unfocused; misses the mark; has some very poor sections
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler

One of the great problems with WPF is that the line between developer and designer is blurred and frequently misunderstood. Historically, the design tools in Visual Studio have been poor or non-existent, often resulting in many developers hand-crafting their XAML. Many developers have tried and spurned Expression Blend, due to the alien interface. Similarly, most WPF books focus on the deep technical aspects, making them opaque to designers. Consequently, I was looking forward to reading a book that, from its title at least, purported to pick apart Expression Blend and make it accessible to all. Which is why I was so disappointed with the result.

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This is not so much a book about Expression Blend, but is a scattergun approach to WPF, C# (Chapter 10 is a primer on the language), .NET and Blend. Frustratingly, the sections that actually cover Blend will be extremely useful to designers and developers actually wanting to use Blend. However, there’s anywhere from 30 - 50% of the book that you will almost certainly just want to ignore. Many of the coding practices shown are poor.
Williams starts with a good overview of WPF, Blend and the future of the smart client. He also picks out the importance of a new and critical role: that of a XAML Architect (often known as a “devigner”), a hybrid that understands the key touch points for integration between designer and developer.

Ultimately, would I recommend this book to a developer? The answer is a qualified yes. The book has a lot of practical guidance on how to use Blend, and these sections are great. However, a lot of the book will have no appeal to designers or developers. It is almost the perfect definition of a curate’s egg: good in parts, awful in others.


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Pro WPF 4.5 in C# 4th Edition

Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: Apress, 2012
Pages: 1078
ISBN: 978-1430243656
Audience: C# Programmers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewed by: Mike James

Although 150 pages shorter than the previous edition, this is still a brick of a book. Is it all you need to know about WPF?



HBase in Action

Authors: Nick Dimiduk & Amandeep Khurana
Publisher: Manning, 2012
Pages: 360
ISBN: 978-1617290527
Aimed at: Database developers who want to learn how to use HBase
Rating: 4.5
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank

This book sets out to teach those with experience of other databases how to build applications using H [ ... ]


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