Essential Windows Presentation Foundation
The Microsoft .NET Development Series has always been a great source of information for some of the latest technologies to emerge. Essential Windows Presentation Foundation is no exception. The book s author, Chris Anderson, is one of the chief architects of the Windows Presentation Foundation. This fact is one of the reasons that the book does such a great job at describing the ins and outs of the new framework. The detail and depth that Anderson goes into for the overview of the new framework is great. The book has two forwards, one by Microsoft great Don Box and the other by another well-known Microsoft guru, Chris Sells. Both forwards are worth the time to check out.
By the time I finished chapter one, I had a good overview of how WPF worked and I was left with an insatiable appetite for more. I couldn t wait to learn about that next cool feature that WPF had to offer. Chapter two spends a good amount of time discussing the different ways an application can be built, and goes through the details of its deployment. The author gives us a taste of Click once Web deployment and goes into detail on how to rebuild an application as an XBAP file for use over the Internet. At this point, the book ranks as one of the best books I ve ever read.
The failing point of this book, for me, comes with the missing details in the samples. All the code samples are well thought-out and explained, but they are all just mere code snippets. There are only a handful of complete code samples throughout the entire book. Furthermore, the book lacks the details on what is required for the samples to run. This shortcoming could have been overcome by simply providing a sample CD or Web site with the book. I could not find either one. A good workaround for this issue was to read the book with MSDN at your side. MSDN was able to fill in any missing details, such as object namespaces and usages that the book omitted.
The remaining chapters (three to eight) continue to discuss other objects in the new framework and they do it in fabulous detail. We get a nice walkthrough on everything from the common control library to 3D graphics and animation to advanced data binding and triggers. By the time we hit the end of Essential Windows Presentation Foundation, Anderson has given us enough information for us to begin writing professional-level WPF applications.
Overall, this book does a great job of explaining what WPF is and how it works. I consider it one of those books all developers should have on their bookshelf for reference. Anyone reading this book can expect to get an in-depth walkthrough of WPF. This book shouldn t be considered a book for beginners; I recommend anyone wanting to learn about WPF start with the MSDN docs to understand how to install it and run it and then move on to this book.
One final note here is that this book was written while WPF was still a beta, so some of the references to classes have changed. Also, there is no mention of WPF/e (a.k.a Silverlight). However, I think many developers will appreciate the effort the author makes to provide great documentation on a new technology that is still changing and, therefore, that makes this book a good read.
By Gregory Corbin
Title: Essential Windows Presentation Foundation
Author: Chris Anderson
Page Count: 458