Beginning Silverlight, and XAML Resources – QuickStarts, Videos, Walkthroughs

by Yang Yang on May 5, 2007

To be honest, I don’t know much about XAML, actually very little. However, after I came across Silverlight, the Microsoft way of Adobe Flash, it really doesn’t matter whether you know much or not. Because we can build very decent bells and whistles for our websites in almost no time with it!

What is Silverlight then?

According to Microsoft,

Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web.

While it can do as much, Silverlight differs from Flash in its deployment wherein it is built upon existing technologies like HTML, XML and JavaScript, delivering text-centric solutions compared with Flash’s binary packaging, though you do have to install a small plug-in to perform Silverlight applications, which you can download here. It’s nimble, so easy to spread! Development can be done in a mere text editor, Windows Notepad for instance. It’s very easy, very intuitive and very enjoyable. If you are already well versed in XHTML+CSS+JavaScript development, this should be a piece of cake for you. Go grab it while it’s fresh and delicious!

What is XAML? And in Silverlight?

I hate definitions, so I’ll just cut through to the essence that I have understood. XAML is just XML that Microsoft has developed to describe objects. Silverlight relies on XAML to store and represent visual objects to be displayed and animated on HTML pages. So technically they are no more than text files, nothing to be afraid of. I promise that you will learn very fast to represent things such as canvas, shapes, images, text, media, animations and controls in XAML so as to further silverlight them in your browser.

How exactly to start developing in Silverlight?

  1. Install the Silverlight runtimes for Windows Internet Explorer.
  2. Download the Silverlight 1.0 Beta SDK.
  3. Unzip the package.
  4. Unzip Silverlight_1.0_QuickStarts.zip to a new directory.
  5. In the quickstart directory, you should have quickstart.html, double cilck to open it.
  6. Navigate through “Go to the Silverlight 1.0 Beta QuickStart (offline version)” to the quickstart tutorial.
  7. There you go. Just follow the instructions and you are on your way.

Start the feast!

Quick Facts:

  1. Microsoft is expected to come up with the final release of Silverlight 1.0 this summer.
  2. Silverlight for Linux is likely to be released at the end of 2007.
  3. Silverlight is based upon the great WPF.
  4. According to PC World, Microsoft is expected to announce at MIX 07 that part of its Silverlight technology source code will be released to developers. Adobe had previously announced that it would open source its Flex software development kit (SDK) by the end of this year.

Links and Resources

Official:

  1. Microsoft Silverlight: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight
  2. Silverlight.net, the community: http://silverlight.net/
  3. Blogs: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/blogs.aspx
  4. Forums: http://silverlight.net/forums/
  5. MSDN Developer Center: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/silverlight/default.aspx

Downloads:

  1. Browser runtimes or plug-in: both downloadable Windows and MAC OS X versions. Or you can visit this page to automatically install it.
  2. Silverlight 1.0 Beta SDK, Silverlight 1.1 Alpha SDK: quickstarts, documentations, code samples and more.

Learn:

  1. MSDN Silverlight: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb188743.aspx
  2. Whitepapers: provides a good overview of Silverlight.
  3. Quickstarts: designed to help you become rapidly productive in performing common developer tasks.

Tools:

  1. Silverlight Tools Alpha for Visual Studio codename “Orcas” Beta 1: an add-on to the Beta 1 release of Visual Studio codename “Orcas” to provide tooling for Microsoft Silverlight 1.1 Alpha. It provides a Silverlight project system for developing Silverlight applications using C# or Visual Basic.
  2. SWF2XAML: an Adobe/Macromedia Flash to XAML conversion tool.
  3. Adobe Illustrator XAML Export: a freely available plug-in that enables Adobe® Illustrator® to export WPF and WPF/E compatible XAML.

Services:

  1. Windows Live Silverlight Streaming: 4GB of free hosting offered to Silverlight developers and content publishers.
  2. Silverlight Streaming SDK: http://dev.live.com/silverlight

Screencasts:

  1. Using Silverlight Brushes for Color, Gradient and Video
  2. Using the Silverlight Downloader Object
  3. Basic Keyboard Input with Silverlight
  4. Adding Ink Support to a Silverlight-based Application
  5. 2D Geometries in Silverlight
  6. Building Video Overlays with Silverlight
  7. Creating a Video Scrubbing Control with Silverlight
  8. Using Silverlight for Full Screen Experiences
  9. Silverlight Event Handling with JavaScript
  10. Animating and Clipping Video with Silverlight
  11. Creating Vector Art for Silverlight with Expression Blend
  12. Animating Vector Art for Silverlight with Expression Blend Part I
  13. Animating Vector Art for Silverlight with Expression Blend Part II
  14. Animating Raster Art for Silverlight with Expression Blend
  15. Using Expression Blend to Control Silverlight Media Playback
  16. Delivering Parameterized Silverlight Content with ASP.NET
  17. Delivering Parameterized Silverlight Content with PHP
  18. Delivering Parameterized Silverlight Content with Java
  19. Using AJAX to Dynamically Update Silverlight Content
  20. Creating a Video Playlist with Silverlight and ASP.NET
  21. Overlaying HTML and Silverlight Content
  22. Real-Time Data Update with Silverlight and Web Services

Fun:

  1. How Did We Come Up With Silverlight
  2. Community gallery: http://silverlight.net/community/communitygallery.aspx

In-depth readings:

  1. A Guided Tour of Windows Presentation Foundation: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa480221.aspx
  2. Silverlight resources on ZDNet: http://updates.zdnet.com/tags/Silverlight.html
  3. Silverlight at Techboo.com: http://silverlight.techboo.com/

XAML:

  1. XAML Overview: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms752059.aspx
  2. XAML.net: http://www.xaml.net/
  3. Inside XAML: http://www.ondotnet.com/pub/a/dotnet/2004/01/19/longhorn.html
  4. XAMLdev: http://xamldev.com/
  5. XAML Resources: http://www.codeproject.com/dotnet/xamlresources.asp

WPF:

  1. Windows Presentation Foundation: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms754130.aspx
  2. WPF@MSDN: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework/aa663326.aspx
  3. WPF at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Presentation_Foundation
  4. WPF Community: http://wpf.netfx3.com/
  5. WPF Resources: http://wpf.netfx3.com/files/default.aspx
Rob June 19, 2008 at 7:22 pm

It’s been over a year and Silverlight never seem to have taken off. Neither seem AdobeAIR.

Yang Yang February 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I’ve got lots of good ideas about them, will do some exciting stuff about AdobeAIR in the upcoming membership program of Kavoir.com!

Yang Yang December 8, 2008 at 11:32 pm

@Rob
However it’s still a delight to learn and implement Silverlight for new applications. =) That’s why Microsoft trains a lot of technology evangelists.

Yang Yang July 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Again, I must thought tons of links are cool…because they make the post look useful.

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