Review: Essential Windows Presentation Foundation
Published: 16 Nov 2007
Is Chris's latest book sufficient for learning Windows Presentation Foundation and will it suit you? Read what Anand has to say about the book.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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There are lots of books available for learning Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Most of them are bulky, but when I scanned through the pages of Chris Anderson's "Essential Windows Presentation," it provided a rough sketch of some of the important concepts in less than 450 pages. Even though the initial chapters will be useful for beginners - intermediate level developers, the remaining will be useful for advanced developers. 

Inside the Book and Recommendations

The book starts with a basic introduction to WPF and XAML with the help of relevant source codes. The author clearly examines the creation of a sample application in various ways using pure C# code and XAML Markup. It also includes a brief reference of the various tools used for building WPF applications. The second chapter demonstrates the creation of various types of applications with relevant code snippets. While the third chapter deals with the usage of controls such as Buttons, Lists, Menus, ToolTip, etc. Chapter 4 examines the functions of layouts and grid including the creation of a custom layout.

Graphics is one of the interesting features of WPF and the next chapter provides a detailed overview of both 2D and 3D Graphics including a short discussion about Animations. Chapter 6 examines the concept of data binding including some of the advanced techniques. The remaining chapters examine the usage of Events, Commands, Triggers, Themes and Skins. The book concludes with an Appendix which covers Threads, Properties and Input device communications.

An interesting feature of the book is that it provides screenshots of each code snippet, although I feel the necessity of colored screenshots at some places. I am not sure whether a pure beginner will be able to follow the content easily since the writing style followed by the author is developer centric and is of a little bit higher level. However, the understanding of subject matter depends upon the ability of each developer and some beginners will find it easy to follow the content.

The book only provides the required code snippet rather than the complete source code. I feel that this is done to reduce page size, but either the publisher or the author does not provide complete source code in ZIP format. The author maintains a website for the book, but it does not contain any major information. I would suggest that he run a discussion forum so that readers can post doubts regarding the subject matter. I feel that some kind of interaction is required on the part of the author for a high level book of this nature. 


From my point of view, the book contains a mixture of information which enables you to learn the very essentials of WPF in a short period of time. If you wish to learn the complete concepts with full source code and colored pictures then you should obtain some other book. I assume that even if you purchase this book, you will be compelled to buy another book to learn the concepts thoroughly.

About the Reviewer

Anand Narayanaswamy (Microsoft MVP and Chief Technical Editor, is the author of Community Server Quickly.

About the Book


Essential Windows Presentation Foundation



Chris Anderson


Addison-Wesley Professional

ISBN - 10


ISBN - 13



April 2007




US $49.99




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