In addition to releasing the upcoming Beta1 of Silverlight
2, we are also going to ship Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Studio
tool support for targeting it. These tools will offer a ton of power for
building RIA solutions, and are designed to enable developers and designers to
easily work on projects together.
In today's post I'm going to introduce some of the features
in the upcoming Expression Blend 2.5 March preview. After demonstrating
some of the basics of how Blend works, we are going to use it to build a
cross-platform, cross-browser Silverlight IM chat client:
The above screen-shot shows what the application looks like
at runtime on a Mac. Below is a screen-shot of what it looks like at
design-time within Expression Blend:
We'll use Expression Blend to graphically construct all of
the UI for the application, as well as use it to cleanly data-bind the UI to
.NET classes that represent our chat session and chat messages.
All of the controls we'll use to build the chat application
are built into Beta1 of Silverlight 2.
Disclaimer: I am not a designer (nor am I cool)
Let me say up front that I am a developer and not a
designer. I'm also not very cool. While I understand the techniques
to create UI, I sometimes choose bad colors and fonts when putting it together
(only after I did all the screen-shots for this post did a co-worker helpfully
point out that there is actually a site dedicated to banning some of the fonts and colors I used.
For those of you with artistic skill out there - please be
gentle with me and focus your attention on the features and techniques I
demonstrate below, rather than on the font and color choices I use.