Dynamic Prototyping with SketchFlow in Expression Blend: Sketch Your Ideas...and Bring Them to Life! Paperback – 24 Mar 2010
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From the Back Cover
This book is for designers, user experience pros, creative directors, developers, or anyone who wants to create rich, interactive, and compelling products. If you want to communicate innovative ideas, research, experiment, and prototype in the language of the interface, Dynamic Prototyping with SketchFlow in Expression Blend is the perfect text. Learn how to sketch, iterate, and validate ideas–utilizing the power and productivity within SketchFlow.
About the Author
Chris Bernard is a 17-year veteran of the design and technology industry. He is a passionate advocate for advancing the practice and discipline of innovation at the intersection of design, technology, and business.
Sara Summers is a 13-year veteran of the design industry. She has a personal mantra of design democracy–happy, healthy designers and developers working and playing together to create beautiful, inspirational products.
Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Also, I used Expression Studio 4 and I was very happy to discover that they provide all of the projects for the book for both version 3 and version 4 of expression studio.
Developer's perspective: I am a developer and have no formal education or experience with design. I got interested in SketchFlow because I needed a good way to prototype my projects and we do not have a designer where I work so the design of my projects also falls to me. The first 3 chapters are geared towards design in general and they talk alot about things that you would probably have learned if you went to a school of design. While I found these chapters to be very boring there was some useful information regarding how to go about designing a solution and the stages that a prototype will go through. Apart from that this book is completely accessible to developers who sometimes get thrust into design and prototyping and need to learn a good tool for that purpose.
If you need a book that focuses on SketchFlow do not be afraid to get this book. Though there are still a few places where the examples are hard to follow you can work through these, and the book does an excellent job of getting you up to speed using SketchFlow.
File names that don't match the book, Missing images (sketches), Chapter projects that have been half finished already. Sometimes the steps are detailed and others they are very vague or missing. Spelling and grammar errors abound. I have wasted hours trying to figure something out because the book doesn't match the projects. The sketches are .png files which I am assuming have alpha channels because if you edit the image in MS Paint a save it, you loose the transparency info.
I am more than half way through the book and have had no problems with Expresion Blend 4 converting the files from Blend 3. Though one of the other reviewers pointed out that in the later projects they just won't convert. That would not surprise me.
UPDATE 9/30/10: Well I am into chapter 24 and though the projects still convert without problem, they won't build in Blend 4! The book is based on Silverlight 3 and the authors provide a .dll that is not compatible with Silverlight 4 AND, they do NOT provide the source code for that .dll! To get things to work you must dig into the XAML and delete the trigger that uses that .dll. But this is not the authors fault as the book is for Blend 3.
Also, it looks like the authors or the publisher have abandoned the web site as there have been no updates nor is there an errata anywhere. It would be nice to go to the web site and see a list of corrections or be able to download the missing files. But if you download what is on the web site, you still get all of these problems. Considering how long this book has been out, that is inexcusable.
With that said, if these problems where not an issue I would give the book a 5 star rating. With the exception of "Part I - The Theory Behind Sketching and Dynamic Prototyping" (boriiiing!), I like the way the book flows. A quick prototype introduces you to some basic SketchFlow capabilities. That is followed by more detailed and advanced capabilities all the time progressing through different stages of the Dynamic Prototyping process on through to the finished product. If you stick to it you will learn how to use SketchFlow from project concept to sketching and prototyping. In fact, this book demonstrates the power of SketchFlow very well and it is they joy of working with SketchFlow that saved this book from a 2 star rating and a lonely life on the shelf.
UPDATE 10/1/10: After struggling with the projects through chapter 23, I discovered that the books synchronization with the chapters source and projects just completely falls apart. A quick example: throughout the book a component screen used for navigation uses large customized rectangles. Suddenly, in ch. 27, the book shows them as Radio Buttons. Nowhere does the book discuss the change over to radio buttons. Furthermore, the ch. 27 project is missing more files than any other chapter. In fact, some of the missing files don't exist anywhere and are not recreatable so the solution will not build at all (in previous chapters, I was able to find most missing files in other chapters or recreate missing screens in Photoshop Elements).
I could go into more and more detail about all of the problems but I'll sum them up this way. All developers have experienced the scenario where you "get-latest" from your source code control system only to discover that someone has circumvented source code control and stepped over a ton of changes you had checked in: screwed up code, missing files, trashed project and solutions, etc. I feel that is what happened with this book. Two authors (or most likely an editor) merged all the chapters together and really screwed everything up. The sad part is it is very obvious that nobody ever sat down with the book and actually tried to work through the chapters with SketchFlow before the book went to press.
If you plan on working through the book, be prepared for some serious frustrations.
If you are only going to read it, then it has a lot of great information about SketchFlow.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, it is the only SketchFlow book in the sea.
I am recommending this book with the understanding that you will need to work around the previously mentioned problems.
I read through most of this book in a night in the same manor that I read most development books, speed read to the important parts. I didn't see any major issues with the grammer but then again I wasn't proof reading their book. There is definetly some copy and past going on as some of the topics covered near the start were later used again with minor changes later int he book. Last not the binding of this book is the worst ever. I've never had a development book fall apart but about 1/3 of the way through the binding gave out and I actually have pages falling out of the book. Keep in mind this is one evening of just speed reading through the book not months of heavy use.
My over all review is stay away from this book unless you are looking to just learn more about the the prototyping process and want a book to walk you through the samples.
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