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Essential Silverlight 3 (Microsoft .Net Development) Paperback – 21 Sep 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (21 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321554167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321554161
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 1.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,639,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Essential Silverlight 3 is not only filled with technical details, clear examples, and performance tips that will make any Silverlight application better, but Ashraf also includes insights that can only come from one of the lead developers of the Silverlight runtime. From graphics, to text, to media―this book contains all the information you need on the core Silverlight 3 runtime.”

Brad Abrams, product unit manager, Microsoft


“The third iteration of Silverlight is a big step forward in true line-of-business capability for RIAs. Ashraf takes these new concepts and puts them forth in a meaningful and concise read.”

Jason Beres, Microsoft MVP; author; INETA Speaker


Essential Silverlight 3 is truly an essential book in the library of any Silverlight developer. The ‘Under the Hood’ portions of each chapter explain the details of Silverlight’s implementation, and the ‘Performance Tips’ explain how to use that information to get the most out of your software. I am very grateful I don’t have to track down or figure out all of this critical information on my own.”

Noah Gedrich, director of technology, BLITZ Agency


“Ashraf Michail delivers an insightful and practical book for anyone seeking to better understand, master, and unlock the full potential of Silverlight 3. It is filled with code samples, performance tips, and other useful advice to help you create truly outstanding Silverlight applications.”

Oleg Kokorin, CEO, MS Team, LLC


Essential Silverlight 3 tackles in depth a rich, vast platform. The author has a depth of knowledge and technical insight that is present throughout, providing a pleasing ‘why’ on top of the usual ‘how.’”

Richard Leggett, interactive developer


“This is a book of inestimable value on Silverlight. Even experienced Silverlight developers will learn from Essential Silverlight 3.”

Mark Monster, software engineer, Rubicon


“A great reference and textbook on Silverlight 3.”

Judith Myerson, systems architect and engineer


“Chock full of performance tips and information about Silverlight internals that you won’t find anywhere else.”

Jeff Prosise, cofounder, Wintellect


“Skillfully written, comprehensively explained, and logically delivered. Essential Silverlight 3 is undoubtedly a must-have study and keepon- your-desk practical guide for building a wide range of high-value rich Internet applications.”

Ash Rofail, CEO, Santeon, Inc.


Essential Silverlight 3 is a must-read for anyone who wants a better understanding of the Silverlight Framework. In his book, Ashraf Michail, architect on the Silverlight team, offers unique insights into Silverlight’s architecture and design principles, along with guidance on how to improve the overall quality and performance of Silverlight applications.”

Gerhard Schneider, senior development lead, Microsoft


Essential Silverlight 3 does not just get your feet wet―its technical insights and performance tips take you for a deep dive into the Silverlight ocean.”

Velvárt András, Silverlight MVP; founder, Response Ltd.


“This book really lives up to the title―essential, indeed. Anyone doing Silverlight 3, or looking to get started with it, needs this book close at hand.”

Chris G. Williams, Microsoft MVP and principal consultant, Magenic Technologies


“A must-read for all software developers who are trying to build rich Silverlight applications with great performance―it provides many useful performance tips. I would recommend it to anyone trying to improve performance of Silverlight 3 applications.”

Radenko Zec, senior software developer, Lanaco; INETA group leader, Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina 

From the Back Cover

“The book you are holding contains the keys to writing great Silverlight 3 applications. Use them well!”

From the Foreword by Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president, Microsoft Developer Division


Microsoft Silverlight is a leading cross-platform, Rich Internet Application (RIA) technology that allows you to create more compelling and interactive Web experiences than are possible with simple HTML browser pages. Silverlight 3 includes significant improvements over previous versions, including “out-of-browser” operation, H.264 video, 3D graphics, and real-time effects.


Essential Silverlight 3 is the definitive reference and insider’s guide. It not only covers all the key features of the Silverlight 3 runtime and how to use them but, in Under the Hood sections, explains why each feature was developed and how each one works. These “insider” explanations often lead to concise, practical performance tips that can help you speed up your own Silverlight applications.


Author Ashraf Michail is uniquely qualified to explain Silverlight 3. He is a Microsoft Silverlight architect who has guided Silverlight from its beginnings through the current version. In this book, he shows how to 

  • Integrate the principles and components of a Silverlight application, including XAP, XAML, and .NET code
  • Use Silverlight vector graphics, bitmap images, and animation
  • Display predictable and readable text across platforms and animate text elements
  • Obtain mouse and keyboard input, including mouse wheel events
  • Implement smooth animations to improve your user interface and make your application more pleasing to the user
  • Use the Canvas, StackPanel, Grid, and Border elements to lay out your application and define custom layout elements
  • Play high-quality, live, and on-demand video and audio
  • Customize the built-in and toolkit controls and develop new custom Silverlight controls
  • Connect to and synchronize with data using Silverlight Data Binding
  • Use built-in real-time effects and define custom HLSL pixel shaders
  • Enable GPU-accelerated rendering 

If you are a developer who is getting started with Silverlight or an expert Silverlight developer who is interested in understanding the inner workings of the Silverlight runtime, this book is for you.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an introductory book suitable for someone completely new to Silverlight.
As an introduction, it's pretty good.
You will need some other resource to get you started on writing any but the most trivial real world application.
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Format: Paperback
You can tell from the first pages that this was written by someone "in the know". Throughout the book they have scattered a large number of grey-boxed tips that taken alone justify buying this book. The chapters on data-binding and templated controls are the first descriptions to finally remove my fear of those mysterious features that had eluded me for so long before.

My only complaint is a very small number of quirks:
The first is the use of the old style FindName() method (e.g. on page 119 FindName("myRectangle") when the example clearly shows that the XAML element in question is named in the connected XML file and therefore can simply be referenced by name as a strongly typed object myRectangle instead. The second is the confusing reversal of priority order on page 149 - the comment about the list of features should read "fastest to slowest" not the other way around. Lastly it mentions the new mousewheel support but provides no examples at all.

If not for these minor points I would have thought it near perfect read. I read it cover-to-cover in 2 days and I will be keeping it handy as a reference guide to Silverlight 3.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very superficial for my taste 22 Oct. 2009
By Adam Rivers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a dissapointment for me, i expected something special, but it shows you how to draw and do some stuff with the UI, but it touches superficially the animations, WCF services (only way to get to a database) is not there. How to create converters, or your own custom controls, isolated storage, deep zoom, the new navigation all of that is missing and more.

The PRO Silverlight 3 with C# is much more complete and all around book.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the essentials of SL *3* 19 Oct. 2009
By Thomas S. - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book was a big disappointment.
Microsoft built a lot of new stuff into SL3 targeting business applications.
SL is an interesting alternative for building B2C and B2B apps beginning with release 3.
After watching a lot of the tutorial videos on the SL homepage I expected to get material that at least touches most of the new features.
That's not the case.
Are you looking for information regarding the new Datagrid & Dataform control, Pagers, AutoCompleteBox, ChildWindows, how how to interact with data services (SOAP, WCF, binary encoding), cross domain policies, out of browser clients, merge external style templates, interaction with DOM/Javascript, interaction with Blend 3 etc? You won't find it here.
This book is mainly about drawing stuff that was already there in SL1 & SL2: lines, circles, brushes, animations, videos, layout, effects etc.
It doesn't even scratch the surface of what the SL3/toolkit bundle adds on top.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading 19 Oct. 2009
By T Anderson - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book is a great guide to most of the essentials of Silverlight 3.0. I say most because it misses a few key pieces of the puzzle. There is no coverage of services, no coverage of the navigation framework, and very little coverage of the Silverlight Toolkit.

Those points made, the topics covered are covered very well in the context of the essentials. The book is very well written. It is organized in a very logical and clean format.

Most of the essentials books I have read are overly complex, this one is overly simplified, and that makes it a great beginner's text. Just be aware of the missing pieces of the puzzles.

The biggest ding was the "Technical Insight", "Debugging Tip", and "Performance Tip". I'd say one third of them where just observations that you would have to be blind to miss, one third were hints or clues that you have to research further or come to the table with prior knowledge to figure out, and one third were valuable.

I could find no code download, which would have been nice to have for the graphics chapter.

This book had an army of very well know people give it praise. That was the main reason for my purchase. I will ignore praise like this from now on, because most of it was bull.

All in all, the book is excellently written and organized, and the content covered is great. I do recommend buying it, because the dings I mention above of more of a personal preference and may not apply to everyone. The content is definitely worth reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Succinct and insightful 7 Oct. 2009
By Evan S. Christensen - Published on
Format: Paperback
I really like the directness of the text--gets right to the point and has great organisation. I've been reading about Silverlight 3 for a few weeks now and "Essential Silverlight 3" is really helping pull the various things I've read together into a clearer picture. The organisation of the book is simple and works well for me as a developer. I'm still reading through the text but so for I really like it--good substance without a bunch of gas. Some of the example don't quite work, but I was still able to grasp the content.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely 5 stars 18 Oct. 2009
By Rama K. Vavilala - Published on
Format: Paperback
I did not keep knowledge of Silverlight up to date after Silverlight 2.0, so when I had do a project where there was potential to use Silverlight, I headed to the bookstore. I scanned through the available SIlverlight 3 books and this book came across as most promising. Things that immediately caught my attention: Scott Guthrie's foreword and under the hood sections.

From my perspective, the good things about the book are:

1. It is easy to read. My style of reading is to quickly read entire books in the first pass to grasp the key points quickly and I found that this book is perfectly suited for my style.

2. The coverage is excellent. It covers all aspects of SIlverlight at the appropriate depth. I never found the book chatty.

3. Under the hood sections are extremely valuable. For instance, you will learn about the frame rate in silverlight and how you can use that to debug the bottlenecks in your application.
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