Book Review - Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed by Adam Nathan
It seems like a never-ending task to keep up with Microsoft's latest and greatest application design software. But such is the life of a software developer... I got a chance to look at Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed by Adam Nathan, and I'm impressed on a couple of levels. This is how I wish all software books were written and published...
Part 1 - Background: Why Windows Presentation Foundation?; XAML Demystified; Important New Concepts in WPF
Part 2 - Building a WPF Application: Introducing WPF's Controls; Sizing, Positioning, and Transforming Elements; Layout with Panels; Structuring and Deploying an Application
Part 3 - Features for Professional Developers: Resources; Data Binding; Styles, Templates, Skins, and Themes
Part 4 - Going Beyond Today's Applications with Rich Media: 2D Graphics; 3D Graphics; Animations; Audio, Video, Speech, and Documents
Part 5 - Advanced Topics: Interoperability with Win32, Windows Forms, and ActiveX; User Controls and Custom Controls; Layout with Custom Panels
Part 6 - Appendix: Helpful Tools
Nathan aims the book at developers focused on user interfaces using, of course, the Windows Presentation Foundation software. It's meant to span the continuum from .NET newbies to experienced WPF developers. I can say he succeeded from the newbie perspective. I came away with a good basic understanding of WPF, how it works, and an idea as to all the features that can be used to create very nice applications from the user interface perspective. I appreciated the historical coverage of how we got to this point, and it set the table for everything that followed.
Beyond the content, the style and layout of the book was phenomenal. The most obvious difference is that this is a full-color book. All the code samples are color-coded, and more importantly, all the screen shot examples are as they would appear on your monitor. While this is important for user interface books, it's critical for a book like this. Many of the subtleties of WPF involve things that don't translate well to black and white print, like transparent windowing. Having those examples in color allows you to understand exactly what can be expected. Add in the numerous sidebars of tips, faqs, warnings, and so forth, and you've got a book that can take you from beginner to journeyman in short order.
I really wish more development books would go to full-color printing. It can take a very good book and make it truly outstanding, like this one...