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The Silverlight Toolkit is an essential library that you must install to get the best out of Silverlight 5. You can find it on the CodePlex site. CodePlex is the Microsoft- sanctioned open source site. I encourage you to look around this site as it is full of useful .NET projects. The Toolkit is a Microsoft product that ships out of the normal Silverlight Timeline. Here, you will find tools that are slated for future releases of Silverlight, but are available now. Note that the majority of the tools are stable, and production-ready. Microsoft clearly labels a few controls that are considered experimental.
Microsoft also moves controls to the Toolkit that they feel would benefit from continued improvement. It is filled with dozens of useful controls that are indispensable to real Silverlight development. I highly recommend that you install this toolkit. I will be using it throughout this series. To give you an idea of what's in the toolkit, I would like to show you the site. Here I am at the silverlight.codeplex.com website. As you can see, there are two toolkits available on this open source site; on the left side is the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit, on the right side of the screen is the December 2011 Toolkit.
That's the one I am going to be using. Microsoft releases updates about every three months. So be sure and download the latest copy. If you click on this link, download the Silverlight 5 Toolkit, you will get the installer. You can also click on the second link to see some live samples. I am going to click on this link. It's going to load in the Silverlight Toolkit Samples. I will show more of this in the next movie. Once you've installed the SDK, you may want to use Microsoft samples in your own copy of Visual Studio. You are going to need to do a little work to make that possible.
On my screen, I have navigated to the Install folder. On my machine, that's in this location in this December 11 folder. Underneath that folder is a Source folder and within that folder are the Zip files. What I have done on my computer is copied the Sample source code.zip file to my desktop and then unzipped the files there. Within this folder, you will see there is two main branches of samples; there is the Silverlight Controls folder, and the Xna folder.
Xna of course, is Microsoft's 3D rendering engine. The next movie in this chapter shows you the samples included in the toolkit. Be sure and check them out as they are impressive. You will see more as the course progresses.
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