Silverlight 5 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Working in the Expression Blend interface


Silverlight 5 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

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Video: Working in the Expression Blend interface

Expression Blend is a premier tool for editing your UI. It contains a powerful visual designer. The designer is so good that the next version of Visual Studio will include the same designer. I'm inside Expression Blend. If you're following along with the Exercise Files you're going to want to open the ExampleSilverlightApp solution. This has a number of files. I would like to add a new file to this project. To do that, I'll go to my File Menu and choose New Item. I'm going to create what's called a Silverlight UserControl and I'm going to call this one ExampleControl.
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 35m 1s
    1. Overview of Silverlight
      3m 29s
    2. Setting up a developer computer
      2m 46s
    3. Installing the Silverlight Toolkit
      2m 21s
    4. Exploring the toolkit samples
      2m 35s
    5. Using Visual Studio 2010 to create a Silverlight project
      5m 10s
    6. Using Expression Blend to create a Silverlight project
      3m 13s
    7. Getting to know the Visual Studio interface
      8m 16s
    8. Working in the Expression Blend interface
      7m 11s
  3. 29m 47s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio project structure
      3m 38s
    2. Creating a Silverlight page
      3m 17s
    3. Compiling your first application
      5m 1s
    4. Using other assemblies in an application
      5m 45s
    5. Deploying a Silverlight application
      3m 43s
    6. Understanding the startup process for an application
      3m 13s
    7. Understanding how users get Silverlight on their computers
      5m 10s
  4. 16m 59s
    1. Exploring the relationship between XAML and .NET
      3m 57s
    2. Using C#
      7m 16s
    3. Exploring the code-behind file
      5m 46s
  5. 43m 23s
    1. Working with XAML elements and Property attributes
      4m 56s
    2. Investigating XAML namespaces
      7m 32s
    3. Converting XAML properties with TypeConverters
      5m 1s
    4. Working with Property elements
      4m 24s
    5. Assigning runtime data with XAML markup extensions
      4m 21s
    6. Digging into the dependency property system
      6m 12s
    7. Creating a custom dependency property
      4m 42s
    8. Understanding attached properties
      6m 15s
  6. 9m 35s
    1. Debugging your code
      5m 17s
    2. Special Silverlight debugging techniques
      4m 18s
  7. 36m 1s
    1. Understanding layout
      4m 55s
    2. Using DockPanel and WrapPanel
      4m 2s
    3. Exploring sophisticated layouts with the Grid
      6m 40s
    4. Absolute positioning with the Canvas panel
      5m 20s
    5. Scrolling content with the ScrollViewer
      3m 28s
    6. Adjusting content alignment, margins, and sizing
      5m 6s
    7. Using the TabControl
      2m 17s
    8. Manipulating elements with transforms
      4m 13s
  8. 20m 33s
    1. Painting the user interface (UI) with SolidColorBrush
      6m 7s
    2. Getting colorful with gradient brushes
      3m 15s
    3. Decorating elements with ImageBrush
      4m 57s
    4. Creating effects with VideoBrush
      6m 14s
  9. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding routed events
      3m 12s
    2. Wiring up event handlers in Silverlight
      6m 4s
    3. Understanding event bubbling
      4m 39s
    4. Exploring mouse events
      7m 43s
    5. Exploring keyboard events
      4m 4s
  10. 32m 31s
    1. Displaying text on the screen
      3m 24s
    2. Gathering text input from the user
      5m 30s
    3. Showing complex text with RichTextBox
      6m 7s
    4. Understanding text overflow and text linking
      3m 14s
    5. Searching content with the AutoComplete type-ahead control
      6m 45s
    6. Using and embedding Silverlight fonts
      7m 31s
  11. 26m 48s
    1. Understanding content controls
      5m 7s
    2. Understanding button controls
      6m 17s
    3. Using the BusyIndicator
      4m 40s
    4. Showing tooltips
      4m 34s
    5. Changing content size with ViewBox
      1m 39s
    6. Exploring more controls
      4m 31s
  12. 55m 36s
    1. Connecting elements with binding
      9m 54s
    2. Using business data in a binding
      9m 21s
    3. Listing data with ItemsControls
      6m 39s
    4. Digging into the DataGrid
      8m 28s
    5. Using the DataForm
      3m 49s
    6. Storing data on the client
      7m 10s
    7. Debugging XAML bindings
      5m 41s
    8. Charting data
      4m 34s
  13. 24m 36s
    1. Creating an Out-of-Browser (OOB) application
      6m 16s
    2. Controlling aspects of an OOB application
      2m 49s
    3. Alerting the user with notification windows
      7m 13s
    4. Hosting HTML content in Silverlight applications
      8m 18s
  14. 30m 2s
    1. Exploring Silverlight trust levels
      3m 51s
    2. Creating an elevated trust application
      5m 57s
    3. Reaping the benefits of XAP signing
      6m 5s
    4. Making cross-domain calls
      5m 1s
    5. Getting started with COM Interop using the Speech API
      4m 21s
    6. Using COM Interop to interact with Microsoft Office
      4m 47s
  15. 16m 34s
    1. Showing child windows
      3m 48s
    2. Using a child window as a dialog window
      5m 7s
    3. Creating native windows
      2m 53s
    4. Maximizing a window with full screen mode
      4m 46s
  16. 13m 20s
    1. Dynamically loading UI content with user controls
      4m 46s
    2. Using the Navigation Framework
      8m 34s
  17. 9m 28s
    1. Using resource files
      3m 53s
    2. Using images in an application
      5m 35s
  18. 16m 32s
    1. Playing audio
      4m 27s
    2. Playing sound effects
      5m 4s
    3. Viewing video content with MediaElement
      4m 58s
    4. Changing video playback speed with TrickPlay
      2m 3s
  19. 14m 41s
    1. Capturing video with a web camera
      4m 16s
    2. Working with a microphone
      3m 47s
    3. Creating print output
      6m 38s
  20. 22m 35s
    1. Understanding Silverlight animations
      4m 35s
    2. Creating animations
      7m 52s
    3. Controlling animations
      4m 18s
    4. Simulating physics with animation easings
      5m 50s
  21. 27m 47s
    1. Placing XAML resources within a FrameworkElement
      6m 47s
    2. Centralizing settings in styles
      4m 8s
    3. Creating an alternate control UI with ControlTemplates
      6m 29s
    4. Dressing up your data with DataTemplates
      4m 33s
    5. Explaining the VisualStateManager: a simple way to manage control states
      5m 50s
  22. 10m 56s
    1. Handling global errors in a Silverlight application
      5m 46s
    2. Showing an application loading screen
      5m 10s
  23. 10m 48s
    1. Integrating with XNA
      7m 40s
    2. Exploring data analysis with PivotViewer
      3m 8s
  24. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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Watch the Online Video Course Silverlight 5 Essential Training
8h 51m Beginner Mar 27, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Microsoft Silverlight 5 is a rich application framework for creating high-performance, cross-platform desktop and mobile applications. In this course, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to build a variety of applications in Silverlight, with particular focus on building compelling business applications and delivering premium video and audio content. Developers will work with the C# programming language and Visual Studio Professional, as well as Expression Blend, a tool that simplifies creation of the interactive user interfaces expected in modern-day applications.

Topics include:
  • Installing the toolkit and setting up the development environment
  • Using Expression Blend vs. Visual Studio 2010
  • Creating a Silverlight page
  • Compiling an application
  • Exploring the relationship between XAML and .NET
  • Using C#
  • Working with XAML
  • Digging into the Dependency Property System
  • Deploying and debugging code
  • Creating sophisticated layouts with panel elements
  • Managing Visual State with Visual State Manager
  • Transforming the user interface (UI) with templates
  • Understanding the event model
  • Working with text
  • Using business data in a binding
  • Creating an out-of-browser (OOB) application
  • Exploring trust levels
  • Playing audio and video
  • Handling errors
  • Exploring animations
  • Working with application windows
  • Integration with XNA
Silverlight Visual Studio
Walt Ritscher

Working in the Expression Blend interface

Expression Blend is a premier tool for editing your UI. It contains a powerful visual designer. The designer is so good that the next version of Visual Studio will include the same designer. I'm inside Expression Blend. If you're following along with the Exercise Files you're going to want to open the ExampleSilverlightApp solution. This has a number of files. I would like to add a new file to this project. To do that, I'll go to my File Menu and choose New Item. I'm going to create what's called a Silverlight UserControl and I'm going to call this one ExampleControl.

When I'm done, Expression Blend loads this blank designer. If you look over on the left-hand side of the screen you'll see this Objects and Timeline section, which contains my UserControl and all of my UI. Currently, there's only one element in there called the LayoutRoot. I'm going to change that by going to my Toolbox and adding items. For instance, I can add this Rectangle. Click and hold to see an example of the other items here. I'll choose Rectangle, and then I'll come over to my artboard and draw in the surface.

You can see some sizing handles. You can see the dimension handles showing up there, so I can see the size as I'm drawing it. If I want to snap that to a grid, I can go to the bottom of my screen and click here to turn on the Snap Grid so I can see it. And then if there's a green dot in these two buttons, that means I currently have snapping enabled. So I can turn that off by clicking once. I'm turning it back on. So this first one is called snapping to gridlines and the second one is snapping to snaplines.

To move this rectangle on the artboard I need a Selection tool, and there are two to choose from. They are over here; Selection and Direct Selection. I need a couple controls to work with. So let's click here, touch the Delete button to remove it, and let me show you how to add a couple of buttons. I'm going to go back to my Toolbox, scroll down to the bottom, this is the Button icon. Again, click and hold to see more controls in that area. Choose the Button and drag a couple of buttons. Notice that when I'm working with multiple items you get red snaplines to show when you're lined up with another element.

Again, I want to manipulate these, so my choices are letter V for Selection or letter A for Direct Selection. So let's try that. Here's the letter A, and I'm going to click on this button. While I'm in Direct Selection I can move it around on the screen and move it to new locations. When I press the V key, I go to the Selection mode and I now have other handles. I've got a margin selector here, this little chain link, that's a margin selector. I've got several white dots now arranged around the edge.

This allows me to size the button. Move it to a new location, make it taller or shorter and so on. There are a couple of other things I can do. I'm hitting the Delete key to get rid of those guys. If I want to manipulate the transformations of this control, I can use some hidden dots. Watch what happens when I hover my mouse over the edge of this, that's the sizing handle, but if I move a few pixels off the edge, see how it changes to a rounded arrow. Now, when I grab this and move my mouse, I'm rotating it.

I'm rotating it around the center point. It's hard to see, but in the very center of this button is a white dot, and if I click on that, I can drag that white dot to a new location on the screen. Now, I'm going to rotate, this time it's rotating around that new location. This allows me to make really nice shapes. Let me show you how you do that. I'm going to Delete this Button and I'm going to draw a circle on the artboard. To do that I'm going to go over to the Toolbox, click on the Rectangle button and hold. That shows me the other two shapes allowed.

I'm going to select the Ellipse shape, and when I draw now I'm getting an ellipse. If I hold down the Shift key while I'm dragging, I get a perfect circle. So let's make a flower. I'm going to shrink this down, go over and choose a Color from my Properties panel. It's got some nice colors here, we'll come back and look at this in a second. I'll make this a kind of a red color, like so. I need to select my ellipse first to do this, so we'll try that again. There we go, and then I'm going to drag this white center point over here to this area.

And then I'm going to Copy this, Ctrl+C for Copy and Ctrl+V to Paste. Now I've got two of those ellipses. So watch what I can do. Click here again; Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and now they both share this common center point, so now when I rotate this, I'm rotating around that center point. I can constrain this as I move it around. So this lets me great circles or shapes very quickly. Ctrl+Copy, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Here's another one and so on.

I'd like to change these three circles to have different flavors of orange. There's a couple of ways I could do that. I can click on this first one and go over here and dial-in a color by dragging around on my Color Editor. I'll show you more in the color chapter. There's also a really handy feature called the Hue Factor, and I can do a Ctrl+Z to undo that color I just selected. You notice right now I have a Red, Green, and Blue over here. There is other color scales available. If I click and I hold, I now can move from Red, Green, Blue, to Hue, Lightness and Saturation, or Hue, Saturation, and Brightness.

So I'm going to click here, and now when I move this slider I'm changing the Lightness value of that. They all retain the same Hue, but a different Lightness factor. That's a light version of the ellipse and here is a darker version of the ellipse. If I want to work with other elements on the Toolbox, there are a number of sections here. If you come over and click, for instance, on this Pen section, you'll see there's a number of controls in there. If you want to add other controls that don't show up on these pre-designed palette, you go down to this section called the Assets pane and click here and now you can see all of the other available controls.

The nice thing about Expression Blend is it has built-in search, so I can come up here and type in like the letters acc and that shrinks my list of available controls down to only the ones that start with the letter acc, or I should say that only contain the letter acc. Now, I'm going to here and you see that, that added it as my Custom Tool palette down here. Now, take that and drag it over here on my designer surface. So that's how you customize the Tool palette. There are lots of other palettes available in Expression Blend. There's an Assets palette, this is where your pictures and shaders and other items show up, custom Shapes.

You've got custom States, and over on this side you've got design time Data, Resources section for styles and templates, and the entire Properties panel. There's lots of details inside Expression Blend. This is just a short overview of the Blend features. Look for more details later in the course.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Silverlight 5 Essential Training .

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Q: I'm trying to access a Silverlight 3D application template, [cid:image001.png@01CD0E7D.3E07ECA0]. I have already installed the Silverlight 5 SDK and my Visual Studio 2010 is professional. Could you please help me?
A: You must install XNA Studio in order to use the new Silverlight 3D templates. Otherwise the new templates will not show up. Download it at

For other Silverlight downloads (the toolkit, developer runtime, etc.), see
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