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Microsoft Expression Blend

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:

  • Navigating the Blend user interface
  • Creating and styling simple forms in Blend
  • Managing and editing themes and resources
  • Creating Silverlight animations with storyboards
  • Setting up and previewing data bindings

Microsoft Expression Blend (or simply Blend) is a visual editor for Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight user interfaces. Although Visual Studio 2010 comes with a serviceable visual editor for WPF and Silverlight, Blend has always been a couple of steps ahead for visual design.

Blend is part of Microsoft's Expression suite of media products, introduced in 2005. Expression currently has four product lines:

  • Expression Blend, which this chapter is about
  • Expression Media Encoder, for transcoding and publishing video
  • Expression Web, for designing HTML
  • Expression Design, for drawing and editing images and vector art

Some media companies might use all four of these products — for example, for hosting streaming video in a Silverlight video player in a web page with icons on the web page and in the Silverlight video player. However, all you need to build great-looking applications for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) is Blend.

By now you should be familiar with some basic Silverlight and XAML concepts from previous chapters. In this chapter, we concentrate on how Blend can speed up the XAML creation process.

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