Chapter 5. Using Expression Blend and Visual Studio with Shaders

Visual Studio, boasts a rock-solid XAML text editor, which makes it a perfect tool for code hackers and other hardcore UI developers, people who revel in writing interfaces one markup element at a time.

Expression Blend, on the other hand, enables the visualizers of the world, the designers and integrators on your team, to take their mental blueprints and coerce them into reality, one pixel at a time. Sadly, Blend is still relatively unknown and underutilized by XAML developers and designers alike. But I’m doing my part; you’ll see some of its design-centric tools in this chapter.

The truth, at least as I see it, is that both tools are essential for a well-balanced approach to XAML editing and design. There are times when it’s best to leave Visual Studio and use Blend and other moments where it’s best to work in Visual Studio. Microsoft is melding the two tools together in a future version of Visual Studio, which could mean that the switch is no longer necessary, but that combined nirvana is still some months in the future.

The objective of this chapter is to show the effect-specific tools offered in these indispensable XAML editors. It starts on the Blend side, showing the basic design tools and editors, and then examines the transition effects available in the Blend Visual State Manager. Interwoven amidst the Blend topics are a few excursions to the Visual Studio side of the house to learn where it outshines the Blend ...

Get HLSL and Pixel Shaders for XAML Developers now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.