In the last two Silverlight posts I’ve introduced databinding in Silverlight. We’ve seen that databinding, while similar to what we’ve experienced in Windows Forms and ASP.NET applications, is markedly different in Silverlight. Today’s topic further illustrates the differences by asserting that you can bind Resources, or more accurately Resource Dictionaries, to your controls.
When I was learning DataBinding in both .NET 1.0 and .NET 2.0, I quickly discovered that most of what I learned about DataBinding for ASP.NET was useless as I moved to Windows Forms and what I learned about DataBinding for Windows Forms was useless when it came to developing for ASP.NET.
So it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise that DataBinding in Silverlight has little to nothing to do with DataBinding in ASP.NET or Windows Forms.
While there ARE similarities between the three, you’ll do yourself a huge favor if you remember that you aren’t in Kansas anymore and start from scratch.
Microsoft describes Silverlight as a “cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.” That’s a really boring description for a really exciting new technology. Anyone who has looked at the demos and gotten a taste of what Silverlight can do knows that Silverlight represents an entirely new level of rich web interface technology for Microsoft developers.
I know it is customary to start out presentations of new technology with a “Hello World” application, but if you have any interest in SilverLight you’ve probably already seen one of those and it really didn’t help you a whole lot.
Where we really need to start off is at the beginning, with the foundational concepts that will enable you to get moving on your own basic SilverLight application. What you need to know is how SilverLight is like and unlike other things you might already know.
The best place to start in that regard is with the Layout Managers.
If you followed along with the install instructions last week and then went to do some development, you probably noticed that the Visual Studio environment does not allow for WYSIWYG/Drag and Drop GUI development like we can do with Windows Forms or ASP.NET development.
Insert rant for how lame this is here…
But all is not lost. While the tools are not available in Visual Studio, they ARE available in Expression Blend 2. So, our next step in the installation process is to install Expression Blend 2.