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It's more like a services Banquet, so fill your boots on the Silverlight 5 Data and Services cookbook.
Richard Costall
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Richard receives an new version of the Packt title Silverlight 5 Data and Services Cookbook. How does it measure up, Buffet or Banquet?
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NxtGenUG Article
Richard Costall Friday, June 22, 2012
Richard receives an new version of the Packt title Silverlight 5 Data and Services Cookbook. How does it measure up, Buffet or Banquet?
The Article 
Title: Microsoft Silverlight 5 Data and Services Cookbook
Author : Gill Cleeren, Kevin Dockx
ISBN: 978-1-84968-350-0
Packt Publishing April 2010
Buy/Pre-Order from Packt
Microsoft Silverlight 5 Data and Services Cookbook
Microsoft Silverlight 5 Data and Services Cookbook
Whilst Silverlight seems to be the poor relation at Microsoft, there's still plenty of Silverlight applications out there, and people building business applications on this underrated technology. I've personally paid a price for this change in strategy, and have turned my attention to other technologies.

It was a nice surprise though to be asked to review an e-book of the Packt title Silverlight 5 Data and Services cookbook. XAML does indeed live on in Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and most of the information in the book, will be valuable in these emerging app markets.

Cookbooks take a different form to general tech titles, opting to focus on many self contained 'recipies' targeting specific areas of the product.

Unlike with most publisher books I review, this title is an e-Book, so I'll be unable to give it away at.
Chapter 1
The first chapter kicks us off with the nuts and bolts of Silverlight, explaining the archictecture, project structure, integration with blend and deployment of the XAP package, including configuration of IIS and the creation of the first services based Silverlight application. The e-Book has colour illustrations, the page layout is clean and easy to read.
Chapter 2
In chapter 2 we look at DataBinding, why it's useful and the mechanics of how it works. Binding is demonstrated in XAML and also in Code, before moving on to UI-2-UI or element to element binding. It's nice how each sample highlights which version of Silverlight the recipe covers. There's also a 'Theres More' section highlighting some additional info around the feature. It also covers PropertyChanged, which allows the UI to be notified of changes, and the different modes of databinding. In Silverlight 5 (and 4 after the SL5 tools have been installed) you can debug XAML which is a really useful feature. the chapter rounds off with Blend and it's databinding, along with the data generation feature of Blend.
Chapter 3
Advanced DataBinding is the topic of chapter 3, and starts of with converters, something that most WPF/Silverlight developers hit early on. It also covers the newest features of converters including TargetNullValue, StringFormat and FallBackValue. We then move onto Validation, before rounding off with Data Templates, Silverlight 5's Implicit Data Templates and custom markup extensions. It also covers CollectionChanged notifications, but I'd have liked to see an example of parent objects being notified when a property of the child object had changed, not just that the collection had changed.
Chapter 4
This chapter highlights the DataGrid, a powerful control and covers, inserting, deleting, paging, sorting, grouping, custom columns and master detail, add in validation, and you'll understand why I called it powerful!
Chapter 5
Silverlight has the capacity to work offline, and coupled with Isolated Storage, makes it a great lightweight business application development platform. Chapter 5 focuses on Isolated storage; reading and writing, sharing between Silverlight applications, along with coverage of the Sterling Database.
Chapter 6
Something I felt was missing in the last version of this cookbook was MVVM. So it was great to see a chapter devoted to the Model-View-ViewModel pattern. Not only that, the chapter also has coverage of MVVM Lite by Laurent Bugnion. it also covers MEF - Managed Extensibility Framework, something that's built into Silverlight and works well with MVVM. Commanding was also something lacking in the last edition, another welcome addition to this version.
Chapter 7
Services, services, services, is the core of chapter 7, reading, cross domain, saving, XML, RSS, interaction with Windows Azure and also using sockets. A good large solid chapter, complete with many samples.
Chapter 8
If you've not had your fill on Services, then Chapter 8 brings a course of WCF and ASMX web services. it also covers ASP.NET authentication useful for integrating Silverlight into your existing web site.
Chapter 9
This chapter, also focuses on WCF and ASMX services, with duplex communication, encryption, security and integrating WIF into the Silverlight application.
Chapter 10
REST is the main focus of chapter 10. Not only does this chapter cover the many flavours of REST, but also integrating with Flickr and Twitter.
Chapter 11 (and 12)
WCF RIA Services, which appeared in the last edition is featured in chapter 11. Including setting up the service and working with the data. The RIA services framework makes it really easy to simplify line of business applications. There's 50 pages on this, before we drop into Chapter 12 which covers advanced topics, such as Identity, user access, validation, errors and exposing the service as endpoints as OData and for other technologies.
Chapter 13
Brand new to this edition is Chapter 13, Windows Phone 7. It takes us back to the beginning with setting up the environment and creating our first WP7 business application, before covering the service side of Windows Phone development.

The last time I covered this book, It rated highly, addressing most of the challenges I'd set it. The Silverlight 5 version is more comprehensive, with coverage of MVVM Lite, MEF and a bonus of Windows Phone. Gill Cleeren and Kevin Dockx, are both very experienced professionals and have brought together a great selection of 'recipies' for this cookbook. It's more like a services Banquet, so fill your boots on the Silverlight 5 Data and Services cookbook.
About Richard
Richard Costall (MVP, MCSD.NET) has over 22 years development experience and works for 1st Software, a Microsoft Gold Partner, and the UK's leading software solution for Financial Adviser and Intermediaries, designing and implementing IFA applications in the financial services sector. Previously specializing in VB, XML/XSLT, COM, ASP and MSMQ, Richard now lives and breathes the awesome world of .Net and in particular ASP.NET and Silverlight 2.0. Richard spent 5 1/2 years as the Midlands regional coordinator for VBUG (Visual Basic User Group) before co-founding NxtGenUG, the innovative UK user group for Microsoft Technologies.

Richard has written articles for publications such as ASP.NET Pro and International Developer Magazines and also co-authered the Apress title Professional MSMQ. He speaks a local user groups, Microsoft Conferences/Product launches, TechED Europe and the hugely successful DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Events.

When not in .Net land, Richard enjoys relaxing at home with his wife and two sons, playing on the XBOX 360 or ultimately jetting off to Walt Disney World, Florida, for a trip on the Tower of Terror.

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