Learning Silverlight Checklist – Everything you’ll need to program Silverlight 4

Quick Intro of Silverlight 4 – for PowerBuilder Application Developers

Silverlight 4 is a powerful development platform from Microsoft used for creating rich internet applications.  The free plug-in, powered by the .NET framework and compatible with Silverlight 4 - Must Have Tools for the Programmermultiple browsers, devices and operating systems.  Silverlight 4 is the natural choice  for PowerBuilder Application developers who are tasked with PowerBuilder conversions because the programming features, event-driven programming and C# constructs are similar to PowerBuilder & PowerScript.

This article is aimed toward the beginning Silverlight 4 programmer. But these tools, add-ons and guides are must-have’s for any Silverlight 4 programmer.  I will continue to update this list so it might be a good idea to bookmark this article.

Silverlight 4 – Required Programming Tools & SDK’s

This is the first place to start, you’ll need one version of the IDE & the Silverlight 4 Tooklit at a minimum.  The WCF Ria Services is included as the Silverlight 4 Toolkit, however you may want the direct link as the RIA services has had recent updates.

  1. Visual Web Developer 2010 Express (free) or Visual Studio 2010 is the recommended IDE for developing .NET and Silverlight 4 applications.
  2. Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio 2010 – Add-on for Visual Studio 2010 to provide tooling for Microsoft Silverlight 4 and RIA Services. It can be installed on top of either Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Web Developer 2010 Express
  3. Silverlight Toolkit for Visual Studio 2010 – Contains important Silverlight controls, components and utilities that are not included in the base Visual Studio installation. It includes full source code, samples and tests.
  4. The .NET Framework 4.0 SDK – Microsoft’s SDK for the .NET Framework.  This should be included as part of the Visual Studio installation.
  5. WCF RIA Services –  Microsoft WCF RIA Services provides a pattern to write application logic that runs on the mid-tier, it is installed by default as part of the Silverlight tools for Visual Studio 2010.

Debugging Tools that are very important for the Silverlight 4 Programmer. These are all optional but highly recommended.

  1. The Silverlight Spy is a runtime inspector for Silverlight 4.
  2. Fiddler2 is a plug-in for the Mozilla Firefox Browser, and is used for http debugging of Silverlight applications.
  3. The Mozilla Firefox Browser is recommended for debugging Silverlight 4 applications.  It is the only browser that works with Fiddler2.
  4. .NET Reflector is a very popular and robust tool for dis-assembling assemblies and viewing the contents of .NET DLL’s
  5. If you’re debugging or testing on machines without the tools installed, you’ll want to use the windows developer runtime or the Mac OSX developer runtime for Silverlight 4.

Learning Guides & References for the Silverlight Developer

These are listed in the order of my preference.  I’ve found that the official Microsoft site for Silverlight 4 is one of the best starting points for information, with the exception of this article (lol, grin).   See my disclosure statement below concerning the 24 Hour Free Pass Training.

  1. Silverlight.Net is the official location for Silverlight 4 information from Microsoft.  It contains tons of learning material and is a great starting point for the learning Silverlight 4 programmer.
  2. 24 Hour Free Pass to Lynda.Com Training – Lynda.com is an outstanding resource for learning .NET and Silverlight 4  **
  3. Channel 9 Silverlight 4 Training Course is a great totally-free series with tons of video, exercises and tutorials.
  4. Tim Heuer’s blog series on getting started with Silverlight 4.
  5. Silverlight 4 Community of Sample Programs – A great place to see the amazing stuff you can do with Silverlight 4.

Expand Your Silverlight Toolset

Once you’re up and running with Silverlight, you’ll find these optional tools to be great additions.

  1. Microsoft Expression Blend 4 – This is optional and is recommended after you are up and running with Silverlight 4.  It is not free, and is part of the Microsoft MSDN package.
  2. Blend 4 SDK – The Blend 4 SDK is included with the Blend 4 installation, but is available separately for those who wish to create behaviors without using Expression Blend.

Other Interesting Silverlight 4 Links & Resources

  1. DotNetLanguages – is a website that publishes all of the known .NET programming languages ( e.g. C#, VB, F#, Smalltalk, COBOL, Pascal )
  2. Learning F# at Microsoft MSDN – F# is a new functional .NET language based on the ML family of languages, in particular OCaml.
  3. RIAStats.Com is a cool site for checking the saturation of various RIA tools, such as flash, Silverlight and Java versions.

Did I miss any important tools for Silverlight 4 development?  If you are a Silverlight 4 programmer & use tools that are not listed here but you think they should be, please email me or leave a comment.  Thank you.

** In the interest of full-disclosure: I am affiliated with the 24 Hour Free Pass Training by Lynda.com. I am not affiliated with any other sites included in this article.  If you are looking for .NET Training or Silverlight 4 training it would be appreciated if you used this link.  By clicking on the link here you will be able to utilize the 24 Hour Free Pass and your membership cost would be the same as if you visited Lynda directly.  I am not affiliated with any other companies listed in this article, on a personal or professional basis.


Rich (aka DisplacedGuy)

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