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Microsoft Expression Blend is a design tool that allows you to create fantastic user interfaces for such Windows based applications and Web applications. You can use Expression Blend with .NET Framework 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 applications.

What Blend can do for you

One of the prime advantages of Expression Blend is its ability to separate code from design. Using Blend, designers can work independently on one set of deliverables for a project while developers can work on another. But this doesn’t mean that Blend is just for designers alone. Developers can equally take advantage of the features that Blend has to offer.

Expression Blend allows you to design your application visually, by creating or drawing shapes, paths, and controls on an artboard, and then modifying their appearance and behavior by configuring their properties.

The Blend IDE

By default, the Design view shows the Projects window pane open on the right. In the center, you see the white artboard or the drawing area. This is where you will be drawing controls and placing items.

On the left, you will see the Toolbox containing the controls and objects that you can use for drawing. Let us look at all these elements in detail.

The Projects window

This window shows the default files created for a Silverlight project in Blend.

The Toolbox

The Toolbox contains various objects and controls that can help you create a fantastic user interface for Silverlight applications.

The Selection tools are used to select objects and paths.

The Magnify or Zoom tool is used to provide different views of the artboard and objects.

The Pan tool is used to position the artboard in the workspace area.

The Brush tools are used to configure the color and other visual settings of objects such as controls and paths.

The Object tools include a number of controls and shapes that you can create or use in Blend applications.

The Asset tool opens the Asset Library, a collection of various controls and shapes.


Figure 1- Toolbox Pane

Working with Controls

The Toolbox pane provides options to create various kinds of controls. When you scroll down the Toolbox and click the small triangle next to the TextBlock, you will see additional controls popping up as shown in Figure 3.5.



Figure 2 -  Controls

The property headings commonly seen for most controls are:

  • Brushes
  • Appearance
  • Layout
  • Common Properties
  • Transform
Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 8:26 PM | Back to top

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