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Book Review: Windows Phone 7 Silverlight Cookbook

(2 votes)
Matt Lacey
Matt Lacey
Joined Jun 09, 2011
Articles:   1
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1 comments   /   posted on Dec 20, 2011
Tags:   windows-phone , silverlight , book-review , jonathan-marbutt , robb-schiefer
Categories:   Windows Phone

This review is for the book 'Windows Phone 7 Silverlight Cookbook', and has been submitted by a member of the Windows Phone 7 User Group - a user group supported by SilverlightShow.

We support user groups with books, swag, events promotion, free event passes and others. Contact us to get support for your user group

Interested in this book? Get it for free by tweeting our next webinar Leveraging Windows Azure for the Windows Phone Developer using tag #webinarsilverlightshow. Three of you will get a free ebook copy provided by Packt Publishing. Tweet this webinar now!


This book is another in the ever growing number offering an introduction to Windows Phone development. This one takes a slightly different approach to others I’ve read by opting for a “cookbook” style where it aims to provide a collection of “recipes” which the reader can apply to their apps.

The book starts out well by encouraging developers to work with Expression Blend (which is something most developers would benefit from) and begins with helping the reader understand the available controls before showing how to create simple animations and behaviours.

Unfortunately that’s where things start to go downhill as it follows the traditional pattern of introducing a selection of features and functionality and then providing an example of how to use it.

The authors assume a level of experience in the reader but unfortunately don’t make it clear what this is. The preface states that the book is aimed at both the hobbyist and the professional developer. As the latter I don’t feel it gave me enough information on the idiosyncrasies of applying the techniques, the book describes, to my work. I also fear that for the former they don’t go far enough to help the beginner understand when each feature should be used or when and what alternatives may be appropriate.

With 2 authors and 3 technical reviewers I was also disappointed to see a number of errors in the content. This included author notes which haven’t been completed (“Insert references to...”) as well as information which is factually incorrect. (“The emulator doesn’t support multi-touch.” – It does, you can just only use it if the machine running the emulator supports it,)

The biggest disappointment I had with this book though was due to the comparison it draws with a cook book. When I look at a traditional cook book (one for preparing and cooking food) what attracts me is the dishes I can create from following the instructions therein. There are no recipes of that sort in this book. It’s more a collection of techniques. It’s also the pictures which particularly tempt me in a food based cookbook. Unfortunately the screenshots of the apps that are in the book aren’t particularly appealing and ignore lots of the simplest design guidelines and best practices.

The book’s subtitles claim it includes "Quick answers to common problems" and "All the recipes you need to start creating apps and making money".
I think it fails in both respects.
There are lots of common problems which the book completely ignores. Presumably because these aren’t easy to demonstrate or tied to a specific control or feature.

While the book does provide some help with creating apps, it doesn’t help the inexperienced or uneducated developer create apps which are better than what’s already available, or even identify what a higher quality app would look like. It also doesn’t mention anything which would help developers make money from their apps. There are already too many people creating apps who simply assume that if they build it sales (and money) will come. Except for a very small few this is simply not the case. I would expect a responsibly authored book providing guidance in this area to do a better job of explaining what someone entering the marketplace might expect and how to give themselves the best possible odds of creating something that will meet the needs of the user and the aims of the creator.

If you're new to developing for Windows Phone 7 then there are definitely lots of things that you can learn from this book. If you have some experience then it may provide a few introductory pointers to a more design focused approached to your app creation. Beyond that, however, there are many other books which will better help developers understand what can be done on Windows Phone and also how to do it.

Disclaimer. I was given a free PDF copy of this book for review purposes.



  • AlzAharaWafi

    Re: Book Review: Windows Phone 7 Silverlight Cookbook

    posted by AlzAharaWafi on Jan 05, 2012 05:01


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