Tuesday, October 16, 2007

first take: Microsoft Blend 2

A few observations about getting started with Blend 2.

Installation. A Little painful. First off, you need windows, so osx users unless your mac has windows on it, you are out of luck. Since I'm still running Win XP I needed to install the .NET 3.0 framework. This actually went pretty well. The Blend installation was smooth too. It took a long time to reboot, very long time, I actually rebooted 4-5 times because I thought the machine had locked up.

First Launch. I was impressed with the small minimal splash screen and smooth charcoal grey interface. Despite some minor areas where it seemed like they neglected to completely skin the os interface, this is definitely not something I expected to see with a Microsoft application. I also found the welcome screen to be attractive and smoothly interactive. I loaded and tested a few of the sample projects. The samples were fairly impressive, similar to lots of different flash apps that I've seen, but it was nice to see that comparable solutions were possible. I poked around in one or two of the sample files, just to see how it was done, and found myself quickly lost and confused. Having used Adobe & Macromedia applications for many years, I was probably expecting similarities to Flash, but from some basic exploration, Blend 2's method for building projects is closer to Dreamweaver than Flash.

Similar to Dreamweaver, you have "Design" & "Code" panes and you have a lot more external files that you need to manage than with flash. The code that you work is called "xaml" with is also more like html or xml than actionscript or javascript.

That's it for now, my next trick will be to attempt a little project of my own.

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