Silverlight is a popular platform for building enterprise applications because of its ease of delivery via the web and consistency across browsers and platforms. Most of the existing guidance is simple with introductory examples and basic content for building applications. Enterprise developers need a resource that provides a set of repeatable best practices and patterns to empower them to quickly and efficiently build line of business solutions using Silverlight. I wanted to tap into my years of experience building large commercial applications using Silverlight to provide the solutions to common and advanced scenarios that are often encountered when architecting software solutions. While I’ve tried to cover some of that through my blog, my readers have been asking for something far more in-depth and comprehensive.

A common complaint I receive from developers at large, via blog comments and at user group meetings, is that they cannot find a substantial resource that provides best practices and patterns for building large, scalable, modular Silverlight applications in the enterprise. I wanted to tackle advanced topics such as methods to move data across the wire, ways of sharing behavior between the client and the server, when to build modular extensions that load on demand and how to debug and profile Silverlight applications. The end result thanks to Addison-Wesley is a book that will not only provide a step-by-step approach with rich code examples for each topic, but will relate the solutions to actual case studies of production enterprise applications that the I have worked with. The book focuses on Silverlight 5 which will be released at the end of 2011. Silverlight has remained backwards compatible since version 3 and therefore any concepts or techniques should be relevant for future versions of the product as well. I also set out to provide valuable alternative perspectives for seasoned Silverlight developers.

I’m very excited to announce Designing Silverlight Business Applications: Best Practices for Using Silverlight Effectively in the Enterprise (Microsoft .NET Development Series)— a reference book with mini-tutorials that provides rich code examples, application frameworks, and case studies. It will include a rich glossary and set of references for existing tools and resources to supplement the information provided. A set of source projects supplements the book and will be hosted on the publisher web site for easy access and download by the reader.

While this book will not be available until early 2012, I wanted to share with you the opportunity to help influence how it is written and what topics are covered. Safari Books has a program called “Rough Cuts” that allows me to publish drafts of the book before they are published. You can read the text, receive updates as the book evolves and provide feedback to me about the book so I can help make it the best possible product when it goes to market. It is for the readers of the blog that I took on the project to write this book and I hope you will take the opportunity to read, provide feedback, and help me evolve this book to fit your needs for writing quality Silverlight code for line of business applications.

You can access the Rough Cuts version of the book online at this link. Even if you’re not interested in the program, I suggest trying the link because it provides some limited previews of the existing chapters. For those of you interested, the current table of contents looks like this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Started
  3. Introduction to XAML
  4. Advanced XAML
  5. The Visual State Manager
  6. Data-binding
  7. Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)
  8. The Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF)
  9. Testing
  10. Navigation
  11. The Service Layer
  12. Persistence and State Management
  13. Out-of-Browser Applications
  14. Silverlight in the Enterprise
  15. Debugging and Performance Optimization

I’m excited to be a part of the project and to share it with you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked via e-mail or at a user’s group “So when are you going to write a book about this?” The answer is, “Right now!” Preview the free excerpts and participate in feedback as I write and edit the final chapters at Safari Rough Cuts online.

Jeremy Likness