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Browsers Expression Web My Book Silverlight Tutorials

Previewing Silverlight Applications in Your Browser With Expression Development Server

If you’ve tried placing a Silverlight application in a HTML page in Expression Web 2 (or any other web authoring application for that matter) and previewing it in your browser you know it doesn’t work. Here is a small exerpt from my upcoming book Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Expression Web 2 in 24 Hours that explains how you can use the Expression Development Server to trick your browser into previewing Silverlight applications without having to run them off a server:

To make sure everything is working properly, you should preview the page in your browser. But if you do all you’ll see is an empty white page. This is because Silverlight is a server-side script that must be running on a web server to work properly. In other words technically you need to upload your files to a web server and test them from there. Fortunately there is a way around this problem: Because a big part of Expression Web 2 is the ability to create advanced dynamic websites using Microsoft’s server-side script language ASP.NET, the program comes equipped with a small application called Expression Development Server. This application creates a virtual server on your computer that behaves like a web server and lets you run server-side scripts in pages even though they are only stored on your computer. You will be introduced to the Expression Development Server in more detail in Hours 22, “Beyond the Basics: PHP in Expression Web 2,” and 23, “Beyond the Basics Part 2: Building a Site with ASP.NET.”

The problem at hand is that the Silverlight script will run only on a web server. So to be able to preview the application you need to make Expression Web 2 think that the page you are currently working with is actually an ASP.NET page. That way it will be previewed using Expression Development Server and the Silverlight script will run properly. Doing so is surprisingly simple: Open the HTML file that contains the Silverlight application you want to preview, select File, Save As on the menu bar, and change the file extension to .aspx – the extension for ASP.NET pages that can contain regular HTML code. Now when you open the page it will be previewed in the browser through Expression Development Server and the Silverlight application will run properly.

Clever eh? Now go crack open your piggybank and buy my book!

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My Book News

My Book Is Finished (first draft at least)!

After two months of grueling work and a lot of brain twisting the final chapter of my 24 chapter masterpiece Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Expression Web 2 in 24 Hours was submitted to the publisher this afternoon.

From here the next step is author review where my tech editor as well as language specialists, format editors and other people far more versed in the art of book publishing than myself get to pick at every minute detail and tell me that (big shock and surprise) my English is somewhat archaic and I have more spelling errors than a 5 year old on caffeine (actually I’ve already gone over the reviews of the first 6 chapters and they really weren’t that bad).

When author review is done, there is yet another review stage before they finally start cutting down trees to push my carefully crafted words out on the shelves for the tutorial starved public to devour.

If you want a peek behind the curtain, Safari Books have actually published the unedited rough draft of the book on their website.

Now that the worst is over I’ll be gettnig back to writing tutorials and projects for this blog so if everything goes according to plan there should be something up by next week. During the writing of the book I encountered many a strange situation that required some study and eventually a solution and I’ll be sharing the ones that for one reason or another didn’t fit into the book here on the blog.

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Expression Web My Book News

The Cat’s Out of the Bag: I’m Writing a Book!

I guess it’s time to announce the worst kept secret of the century: I’m writing a book about Expression Web 2. More specifically it’s called Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Expression Web 2 in 24 Hours and it is scheduled for release in October this year.

The book is already listed for pre-order on Amazon.com so if you are real eager to get your hands on this literary masterpiece you can put your money in now and set up your lawn chair and tent by the mailbox. Bring food though… October is still some months away.

In writing the book I’ve tried to show not only all the great functionalities of Expression Web 2 but also how you can develop a good work routine that produces consistent results every time. It is bursting with tutorials and demos of how you can achieve the same results with different techniques and it is my sincere hope that it will help budding as well as fully blooming web designers bring some extra panache to their designs.

So if you are wondering why I have pretty much fallen off the face of the earth, now you have the answer: I’m up to my neck in easy-to-understand-but-hard-to-come-up-with tutorials that will give people the skills and know-how to get the most out of this powerful piece of software.