With a lot of people wanting to learn Silverlight today and not really knowing where to start, I thought I'd write something to help people get started. This is not meant to be better than Jesse Liberty's version of the same thing, just a different take on it.
- Go read my post titled What Is Silverlight. This should give you enough of an overview of Silverlight to make sure that it is what you think it is.
- Install the tools at http://silverlight.net/getstarted. This will give you everything you need to begin building Silverlight applications. Don't forget Expression Blend, even if you are not a designer some things are just a lot easier using Blend.
- Watch a couple "How Do I" videos on getting started and any other topics that interest you.
- Work through a QuickStart. These expose you to programming numerous areas of Silverlight. Feel free to just read the sections you need, when you need them.
- Build something. It doesn't have to be original, fancy or even work well. Don't even show it to anyone if it doesn't turn out looking quite right, but build something. Pick an idea like a weather widget or an ad rotator or get adventurous and build a simple little space invaders style game, anything just BUILD something. Using it is the best way to actually learn any technology.
- Don't be shy. Use the forums at http://silverlight.net/forums whenever you run into a stumbling block. I would encourage you to attempt a search of the forums first though since if you are having trouble with something, someone else probably has as well.
- Read a lot. Everybody and their brother is blogging about Silverlight. A simple Google search will turn up information on nearly anything you can think of. A good place to start is to subscribe to the Community blog aggregation feed from Silverlight.net. Also be sure to catch Silverlight Cream as Dave Campbell does a great job of aggregating all the Silverlight posts he can find into a nice, searchable site.
- Push yourself. Commit to doing something that you don't know how to do yet but know is possible. There are a lot of options in this arena:
- Build a prototype for a work project
- Give a Silverlight presentation to a local user group
- Write an in-depth technical blog post
- Enter a contest. At the moment I know of the Control Builder contest, an article writing contest and INETA is supposed to be starting the Silverlight Challenge soon as well.
I know that everyone has their own individual style and pace of learning but hopefully this will point you towards the path of [Silver]enlightenment.