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Microsoft .toolbox, a fun online learning environment, where you will learn basic design concepts and how to apply them, as well as the fundamentals of creating Silverlight applications using the Expression Studio tools. .toolbox features two learning options: Courses and Tutorials.


In .courses, two core learning paths are presented to you: Design Scenarios and Design Principles. Both begin with teaching basic techniques and build skills and knowledge incrementally. In Design Scenarios, designers and developers learn to create dynamically-rich Silverlight applications using Expression Studio. You will learn to add code-free functionality to designs by following step-by-step tutorials that illustrate how to create interactive user experiences. In Design Principles, you will learn fundamental design concepts (e.g., choosing the right colours and the right fonts) along with tips and techniques in how to apply them to your creations.

Badges are earned and accumulated in both tracks upon successful completion of the evaluation found at the end of each level. The evaluation tests your knowledge by asking questions about each of the modules in that level. Follow either the Design Scenarios or Design Principles track to completion and achieve Star principles and design scenarios tracks

Or, choose to complete the same level of each track (e.g., Design Scenarios 1 and Design Principles 1) and then take the combined design evaluation (e.g., Design 1) to be well on your way to achieving Design All-Star Status!

.toolbox school mapWhile course content is available on the site and also for download, evaluations will remain locked until you successfully complete the previous level’s evaluation. For example, the Design Scenarios Level 2 exam will become available only when you complete the Level 1 exam. Note that while you can access all the training content without creating a .toolbox profile, you will need to register in order to access the evaluations and track your progress through the program. Collect all of the badges to unlock the final evaluation for your chance to graduate as a Design All-Star!


In .tutorials, through the different sessions listed, you are presented with practical techniques, tips, and tricks that teach you to create Silverlight applications using Silverlight. In a change of pace from the .toolbox courses, the tutorials are shorter content sessions that you will be able to complete in a relatively short amount of time. By following along, you will learn fairly quickly about the different features of Silverlight by simply drawing, resizing, dragging, and dropping elements onto the design surface of Expression Blend. While you won’t earn badges by completing the .toolbox tutorials (head over to .courses for that!), you will get a wide array of content that you can pick and choose from to enable you to start mastering Silverlight and Expression.

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So far I have enjoyed using .toolbox however, I have not yet manage to do a lot on it due to finishing college but now that I have lots of free time I hope to complete .toolbox. I have only done one test and manage to complete that with a high score. If you are a developer and want to learn more about design and Silverlight this is very good. If you are a designer this is also good as you can still learn a few things from it.

Here is my avatar from .toolbox I tried to make it look like me but my eyebrows appear to be above my hair.


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