Silverlight is a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications when online or offline. Silverlight is a free plug-in, powered by the .NET framework and compatible with multiple browsers, devices and operating systems, bringing a new level of interactivity wherever the Web works. Silverlight is also one of the programming models for Windows Phone 7 devices.
Key new features in Silverlight 4 include:
- Set of forms controls with over 60 customizable, style-able components.
- Comprehensive printing support.
- The .NET Common Runtime (CLR) now enables the same compiled code to be run on the desktop and Silverlight without change.
- Enhanced data-binding support, data grouping/editing, and string formatting within bindings.
- Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) supports building large composite applications.
- Silverlight design support in Visual Studio 2010 with drag & drop data-binding, and full IntelliSense.
- Localization enhancements with Bi-Directional text, Right-to-Left support and complex scripts such as Arabic.
What’s New in Silverlight 4
Developing for Windows Phone 7 with Silverlight
Silverlight is a Web application development framework similar to Adobe Flash. Microsoft has just released Silverlight 3, a major update that delivers many new features including:
- Hardware graphics acceleration, which lowers CPU usage and enables 1080p HD video over the Web.
- Support for H.264 video, AAC audio and MPEG-4 content.
- Smooth media streaming over HTTP.
- 3D-perspective support that can be used with graphic elements, videos and controls.
- New bitmap and pixel APIs, and custom effects.
- Out-of-Browser support. Users can safely install Web applications on their computers, create desktop and Start Menu shortcuts.
- New network detection support to switch between online and offline modes.
- Automatic update mechanism for applications.
- Over 100 UI controls with full styling and template customization support.
- Richer data binding features
- A new DataForm control enables better master/detail scenarios.
- SaveFileDialog support.
- New navigation framework that enables deep-linking and forward/back button integration within the browser.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) support so that content within a Silverlight application can be indexed by search engines.
- Better text rendering and font support (a common complaint that resulted in the loss of a major customer).
- Better accessibility support.
- Major updates to Expression Blend and Sketchflow.
Download Silverlight 3
Microsoft Silverlight Home Page
ComponentArt is hosting the 2009 Summer Silverlight Coding Competition. Author of the best application as selected by their expert panel and the community will receive a grand prize of $10,000 USD. Authors of the two runner-up applications will each receive ComponentArt licenses (a $1,299 USD value).
Applicants are not required to use ComponentArt’s products to enter the competition. Community voting opens on July 7, 2009. Expert Panel judging starts at the end of September, so you can continue improving your app until then.
Silverlight Coding Competition
Dealing another significant blow to the Microsoft Silverlight web development platform, the New York Times is abandoning Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Rob Larson from the New York Times writes:
Next week we’ll be introducing Times Reader 2.0. This version is powered by Adobe AIR and will run equally well on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. With this latest release, Times Reader resembles the printed paper even more closely, and it updates every five minutes with the latest news from the Web.
The timing is awkward to say the least, with Microsoft actively promoting its New York Times Silverlight Kit. This toolkit enables developers to use the Times’ APIs with little or no coding, instead using mostly XAML.
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Major League Baseball handed Microsoft some very bad news by reverting back to the Adobe Flash player after just one year with Microsoft’s Silverlight browser plug-in. This season, baseball fans will watch live and on-demand video at MLB.com via the Flash player. MLB.com offers the Web’s most successful subscription service with over 500,000 subscribers.
The trouble started last November when Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) — the league’s technical group — announced it would discontinue using Silverlight after less than a year. The decision has impact far beyond baseball, as MLBAM also handles CBS’ webcasts of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the 2009 Masters golf tournament.
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