Microsoft Silverlight 2 Released

Silverlight 2 was finally released to the world today!  Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft made the official announcement today at 9am PDT. This is a significant event as it not only marks a huge milestone for the Microsoft Silverlight Team, but it also marks the date that Flash finally got a true competitor after years of complete domination.  While Silverlight 1.0 was released last year, it was mainly a video only version, with some JavaScript/AJAX support that lacked the true power of .net.  With the release of Silverlight 2, Microsoft has introduced a cross-platform, cross-browser version of the .NET Framework.

I originally spoke about Silverlight in 2007, and since then have spent most of my evening time learning the Expression tools, and focusing on getting Designers and Developers to work together to create beautiful Silverlight applications. Silverlight 2 allows web developers to create applications using any of the programming languages that are available in Visual Studio, including C#, VB.net, JavaScript, IronPython, and IronRuby.

As a Microsoft Expression MVP, people are always asking me to point out cool Silverlight sites. So far it’s been pretty hard to find awesome sites because all the new sites are being built are being built on Silverlight 2 beta which is not yet supported fully by Microsoft. The release of Silverlight 2 will allow many of these applications to launch out of beta, and into production.

How is Silverlight doing?

You have to remember that Silverlight only launched about a year ago.  How is it fairing with market penetration?  In the United States, Silverlight is now running on 30% of the computers. Worldwide, 25% of consumers now have access to Silverlight.  Remember this market penetration was with the mainly Video only version of Silverlight.  Now that Silverlight 2 is here with complete .NET Framework support, expect thousands of applications to pop up, and the install base to grow rapidly.

Microsoft Silverlight Coming to Eclipse

Silverlight on Eclipse Microsoft also announced its plans to support Silverlight development in tools other than Expression Studio and Visual Studio.  In fact, Microsoft will provide funding to an Eclipse Foundation Member, Soyatec, to lead the project to integrate Silverlight development into the Eclipse IDE.  The project will be released under the Eclipse Public License on SourceForge.

The download of Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight “Community Technology Preview” is already available for download from eclipse4sl.org.

Furthermore, Microsoft will release the Silverlight Control Pack (SCP) and publish on MSDN the technical specification for the Silverlight Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) vocabulary.  The pack will include controls such as: DockPanel, ViewBox, TreeView, Accordion and AutoComplete.  With the release of the Silverlight XAML vocabulary, third-party ISV’s will be able to create applications that can read and write XAML for Silverlight very easily.

Some Highlights of Silverlight 2

  • .NET Framework support with a rich base class library. This is a compatible subset of the full .NET Framework.
  • Powerful built-in controls. These include DataGrid, ListBox, Slider, ScrollViewer, Calendar controls and more.
  • Advanced skinning and templating support. This makes it easy to customize the look and feel of an application.
  • Deep zoom. This enables unparalleled interactivity and navigation of ultrahigh resolution imagery.
  • Comprehensive networking support. Out-of-the-box support allows calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS and standard HTTP services, enabling users to create applications that easily integrate with existing back-end systems.
  • Expanded .NET Framework language support. Unlike other runtimes, Silverlight 2 supports a variety of programming languages, including Visual Basic, C#, JavaScript, IronPython and IronRuby, making it easier for developers already familiar with one of these languages to repurpose their existing skill sets.
  • Advanced content protection. This now includes Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, offering robust content protection for connected Silverlight experiences.
  • Improved server scalability and expanded advertiser support. This includes new streaming and progressive download capabilities, superior search engine optimization techniques, and next-generation in-stream advertising support.
  • Vibrant partner ecosystem. Visual Studio Industry Partners such as ComponentOne LLC, Infragistics Inc. and Telerik Inc. are providing products that further enhance developer capabilities when creating Silverlight applications using Visual Studio.
  • Cross-platform and cross-browser support. This includes support for Mac, Windows and Linux in Firefox, Safari and Windows Internet Explorer.

Silverlight 2 will be available for download on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at http://www.silverlight.net. Customers already using a previous version of Silverlight will be automatically upgraded to Silverlight 2.

Read all the details on the release of Silverlight 2 at Microsoft PressPass

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