Microsoft released Silverlight 2, a new version of its solution for creation and delivery of Rich Internet Applications (RIA's) through a Web browser.
Silverlight 2 -- presented under the motto of creating “next-generation Web experiences” -- comes packed with a variety of new features and tools that enable designers and developers to better collaborate while creating more accessible and more secure user experiences.
This release is designed to further Microsoft’s efforts to make Silverlight, Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Studio the preeminent solutions for the creation and delivery of Rich Internet Applications and streaming media.
Silverlight Features for “Next-Generation Web Experiences”
Highlights of new Silverlight 2 features include:
* .NET framework support with a rich base class library; this is a compatible subset of the full .NET Framework.
* Built-in controls, including DataGrid, ListBox, Slider, ScrollViewer, Calendar controls and more.
* Skinning and templating support to make it easier to customize the look and feel of an application.
* Deep zoom to enable interactivity and navigation of ultrahigh resolution imagery.
* Networking support allows calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS and standard HTTP services.
* Advanced content protection: Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, offers robust content protection.
* Improved server scalability and expanded advertiser support: This includes new streaming and progressive download capabilities, search engine optimization techniques, and in-stream advertising support.
* Partner ecosystem: Visual Studio Industry Partners are providing products that further enhance developer capabilities when creating Silverlight applications in Visual Studio.
* Cross-platform and cross-browser support, including Mac, Windows and Linux in Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
Openness and Interoperability
Microsoft also announced further support of open source communities by funding advanced Silverlight development capabilities with the Eclipse Foundation’s integrated development environment (IDE) and by providing new controls to developers with the Silverlight Control Pack (SCP) under the Microsoft Permissive License.
Microsoft funded Soyatec, a France-based IT solutions provider and Eclipse Foundation member, to lead the integration of advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the Eclipse IDE. A technology preview of the Soyatec project is available at http://www.eclipse4sl.org. A complete version should be available in second half of 2009.
Soyatec plans to release the project under the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 on SourceForge and submit it to the Eclipse Foundation as an open Eclipse project.
Microsoft also plans to release the Silverlight Control Pack (SCP) and publish on MSDN the technical specification for the Silverlight Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) vocabulary. The SCP will be released under the Microsoft Permissive License, an Open Source Initiative-approved license.
The Silverlight XAML vocabulary specification, released under the Open Specification Promise (OSP), will better enable third-party ISVs to create products that can read and write XAML for Silverlight.
Silverlight developers could certainly use all these initiatives to advance their learning of how advanced controls are authored – in Visual Studio 2008, Expression Studio 2 or Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, which are all supported with Silverlight integrations.
Silverlight is Going Strong
“We launched Silverlight just over a year ago, and already one in four consumers worldwide has access to a computer with Silverlight already installed,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft.
Silverlight adoption is growing rapidly, with penetration in some countries approaching 50%, according to Microsoft. The 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing were covered by many media companies, including NBCOlympics.com – the site powered by Silverlight – that received more than 50 million unique visitors, resulting in 1.3 billion page views, 70 million video streams and 600 million minutes of video watched.
The sheer popularity of the Olympic Games accounts in part for such impressive traffic numbers. But Silverlight certainly helped to deliver such a rich user experience.
Broadcasters in France (France Televisions SA), the Netherlands (NOS), Russia (Sportbox.ru) and Italy (RAI) also chose Silverlight to deliver Olympics coverage online.
Microsoft reports that many other organizations, such as CBS College Sports and Blockbuster Inc., are using Silverlight to build their next great offerings.
Want to try Silverlight 2? It is available for download here. Customers using a previous version of Silverlight will be upgraded automatically.