Silverlight Brightens

I took 2.5 hours out of my day to view the opening keynote from Microsoft’s Mix07 which focuses on Silverlight. It was a good investment and proved to be a series of new announcements building on the Flash-like Silverlight we were shown a couple of weeks ago at the NAB conference. Now we see that Silverlight is very, very much more than a Flash replacement. As well as the WPF XAML support for rich media such as animation, audio and video, the main additional goodies are:

  • .NET runtime that allows any .NET language, C# for example, to run in the browser (IE, Firefox on Windows, and Safari, Firefox on the Mac) at up to 1,000 times faster than Javascript
  • Silverlight Storage Service which allows up to 4 GB of free online storage managed by Microsoft for Silverlight web applications
  • Full Silverlight support in Visual Studio ‘Orcas’ and the new Expression Blend 2 (free ‘beta’ releases)
  • Remote debugging of Silverlight code on the Mac
  • Dynamic language runtime library for .NET built in to Silverlight to support IronPython, ‘dynamic’ VB and the newly-annouced IronRuby.NET
  • Temporary browser storage cache to support offline operation

The Silverlight 1.1 alpha runtime that supports all of this is about 4 MB, and like the Flash player is downloaded and installed once on first activation. Scott Guthrie the head of Microsoft developer tools claims this is an automatic 20-second process that requires no user interaction. He also indicates that the full release during the northern summer will reduce the size of this runtime somewhat. The ability to run C# on the Mac OS takes .NET to a new level.

This is the dawn of a new era in web applications. See http://www.silverlight.net for all the details and downloads.

Published with Word 2007.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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