MIX09: Silverlight 3 looks great in (and out of) the browser

Microsoft Silverlight logoSilverlight 3 arrives in beta form with a huge host of improvements. But what really blows our minds is just how quickly Microsoft has been able to cram this many features into its Flash competitor.

As expected, Silverlight 3 was announced today at MIX09, this year's iteration of Microsoft's annual conference for web developers, designers, and enthusiasts. While the keynote that just finished was full of little announcements that were handed out faster than the audience could swallow them, the one that stood out the most was the third iteration of Microsoft's Flash alternative, Silverlight. Links for the first and last beta of Silverlight 3, and the many development tools surrounding it, went live earlier today.

During the keynote, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform at Microsoft, announced a list of improvements that left me wondering if "the third time's the charm." The new beta is 40KB smaller than Silverlight 2, which is not exactly mind-blowing—until you look at what's inside.

Guthrie threw some numbers at the audience: more than 200 Microsoft products and websites use Silverlight, 10,000 applications globally use it, and there are more than 350 million installs of the runtime to date.

"In the short time since we launched Silverlight and Expression Blend, Microsoft has rapidly introduced new features and functionality that enable customers to deliver outstanding Web sites," Guthrie said, and if you look at the above picture, you can see he wasn't kidding. Silverlight development is one of the fastest-developing projects at Microsoft, with Silverlight 1 being out for only a year before Silverlight 2 was released. Six months afterwards, we're on to the Silverlight 3 beta, and Guthrie says there are thousands of new APIs and hundreds of new features for this version. The really important ones can be broken down into four points:

  • Media: GPU hardware acceleration, new codec support (H.264, AAC, MPEG-4), raw bitstream Audio/Video API, and improved logging for media analytics
  • Graphics: GPU Acceleration and hardware compositing, perspective 3D, bitmap and pixel API, pixel shader effects, and Deep Zoom improvements
  • Application development: Deep linking, navigation and SEO, improved text quality, multi-touch support, 60+ controls available, and library caching support
  • Data: Data-binding improvements, validation error templates, server data push improvements, binary XML networking support, and multi-tier REST data support

From the above feature list (full changelog here), it's not really surprising that Microsoft was boasting about all the companies that are developing rich Internet applications (RIAs) using Silverlight. NBC, for example, is going to be using Silverlight again for their coverage of the next Olympics, which are being hosted in Vancouver next year. This time, though, they'll be streaming at 720p. Silverlight 1 was very much focused on streaming video, whereas version 2 was aimed at RIAs, but version 3 seems to expand on both areas.

In terms of streaming, Microsoft says Silverlight 3 brings "high-definition video in full-screen mode, with stutter-free live and on-demand video" to the table, and it was quite obvious from the demonstrations that it wasn't just talk. Guthrie showed off smooth streaming, which allowed him to start playing an HD video anywhere he chose, instantaneously.

In addition to all these improvements, version 3 now allows developers to create Web applications that can exist outside the browser, like Adobe AIR. How does it work? Open a browser page. Launch the Silverlight application. Close the browser. The Silverlight program lives on.

It's still limited by the security features provided by the browser, and it's still a Silverlight application in the sense that it works exactly the same way on multiple platforms, but it looks the same regardless of where you launch it. Companies can therefore update their applications anytime they want (Internet-connectivity detection and auto-update can be built-in), using one codebase across platforms.

For more information on what this release includes, I strongly recommend the following Channel 9 video embedded below (yes, Silverlight is required) because it is an excellent rundown of all the facts you need to know.

Source: ars technica

Tags: Microsoft

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (16)