Microsoft Launches Silverlight 2

October 13th, 2008 at 12:00 am

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Microsoft unveils and launches a new version of their web application platform Silverlight.  Silverlight is a internet application development environment where developers can create media-rich web applications that are viewable both in and out of the browser.  Silverlight 2 delivers a wide range of new features and tools that enable designers and developers to better collaborate while creating more accessible, more discoverable and more secure user experiences.

In other words Silverlight is Microsoft’s answer to Adobe AIR, a similar development environment from the makers of Flash.  The launch of Silverlight 2 is an attempt to gain some foothold in the battle for supremacy against Adobe AIR.

According to Microsoft, Silverlight is now at 25% penetration worldwide.  However again, this is mainly because Silverlight comes preinstalled on the Windows Operating  System along with Internet Explorer.  Also, in a unlikely Microsoft move, they’ve made Silverlight more open than usual. 

“The Silverlight Control Pack under the Microsoft Permissive License really addresses the needs of developers by enabling them to learn how advanced controls are authored directly from the high-quality Microsoft implementation,” said Miguel de Icaza, vice president, Engineering, Novell. “By using the OSP for the Silverlight vocabulary, they further solidify their commitment to interoperability. I am impressed with the progress Microsoft continues to make, and we are extremely satisfied with the support for Moonlight and the open source community.”

Here are some of the new features on Silverlight 2 according to the Microsoft Press Release.

  •  .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.