Friday, October 2, 2009

Silverlight... an introduction

Though Silverlight is one of the most talked about softwares nowadays, many people still don’t understand what actually it is. Here is a brief introduction.
Microsoft Silverlight is a web based platform for building and running Rich Interactive Applications (RIAs). It has cross browser and cross platform compatibility. This includes Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Macintosh etc. Lets say you have a Mac OS installed on your PC and you want to view or create Silverlight applications in a Safari web browser, there should be no problems with compatibilities. You can view a compatibility matrix of Silverlight versions here.

Silverlight Applications execute within an Active X browser plug-in that installs onto the local machine via the web browser in exactly the same manner as Adobe Flash is installed to run flash based animations. Silverlight plug-in supports vector based graphics & animations and full video integrations.

Silverlight 1.0 is the first version of the software and it supports Java Script programming model. Javascript is used to interact with silverlight objects executing within the player. It has no managed language support.

Silverlight 2 was released in 2008. It brought the capability to create RIA with the familiar code-behind programming model used in Windows forms, ASP.NET and WPF development. It has provided the option of using any CLR language to code Silverlight applications and the power of the .NET framework to interact with Silverlight objects. This choice of using any .NET language and the ability to use Base Class Libraries (BCL) revolutionized the way developers looked at this platform.

Silverlight 3, released this year on July 9, includes extensive enhancements to Silverlight 2 for building line-of-business applications as well as richer support for graphics and media. It provides Adobe Flash-like and Flex-like RIA with HTML & XAML using tools like Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft Expression Blend. With new UI controls, new libraries and with the inclusion of subset of BCL from the .NET framework, Silverlight 3 adds excitement to rich interactive developments like never before.

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