Friday, June 22, 2007

Silverlight Done Light

I recently attended a .NET user's group meeting in my area on the subject of Silverlight. I had been to a couple of these meetings before and had been generally disappointed with the quality of the presentations. The Silverlight presentation was no exception.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m really excited about Silverlight. The talk, however, met with the quality expectations I’ve been obliged to adopt with free talks. You just can’t get at any sort of depth in an hour with a na├»ve audience. And people tend not to prepare as well for a talk that they are giving for free.

In any event, I did find a whole bunch of stuff about Silverlight on Channel 9 over the weekend. Specifically, check out the Guthrie video and the screencasts.

  • Silverlight is a 4MB plug-in due out near the end of the year that runs on IE/FF/Safari.
  • Silverlight is a separate run-time that reuses much of what is in the .NET 3.5 runtime. The approximately 20MB .NET redistributable was shrunk to 4MB by cutting platform-specific functionality and ruthlessly removing “convenience” code (e.g. Windows Service control classes and Color.Fuscia, respectively).
  • Since .NET 2.0, Microsoft has been implementing a “platform abstraction layer” that plays a key role in providing a uniform runtime that “just works” on the Mac.
  • Silverlight includes broad support for video playback, including VC-1 (high-def).
  • Silverlight works on mobile devices.
  • Because Silverlight is effectively a subset of .NET, one can use any .NET language to write Silverlight applications. These include, but are not strictly limited to: C#, VB.NET, Python, Ruby, and C++.
  • The Silverlight tools for making creative assets are a new suite of tools called the Expression Studio: including Expression Design (vector and raster graphic asset creation: think Illustrator/Flash), Expression Web (think DreamWeaver/FrontPage), Expression Media (personal desktop organizer for media assets as well as encoding support), and Expression Blend (formerly known as Sparkle and Expression Interactive Designer). Expression Blend works natively with Visual Studio projects and is positioned as the tool for the designer on a development team. Read more at: http://www.microsoft.com/expression/
You can check out some real Silverlight applications here.

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