Microsoft is nearing the finish line with the 2.0 releases of both the Windows and Mac OS X versions of its Silverlight competitor to Adobe Flash.
Late last week, Microsoft released the first public Release Candidate (RC) test builds of Silverlight 2.0 for Windows and Mac OS X. The new RC 0 build is not designed for end users; it is aimed specifically at developers. As explained on the official Silverlight site:
"Silverlight 2 Release Candidate 0 (Silverlight 2 RC0) is now available to developers for testing purposes and to help prepare your Silverlight 2 Beta 2 applications for the release of Silverlight 2."
I'm hearing that Microsoft is shooting to release to the Web the final Windows and Mac versions of Silverlight 2.0 around the first week or so of October. Microsoft had been shooting to deliver the final Silverlight 2.0 release this past summer, according to a Microsoft blogger who published the internal Silverlight timetable to his blog.
The Softies aren't commenting on the final release date, beyond Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie's blogged comment that the final release is "not that far off now." More from Guthrie's September 25 post:
"If you have existing (Silverlight) Beta2 applications, please start getting them ready for the final release - as once we release Silverlight 2, users that have existing beta releases installed will automatically be upgraded to use the final version. Testing your application out with the release candidate will ensure that you can easily update your applications and have them ready within hours of the final release."
Microsoft officials have said MIcrosoft planned to support a variety of operating systems and browsers with Silverlight. The company released the Beta 2 version of Silverlight 2 for the Mac in June. Microsoft has given Novell its blessing (and some help) on the Silverlight port to Linux, codenamed "Moonlight." The first public test build of Moonlight (the Silverlight 1.0 port) was released in May 2008. The version of Moonlight supporting Silverlight 2.0 is in "pre-alpha" at this point.
Still no official word on when Microsoft will release a test version of Silverlight for Windows Mobile.... I bet we'll hear more on that at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in late October. Microsoft has said the first release of Silverlight for Mobile will be based on the Silverlight 1.0 release.
Update: Microsoft is holding sessions at PDC on porting Silverlight 2.0 apps to Windows Mobile, one reader notes. From the PDC session list:
"In this demo-filled session learn how to extend your existing Silverlight 2 applications to work on Windows Mobile and how to build rich mobile Silverlight apps that access device peripherals such as camera; GPS or WiFi or the radio stack for location; as well as mobile web services. We also talk about tooling enhancements in Microsoft Visual Studio that support Silverlight app development on Windows Mobile, what to consider when delivering eye-popping UI on mobile, and help you understand the key differences from developing Silverlight apps for the desktop."
I'm also curious what Microsoft will/won't say at the PDC about how Silverlight jibes with Live Mesh, the company's synchronization platform/service. As Softie Scott Hanselman has noted, there does seem to be some connection between the two technologies. When I asked Microsoft for comment, I got back this statement from a company spokesperson:
"The Live Mesh tech preview and the Live Platform are designed to connect users with their applications, data and people from any device. Silverlight is a very effective way to bring common experiences to multiple devices/platforms (including in our own Live Desktop experience.) In the near future, we'll have more to say about how 3rd parties can build Silverlight-based applications for the Live Platform."
Anyone been kicking the Silverlight 2.0 tires? What do/don't you like?