Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

Summary: According to an April 4 post on the Silverlight Team Blog, Microsoft will be making a beta of Silverlight 5 available the week of April 11, concurrent with the Mix '11 conference.

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According to an April 4 post on the Silverlight Team Blog, Microsoft will be making a beta of Silverlight 5 available the week of April 11, concurrent with the Mix '11 conference.

The timing was widely expected, given that Microsoft officials said in December 2010 that the company planned to release a Silverlight 5 beta in the second calendar quarter of 2011. The final version of Silverlight 5 is due before the end of calendar 2011.

In December, Microsoft execs said Silverlight 5 would include 40 new features, the bulk of which are focused around making Silverlight a development platform for rich media and business applications.

The April 4 blog post -- signed by Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie, Corporate VP Walid Abu-Habdha and Senior Vice President Soma Somasegar -- also notes that Microsoft plans to share more about its HTML5 tooling strategy in the near-term. From the post:

"While we have emphasized the role of HTML5 as the foundation of the recently released Internet Explorer 9 and have shown an unprecedented commitment to being leaders in HTML5 browsers, we have probably not emphasized enough the tooling for HTML5. We're going to emphasize that much more going forward as the clarity of feedback and the emphasis our customers want us to place on these tools for the professional toolbox is clear. It would be fair to say to the degree we did not emphasize the above we made up for it in our emphasis in Silverlight as a runtime (and by extension XAML)."

The recently announced Expression Web Studio 4 Service Pack 1 and Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 both include some additional HTML5 support. But it sounds like there will be even more HTML5 tooling coming from Microsoft, from what I've heard.

The rest of the Silverlight Team Blog post restates (yet again) Microsoft's latest positioning around HTML5 and Silverlight. The post authors said that Microsoft isn't favoring one technology over another and that there is room for both. Because the authors are affiliated with Microsoft's Developer Division (the Silverlight champions), not Windows Client (the HTML5 champions), the understandable emphasis in the post is on the future of "plug ins" (i.e., Silverlight as a browser plug-in). From the post:

"Today, plug-ins and standards play complementary roles, and as a practical matter there is no single technology to satisfy all the needs demanded by client development. While much has been written about a diminishing gap between the capabilities of HTML5 and capabilities provided by plug-ins, plug-ins will continue to evolve and so there will likely be a gap of some degree, and it will cyclically contract and expand. Contraction occurs as the standard specification 'catches up' with the plug-in technologies, and then expands again as the next wave of innovation pushes the boundary further forward."

I'll be interested to see how much of the "Silverlight vs. HTML5" positioning wars inside Microsoft actually make it into the Mix sessions and keynotes next week. One session that should be fun and interesting is Vertigo CEO Scott Stanfield's "HTML5 for Skeptics."

Topics: Microsoft, Software Development

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

    This whole "HTML5 vs. Silverlight" thing is pretty ridiculous.

    What I want to know is what's going on with WPF? Silverlight is already a top tier method for developing Windows Phone apps. Rumor has it that Silverlight is moving to the xBox and that it will be the basis for the Windows 8 app store as well. Where is WPF in all of this?
    Rich Miles
    • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

      @Rich Miles

      WPF is being leap-frogged by Silverlight, initially by MS creating a Silverlight control which can be embedded in WPF apps (so there's no need for server round tripping). Incidentally, I wouldn't expect to see a Silverlight control for WinForms. Instead, MS are going to force WPF down the necks of WinForms developers so you have to iterate twice.
      rmac_z
    • WPF and Silverlight will eventually merge

      @Rich Miles

      At this point in time the gap is narrowing. WPF still has more advanced 3D features, but SL is leading in other areas, such as event model. The two will eventually merge. The difference will become some minute (because SL is catching up) that MS will have a hard time justifying WPF just for high-end desktop specific apps.
      honeymonster
    • WPF is not going away... it's being

      @Rich Miles : Microsoft and the MSDN crowd (Developer Division) have a tendency to move things forward and then scale back when the market does not respond to them.<br><br>WPF is such a case. Being so heavily typecasted as a Vista development tool, MS had no choice but the "re-purpose" it, meaning they don't kill it, but they don't maintain it, just like what happened with <a href="http://blogs.eweek.com/devlife/content/data_access/linq_to_sqls_future.html">Linq2Sql</a>.<br><br>So, with that said, you can still develop in WPF but no new features are going to be added to it.<br><br>On the other hand, in Windows 8, everything "Metroy" or "Moshy" will look and smell like SL, be it Silverlight for Windows Embedded (C++), Silverlight for Immersive Shell (AppX) or Silverlight for Immersive Browser (Web).<br><br>Am sure those will be inside the "Windows App Store" and Microsoft will push for Win32, WinForms and WPF to be delivered only by the old way (msi installers), maybe even preventing them from working on anything akin to a tablet to avoid spoiling the "immersive" interface.
      cosuna
  • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

    Questions:
    1. Does Silverlight 5 mean more features for Windows Phone?
    2. Would it be possible to have Silverlight "save as" HTML5 instead of a Silverlight binary? I realize there may be some lost features, but this seems like the best case alternative.
    frankwick
    • Cannot save a Porsche 911 in a Dodge Neon

      Not exactly the best analogy but you've got the picture. HTML5 is all empty talking at best. You cannot build anything fantastically interactive with it.
      LBiege
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        LBiege "HTML5 is all empty.....",

        I have a hunch you also think IE9 was a mistake and wants your beloved IE8 back.
        fanbaby
  • Why I hated MS's actions RE silvelight, but don't care now

    First: Silverlight might be the best, easiest technology since ever, my rant isn't about this tech. Its about corporations and people.
    What made me angry was Microsoft actions. Before 2010 (IE9) it didn't care much for open standards. It pushed SL as kinda solve-all. It especially sold it as Flash killer (to this date SL fans insist of saying Flash/Silverlight). MS's line was: SL is supported on 99% of the world. Meaning Win and Macs. Fans bought this wholeheartedly and repeated this foolish lie, saying SL is cross-platform.
    To make this long comment short, MS drones- ahm - developers, cared nothing about creating open solutions and shoved SL into public facing sites. :-(
    Anyway today i don't care. SL as flash-killer bombed. :-)
    fanbaby
    • Oh? so IE8 was not about standards

      @fanbaby

      Even IE7 improved standards support. IE8 went a lot further, even to the point where MS did something they've never done before: broke backwards compatibility. Remember the "broken page" icon?

      At the time of launch, IE6 was *much* more standards compliant than *any* other browser out there. Really. Firefox wasn't there. It was built later on the left-overs from Netscape which lost be browser wars because they believed that they could make their *own* standards. a "layer" tag, anyone?

      Microsofts crime was to neglect the browser once they believed they had locked the market up. But saying that MS didn't care for web standards smells of hindsight. Yes, they lagged and dragged their feets, intentionally. But once they started with IE7 and IE8 they clearly moved in the right direction.
      honeymonster
  • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

    ?While we have emphasized the role of HTML5 as the foundation of the recently released Internet Explorer 9 and have shown an unprecedented commitment to being leaders in HTML5 browsers, we have probably not emphasized enough the tooling for HTML5."

    MEANING:

    "oops, we were caught with our pants down, we didn't think people would care much for open-standards. Strange, the usual plan didn't work and for, and for the first time, no-one fell for SL. So now we love openness, please bare with us while we change course, and in the meantime have you seen how fast IE9 is?"

    MS was dragged into HTML5 while the rest of the industry led the way.

    PATHETIC (unless all you know is to how use VS2010)
    fanbaby
    • Whatever, fanbaby

      @fanbaby
      Saying it doesn't make it true.
      Will Farrell
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        @Will Farrell <br><br>You have way too much emotional stock invested in M$.
        Return_of_the_jedi
      • Return_of_the_jedi

        @Return_of_the_jedi
        You have way too much emotional stock invested in anti-MS.

        Get a grip and grow up a bit.
        Will Farrell
    • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

      @fanbaby

      There is an element of truth in that but what MS says about the gap between plugins and standards contracting and expanding over time is also true. The main advantage of Silverlight as I see it is that MS can develop it such that Silverlight web apps running in IE on a Windows machine can hook into the operating system and leverage local resources more efficiently than a pure HTML5 app. Obviously this wouldn't be suitable for consumers due to variations in OS and browser choice, but it could be very beneficial for line of business applications.
      OffsideInVancouver
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        OffsideInVancouver,<br>As long as you don't advocate shoving SL into public-facing sites (as some st---id devs did in some poor countries) I'm with ya. <br><br>As far as LOB apps, you can mire your clients as much as you want in SL, it's none of my business. I just feel sorry for your clients, that you pushed them there because you only know VS2010. Again it's none of my business.
        fanbaby
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        @Fanbaby

        I'm not a developer, I don't sell LOB apps, I have no vested interest in SL, Flash or HTML5 :)

        My point is simply that with a browser, OS and application framework / runtime all made by the same company there is potential for them to work together much better than offerings from seperate companies (cue open standards debate, but that's another thread). This is no different to tools from the e.g. CA or BMC suite of products working better together.

        As we and MS agree, it won't work on public facing sites or anything cross platform, but where you can guarantee homogenity across your userbase the potential is there for you to be able to do more than you would with HTML5.
        OffsideInVancouver
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        @OffsideInVancouver

        You know that SL work on OS X and work in other browsers besides IE. SL 5 functions suppose to be in moonlight for linux OS's.
        stm24
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        "You know that SL work on OS X and work in other browsers besides IE. SL 5 functions suppose to be in moonlight for linux OS's."
        stm24

        You are repeating yesterday's marketing from MS. Today's message from MS is: SL as a flash killer is dead. It's not cross-platform enough (actually, i think it was never). Try to get a refund from MS for all your time and effort.
        fanbaby
      • Choice limiting

        @OffsideInVancouver SL doesn't work on ipads. IE 9 doesn't work on XP. Those choices limit the set of committed customers a small subset.
        symbolset
      • RE: Microsoft confirms Silverlight 5 beta to ship in mid-April

        @symbolset
        "SL doesn't work on ipads"

        LOL, and whose fault is that? Maybe you should ask yourself who is blocking access to the iPad. Talk about being confused about who to blame...
        Qbt