Microsoft releases the final Silverlight 4 bits

Microsoft releases the final Silverlight 4 bits

Summary: The release-to-the-web (RTW) version of Silverlight 4 is available for free download, as of April 15, as Microsoft officials said it would be earlier this week.


The release-to-the-web (RTW) version of Silverlight 4 is available for free download, as of April 15, as Microsoft officials said it would be earlier this week.

One important caveat for developers, as acknowledged on the Silverlight download site:

"Visual Studio 2010 can be installed side-by-side with Visual Studio 2008 SP1. For Silverlight 4 development, you will need the released version of Visual Studio 2010. Please read the known issue on installing Visual Studio 2010 if you already have the Silverlight 3 SDK installed."

Silverlight is a browser plug-in that supports multimedia content. It also is a slimmed-down, cross-platform version of Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) programming model. Each successive iteration of Silverlight includes more and more WPF functionality (and vice versa).

Silverlight 4 adds support for data binding, enterprise networking and printing, and lots of other features that are likely to make the platform more appealing to folks writing not just single-function, lightweight Web apps, but enterprise apps, as well. Microsoft's Tim Heuer has links to the full list of Silverlight 4 features on his blog.

Silverlight also is Microsoft's primary development environment for Windows Phone 7 devices, but the current Silverlight  mobile dev platform is a hybrid of Silverlight 3 and Silverlight 4, not pure Silverlight 4. Microsoft officials have said that Silverlight won't be running (as an Internet Explorer plug-in, at least) on the first Windows Phone 7 devices that ship by this holiday season.

It's on to Silverlight 5... and none too early to start suggesting features....

Topics: Microsoft, Software Development


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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  • 64 bit?

    You'd be hard pressed to find a 32 bit Windows operating system in a new computer, but MS won't put out SL64?

    Last I've seen, it's still "something they're thinking about".

    Do you have any other info than that? Microsoft is a bit sketchy on it.
    • why no 64-bit SL

      Hi, Yes, "sketchy" is a good description. MS said earlier this year it had no immediate plans to do 64-bit SL, with claims being made that most users are running 32-bit browsers.

      I guess that's on the SL5 wish list for many... It does seem odd, as you note, that with all the push behind getting users to go 64-bit with Windows, MS is still doing 32-bit with SL... MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Catch 22...

        The 64-bit version of Internet Explorer doesn't do Flash or Silverlight, so every site that uses them, the user has to quit IE 64-bit and go back to the 32-bit version and re-open the site...

        That might give Microsoft a clue as to why most people are still using 32-bit browsers.
      • RE: Microsoft releases the final Silverlight 4 bits

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    • Because most users are running a 32-bit browser ...

      ... until users start needing to shift over to a 64-bit browser, there's little point in building 64-bit add-ons like Flash and SL.
      • Most users are running a 32-bit browser

        <i>because</i> of Flash.

        Some ASLR circumvention techniques work on 32
        bit browsers because of the limited address
        space. An important security such as ASLR would
        be much (much!) more efficient (harder to
        circumvent) on 64 bits.

        So, Microsoft releasing a 32-bit only
        Silverlight client will only make it harder to
        have users switch to a 64 bit browser.

        • Totally with you ...

          ... I would LOVE for Microsoft, Adobe and many others to produce 64-bit versions of their add-ins.

          Alas, this is going to be an eternal chicken and egg discussion until someone tips the scales.

          I hope that MS and Adobe will get their respective acts together and each ship their 64-bit components around the same time so that users will experience less disruption when moving to the 64-bit browser of their choice.

          Of course, this will also mean that Firefox, Chrome and Safari should also plan to do the same.
          • easy, start nagging sites that use the plugins that are not able...

            to run in 64 bit browsers. Enough people does it then flash and the like will start loosing users and will have to do something to prevent loosing too many users. edit for bad punctuation.
        • Yes, I totally agree

          The ONLY reason I use a 32-bit browser is because of the lack of 64-bit Flash and Silverlight.

          It is annoying beyond words that the Silverlight team REFUSES to build a 64-bit version. They are fully aware that people want it, yet continue this absurd claim that they won't do it because "people aren't using 64-bit browsers."

          DUH! They weren't using 64-bit operating systems either, at least until Microsoft made one.
          • Sounds like a good way for Microsoft to capture market share from Adobe nt

      • You don't like security do you....

        64 bit browsers are more secure than 32 bit browsers so why can't we use them. Because there are no plug ins for them.
    • 64bit SL is slower

      According to Joe Stagner at MS this week at DevConnections, there's still A LOT of work to be done getting 64bit SL to be faster than 32bit; in fact, it's quite a bit slower. Keep in mind that SL-4 (32bit) is highly optimized and designed with the smallest runtime (download) size possible. It's not just selected WPF features ported over. Be happy for now that it has multi-threading, unlike the competition. :-)
  • No FOSS trolls yet?

    Let's see how soon the usual naysayers jump out their woodwork.
    • Well this is comming from a windows user....

      Linux is better it is just not supported by much software. The only reason to use windows. No I don't use Linux but only because i don't like to reboot for everything.
      • I disagree, for 95% of what I do I could use Linux

        but I run into stability problems and trouble
        getting things to just work right. This of course
        could just be due to my ignorance of the OS, but
        that doesn't really matter. I don't have stability
        problems, and things just work in Windows. I love
        linux (I do dual boot) but it still need a lot of
        spit and polish before I would call it "better"
        for what I do.
  • So, with Silverlight 4 out of the way...

    Will Microsoft be working solely on getting Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools compatible with Visual C# 2010 Express Edition? What about XNA Game Studio 4.0? It is in <a href=>CTP</a> right now. I haven't test the compatibility with Visual C# 2010 Express Edition, though.

    Microsoft does not have to rush. I can wait.
    Grayson Peddie
    • Different teams

      The Silverlight team do not build XNA and Visual Studio team does not build Silverlight and XNA either. These are 3 separate teams on different trajectories.

      The WinPhone7 team is responsible for building their extensions to VS and are preparing their next release which they've already stated will be compatible with the VS 2010 RTM release.

      Same for XNA.
      • Yes, yes I know...

        But I really can't wait for Windows Phone Developer Tools for VS2010.

        Maybe I just asked the wrong question, but my question is directed at Microsoft as a whole.
        Grayson Peddie
        • The WinPhone7 tools are currently not even a beta

          They're in "technology preview" which is pre-beta. It was made clear when you installed it that this was a pre-beta release and that things are likely to change considerably before the beta(s) (and then RTM) arrive.

          Patience young Jedi, the team are working their nuts off right now to complete the next release. Won't be long now ;)