Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

Summary: While Silverlight didn't get the leading role in either the day one or day two Mix '11 keynotes (much to the chagrin of some developers), there was some Silverlight news at the Microsoft developer/designer conference.

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While Silverlight didn't get the leading role in either the day one or day two Mix '11 keynotes (much to the chagrin of some developers), there was some Silverlight news at the Microsoft developer/designer conference.

Microsoft is making available a public beta of its Silverlight 5 development tool/runtime, as of April 13. The beta will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight.

In December, Microsoft officials outlined some of the 40 new features the company planned to deliver with Silverlight 5, the final version of which is due out before the end of calendar 2011. The bulk of those features are focused around making Silverlight a development platform for rich media and business applications.

At Mix, Corporate Vice President of .Net Scott Guthrie's comment "Let's switch gears now and talk about Silverlight for the browser," got huge applause from the Mix '11 keynote attendees. (Microsoft officials said this fall, the company’s cross-platform runtime play is morphing, with HTML5 being the new way the Redmondians plan to tackle the cross-platform challenge, going forward -- a positioning statement that left many Silverlight developers feeling abandoned.)

Microsoft execs detailed on April 13 more of the features coming with Silverlight 5. Among those features:

  • Reduced network latency by using a background thread for networking.
  • XAML parser improvements that speed up startup and runtime performance.
  • Support for 64-bit operating systems
  • The ability to do some of the “trusted” features in Silverlight in the browser

The full list of Silverlight 5 features is here.

A number of these features are not in the beta, but which are still on tap for Silverlight 5, according to Microsoft, including vector printing, power awareness for things like full-screen apps, fluid user-interface transitions and 64-bit support for the plug-in, among others.

Microsoft execs also said at Mix '11 that full Silverlight 4 support is coming to the Windows Phone 7 platform with the Mango update coming this fall. Microsoft execs also demonstrated Silverlight and XNA melded together, allowing developers in the Mango timeframe to use a combination of the two tools when writing a single app.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Processors, 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 touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

    I can understand that developers are disappointed that Silverlight is being "de-emphasised" as a cross-platform play. It's wonderfully powerful and productive platform when compared to HTML 5.<br><br>But I think there's logic to this. Microsoft has always been a PLATFORM company, that's always been their core. They want to enter the mobile phone, tablet, App Store, and IP TV spaces, and improve the programming model on Xbox. These are not "cross platform" scenarios, but highly profitable "single platform" scenarios. I imagine that Microsoft, in their right mind, would want to build their future single platform ecosystem around the very technologies that Silverlight is based on, namely C# and XAML. The future is touch based, gesture based, with high powered graphics and support for devices such as camera, mic, memory cards, etc. Forrester have called this new model "App Internet" (see <a href="http://hopschwiiz.blogspot.com/2011/02/cloud-computing-is-dead-get-ready-for.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Get ready for "App Internet"</a>). Not something that can be handled with a "cross platform" technology like HTML. <br><br>Of course we all want better cross platform tools, but Microsoft correctly sees that they can't force Apple to support Silverlight on IPhone and IPad. But also Microsoft also sees the writing on the wall and (I hope) will be keen on creating a new single platform ecosystem based on their superb development tools & technologies.<br><br>Let's just hope that Microsoft doesn't hobble their wonderful development platforms with poorly designed user interfaces - they should urgently adopt Apple's company culture in this area.
    Ralph Purtscher-Wydenbruck
    • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

      @Ralph Purtscher-Wydenbruck

      Plausable. But if we follow that train of thought, maybe we should force all developers to program in Javascript, or maybe C++? Do we really need to choose one?

      With iOS platforms, you can choose beween HTML and Objective C. Haven't heard of lot of people complaining about it. Maybe the idea is really about replacing Siverlight with a native/C++ solution? I think people will welcome the new option part, but not killing off the existing option part.
      happy mark
      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

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      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

        The best thing they could do in your vision is invest their remaining resources in the next thing Microsoft will deprecate. There's a certain logic to that, but it's not working in your favor. <a href="http://www.olwauniversity.com/">Online University</a>
        Shamrock12
      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

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        jamesalan85
    • Well that's a nice spin

      @Ralph Purtscher-Wydenbruck

      All the folk who spent the time, money and energy to invest in Silverlight skillsets, toolchains and certifications now find them deprecated. But at least you "understand", so it's now OK that they wasted all that potential.

      The best thing they could do in your vision is invest their remaining resources in the next thing Microsoft will deprecate. There's a certain logic to that, but it's not working in your favor.
      symbolset
  • Message has been deleted.

    fanbaby
    • Message has been deleted.

      Will Farrell
  • HTML5 Vs SL

    "HTML5 being the new way the Redmondians plan to tackle the cross-platform challenge"

    Don't get it. Can you pull data from SQL or Web Service, or the other way around? If you can't how do you call that a platform? Or are we talking about Javascript(AJAX), but how does to do with HTML5?

    Anybody, please explain this.
    jk_10
    • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

      @jk_10 yes I also ask the same question. As we know we can pull data from mysql by php command, but how it will be with html5?
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      jamesalan85
  • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

    Silverlight is not cross-platform. I'm using Ubuntu Linux, and Netflix is still not accessible. <br><br><del>Stick Silverlight in the toilet and flush it.</del>
    rwillhoite
    • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

      @rwillhoite
      Hear Hear. I still can't use netflix on my EVO 4G and Atrix 4G (Linux) phones but can easily access it on my iPhone and WP7. So shall we shove those two Linux based Android phones in the toilet and flush. Get over your gripes and accept your just linux wannbe and troll.
      Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

        @Rama.NET <br>Okay. I admit I came across a bit too harsh. Silverlight is a good technology. I just wish it were truly cross-platform like Flash. <br><br>As for Linux, the IT admin at my church calls me the Linux evangelist. So I do tend to be too trollish at times. I don't think of myself as a Linux wannabe. I have a computer repair business and use Linux all the time.
        rwillhoite
      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

        @rwillhoite: From the <a href="http://www.go-mono.com/moonlight/faq.aspx">Moonlight FAQ</a>: "While Moonlight supports all of the UI and media playback infrastructure, it lacks DRM support which Netflix requires"

        Unsurprisingly, Netflix uses DRM to protect streaming media from theft. The Linux community pretty much reject DRM in all its forms. Thus, Moonlight is not endowed with the DRM necessary to play media content streamed from Netflix.

        There are rumblings that a true H.264 implementation for Linux is underway, but I wouldn't hold your breath for it.

        You choose an "open platform" and find you're excluded from an expansive, but walled garden erected to exclude those for whom intellectual property rights are ignored and abused. Go figure.
        bitcrazed
    • That's right, Silverlight and .net are both has beens

      @rwillhoite
      because they don't work on Linux, so are going downhill VERY quickly.
      Will Farrell
      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

        @Will Farrell
        I ALSO have a computer repair business. After seeing the constant infections, instability and unpredictability of Windows as well as the less than obvious way to network Windows 7 and XP machines, I have had it with Windows. To be fair, Windows 7 is better than XP. Vista is a disaster. The DVD on a client's machine disappears for weeks and then comes back unpredictably. Even Microsoft couldn't fix it.
        bobp@...
      • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

        @Will Farrell <b><i>"The DVD on a client's machine disappears for weeks and then comes back unpredictably"</i></b>

        $50 says it's a hardware issue and nothing to do with the OS or the software installed upon it.

        I'll grant you that XP in the hands of a standard PC user was an utter nightmare. But those days are (thankfully) on the wane now and users running WIn7 are FAR less prone to malware than ever before.

        But make no mistake: If users like my parents and grandparents start using Linux en-masse then you'll start to see waves of Linux malware burst forth.

        Most users just don't understand how to recognize malware, spam, phishing, etc. attacks and will quite happily install anything they're asked to install in order to play that game, watch that movie, etc.
        bitcrazed
    • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

      @rwillhoite
      Agreed on Silverlight. I would like to avoid Windows altogether, but a stock charting program I use requires Silverlight. Even though the stock program is in a browser, it still requires Silverlight. Moonlight, the attempted substitute for Linux, won't work with it so I have to keep using Windows on at least one machine.
      bobp@...
    • RE: Microsoft touts coming Silverlight features and platform support

      @rwillhoite

      Don't you suppose that if Netflix thought Linux mattered for their market, they'd find a way? If it really mattered they could sponsor Moonlight and help speed up the process of getting the APIs onto Linux.

      That is, if Linux mattered for a consumer desktop product.
      epobirs
      • ORLY?

        @epobirs I suppose you don't know that Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix, sits on Microsoft's Board of Directors.

        That have something to do with how well they serve Linux and Android.
        symbolset