Microsoft's fourth-generation answer to Adobe Flash, Silverlight 4, was released overnight at the software giant's 2009 Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.
Head of Microsoft's developer division Scott Guthrie showed off the latest features available in Silverlight 4, including a barcode reading tool, which is underpinned by an open source project called Code project.
Guthrie also unveiled "IIS smooth streaming", which allows Silverlight to adjust the bitrate that data flows to the various devices depending on various network conditions.
Guthrie noted that Apple did not yet support Silverlight, however; Microsoft itself has bowed to the popularity of Apple's iPhone. Silverlight 4 offers an automated encoding feature to enable streaming to the popular device. Though Guthrie's attempt to show off this feature was thwarted by the Los Angeles Convention Centre's network. In total, four attempts failed. "Can someone kick the router?" asked Guthrie.
Silverlight 4 addresses many of the complaints developers had aired to Microsoft over Silverlight 3, which was only released four months ago. The final release of 4 will be available in the first half of next year, Guthrie said.
Showing off a new graphic editing feature that extends Silverlight's HTML support, Guthrie "rickrolled" delegates with a YouTube clip of 80's pop star Rick Astley, singing Never gonna give you up. With the click of a button the image was transformed into jigsaw puzzle pieces, which retained the clip in pieces but still in-motion.
Less exciting, but useful additions to Silverlight 4 also included full support for Microsoft Visual Studio, as well as drag-and-drop functionality with Microsoft Office's Word. The new feature smooths out text editing for web applications.
Liam Tung travelled to the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles as a guest of Microsoft.