What is Silverlight?
Silverlight enables development of the next generation of Microsoft .NET-based media experiences and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web. Silverlight is delivered as a cross-platform and cross-browser plug-in that exposes a programming framework and features that are a subset of the .NET Framework and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).
Silverlight is a new cross-browser, cross-platform implementation of the .NET Framework for building and delivering the next generation of media experiences and Rich Interactive Applications(RIA) for the web. It runs in all popular browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera. The plugin required to run Silverlight is very small in size hence gets installed very quickly.
Silverlight aims to compete with Adobe Flash and the presentation components of Ajax. It also competes with Sun Microsystems’ JavaFX, which was launched a few days after Silverlight.
Unlike ASP.NET, the bulk of Silverlight processing occurs on the client machine thus decreasing server resource utilization and improving the Web experience on the client. The figure below shows the difference between ASP.NET processing and Silverlight processing:
When a client initially attempts to run a Silverlight application, if the Silverlight plug-in has not been installed on the client machine, it will be downloaded and installed. Upon subsequent requests to run the application, the application will instantiate on the client machine and make requests for resources from the server only when necessary. The Silverlight plug-in can be thought of as a scaled-down version of the full .NET Framework. It only contains those classes and functionality that are applicable to a Silverlight Web client and those were streamlined and optimized for use on the Web client machine.
Silverlight was designed using the same design paradigm as ASP.NET. Each page of a Silverlight application includes an associated code behind file that includes the code that handles events fired by the page. Silverlight resembles WPF in that it uses Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) to construct the user interface (presentation layer). As Silverlight applications are composed of text-based files that include markup and code, they can be created using any text editor; however, more advanced tools and development environments such as Visual Studio or Expression Blend simplify the task significantly.
- Highest Quality Video Experience : prepare to see some of the best quality videos you have seen in your life, all embedded in highly graphical websites. The same research and technology that was used for VC-1, the codec that powers BluRay and HD DVD, is used by Microsoft today with its streaming media technologies.
- Cross-Platform, Cross-Browser : Finally build web applications that work on any browser, and on any operating system. At release, Silverlight will work with Mac as well as Windows! The Mono project has also already promised support for Linux!.
- Developers and Graphic Designers can play together! : Developers familiar with Visual Studio, Microsoft.net will be able to develop amazing Silverlight applications very quickly, and they will work on Mac’s and Windows. Developers will finally be able to strictly focus on the back end of the application core, while leaving the visuals to the Graphic Design team using the power of XAML.
- Cheaper : Silverlight is now the most inexpensive way to stream video files over the internet at the best quality possible. Licensing is dead simple, all you need is IIS in Windows Server, and you’re done.
- Support for 3rd Party Languages : Using the power of the new Dynamic Language Runtime, developers will now be able to use Ruby, Python, and EcmaScript! This means a Ruby developer can develop Silverlight applications, and leverage the .net Framework!
- Cross-Platform, Cross-Browser Remote Debugging : If you are in the need to debug an application running on a Mac, no problem! You can now set breakpoints, step into/over code, have immediate windows, and all that other good stuff that Visual Studio provides.
- The best development environment on the planet : Visual Studio is an award winning development platform! As it continues to constantly evolve, so will Silverlight!
- Silverlight offers copy protection : Have you noticed how easy it is to download YouTube videos to your computer, and save them for later viewing ? Silverlight will finally have the features enabling content providers complete control over their rich media content! Streaming television, new indie broadcast stations, all will now be possible!
- Extreme Speed :There is a dramatic improvement in speed for AJAX-enabled websites that begin to use Silverlight, leveraging the Microsoft .net framework.
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