Big Screen Blog

Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Microsoft SilverLight (fka WPF/E)

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Microsoft have just released the Feb2007 CTP of WPF/E and given it a whole new brandname – ‘SilverLight‘. Tim Sneath has a pretty good summary of what it’s all about – and to quote Tim – SilverLight is the "next-generation, cross-platform, cross-browser web client runtime".

Ok so think Flash – but with loose XAML, javascript and some AJAX like integration.  The Silverlight (once off) Installer weighs in at just 1mb – and will initally target Windows (Vista, XP, 2003, 2000) and Mac O/S. There’s a few other bits beside WPF/E too that are part of the SilverLight family – such as a new Video Encoder addin to Expression Media.

I’ve had a bit of a play with the new samples (SDK, Runtime) – and I’m really impressed with how fast/slick it is – with the almost instant initialization (no more long ClickOnce installs) – and its runtime performance. It’s almost like the WPF core bits weren’t used – as I’ve not seen WPF perform this well before. One really impressive sample shows how well it works with Video playback (and will incidentally bring WMV playback to Mac O/S) – and the speed at which you can jump in and out of fullscreen mode is remarkable (whilst still retaining your playback position). This also positions Silverlight to work as a nice alternative to the flash based players you currently see on youtube/soapbox.

It’s also been announced that the final release of Expression Blend (WPF/XAML Design Tool) will support SilverLight – well that is, at least in terms of working with your XAML. The possible hole however, is that you need to integrate it with javascript to really make it tick (or alternatively some serverside ASP.NET) – and since Blend doesn’t support it – you will be jumping in and out of other packages (like Notepad, Dreamweaver, Expression Web, Visual Studio etc) while working on a single page. This is the same problem that exists with working with WPF and Managed .NET in Blend – and gives you a clunky disconnected experience. (along with the lack of Intellisense in Blend betas). 

I really hope that at some point in the future – the Blend editor can be brought into the Visual Studio IDE and provide a single place to work. This would also make sense in future if Microsoft are envisioning AJAX style applications that work with WPF/E instead of DHTML.

 

Some future scenarios I’m very interested in testing SilverLight technologies on are :

– Vista Sidebar Apps

– Media Center Applications

– SmartPhone Apps (fingers crossed that this will be made available for Windows Mobile – would be crazy if it wasnt).

 

oh .. and there’s ALSO some really spiffy looking SilverLight Wallpapers (Widescreen too) – you can download from the site ….

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Written by mobilewares

April 17, 2007 at 5:50 am

Posted in .NETv3

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