Silverlight 2 Beta 2 is now available for download for Windows and Mac OS X. The Redmond company's cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in positioned as an equivalent of Adobe Flash, evolved to Beta 2 stage along with a range of solutions. In this respect, Microsoft is now offering not only Silverlight 2 Beta 2 but also Microsoft Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview, Silverlight 2 Software Development Kit and Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008. The Redmond company is making headway in its vision to offer end users new .NET-based media experiences complemented by next generation RIAs (rich interactive applications).
"Beta 2 adds a lot of new features, but is still a 4.6 MB download that takes less than 10 seconds to install on a machine. It does not require the .NET Framework or any other software to be installed for it to work, and all features work cross-browser on both Mac and Windows machines. These features will also be supported on Linux via the Moonlight 2 release. Silverlight 2 Beta2 supports a go-live license that allows you to start using and deploying Silverlight 2 for commercial applications," revealed Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division.
Guthrie went on to highlight a wide variety of improvements, starting with the revamped user interface and Control enhancements delivering new built-in items, Template Editing Support, Visual State Manager (VSM) Support, UI Automation Framework, WPF compatibility, Adaptive Streaming, networking tweaks, and data evolution.
Microsoft has made Silverlight 2 Beta 2 fully compatible with content developed for Silverlight 1.0. However, the same cannot be said about Silverlight Beta 1. The new features added in the latest development milestone involved some drastic enough changes to the underlying application programming interface that Silverlight 2 Beta 2 will not run applications built for Beta 1. At the same time, browsers featuring Beta 1 will be prompted to upgrade to Beta 2 when users come across content developed with the latest testing version. Microsoft informed that a similar scenario would be valid for the Beta 2 and RTM releases of Silverlight 2.
"There will be some API changes between Beta2 and the final release, so you should expect that applications you write with Beta2 will need to make some updates when the final release comes out. But we think that these changes will be straight-forward and relatively easy, and that you can begin planning and starting commercial projects now," Guthrie explained.
Here are the downloads for Silvelight 2 Beta 2 from Softpedia: