Having made available for download version 2 of its Adobe Flash killer, Microsoft is already moving onward to the next iteration. Silverlight 2 was released to web in mid-October 2008, and, for next year, Microsoft is cooking the third release of what it is defining as a cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device browser plug-in, designed to support interactive and Rich Internet Application experiences. In this regard, Silverlight 3 is planned for availability in 2009.
“Silverlight 3 will include major media enhancements (including H.264 video support), major graphics improvements (including 3D support and GPU hardware acceleration), as well as major application development improvements (including richer data-binding support and additional controls). Note these are just a small sampling of the improvements - we have plenty of additional cool features we are going to keep up our sleeves a little longer,” revealed Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform.
Essentially, behind the plug-in, the technology of Silverlight is in fact a subset of the .NET Framework. Microsoft itself is committed to developing using Silverlight. Guthrie offered a variety of examples in this regard, from MSN Toolbar to Windows Live Photos and Windows Live Video messages. At the same time, the forthcoming Office 14 Web Companion RIA applications, which will accompany the successor of the Office 2007 System, will also use the technology.
“We shipped Silverlight 2 last month. Over the last 4 weeks, the final release of Silverlight 2 has been downloaded and installed on more than 100 million consumer machines. It has also recently been published to corporate administrators via the Microsoft SMS and Microsoft Update programs to enable them to automatically deploy across enterprises. Over 1 in 4 computers on the Internet now have some version of Silverlight installed,” Guthrie added.
Silverlight 2 RTW (2.0.31005.0) is available for download here.