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Silverlight 2 Beta 2 will be publicly available later this week – Are you ready to rock?

 

Silverlight 2 Beta 2 will come out this week with GoLive licence.

The release and the features that is coming include the following:

 

 

· UI Framework: Beta 2 includes improvements in animation support, error handling and reporting, automation and accessibility support, keyboard input support, and general performance.  This release also provides more compatibility between Silverlight and WPF.

· Rich Controls: Beta 2 includes a new templating model called Visual State Manager that allows for easier templating for controls. Other features include the introduction of TabControl, text wrapping and scrollbars for TextBox, and for DataGrid additions include Autosize, Reorder, Sort, performance increases and more.  Most controls are now in the runtime instead of packaged with the application.

· Networking Support: Beta 2 includes improved Cross Domain support and security enhancements, upload support for WebClient, and duplex communications (“push” from server to Silverlight client).

· Rich Base Class Library: Beta 2 includes improved threading abilities, LINQ-to-JSON, ADO.NET Data Services support, better support for SOAP, and various other improvements to make networking and data handling easier.

· Deep Zoom: Beta 2 introduces a new XML-based file format for Deep Zoom image tiles, as well as a new MultiScaleTileSource that enables existing tile databases to utilize Deep Zoom. Better, event driven notification for zoom/pan state is another improvement in Silverlight 2 Beta 2. 

· RIA: Based on proven .NET technology, Silverlight provides unparalleled productivity by enabling the reuse of skills, codes and assets.

· Silverlight 2 includes over 40 new controls, cross-domain networking support for calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS, and standard HTTP services and a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalization, XML, local storage, etc).  

· Silverlight 2 also introduces Deep Zoom, which offer unparalleled interactivity with high resolution content.

· Expression Studio and Visual Studio provide role-specific productivity tools that empower designers and developers to easily collaborate on Silverlight projects. Soon there will be also new awesome versions of Expression Blend 2.5 2008 June Preview and Silverlight Tools Beta 2 for Visual Studio 2008.

· Media/Advertising: Silverlight offers true HD video and the lowest TCO solution for media delivery and consumption. Microsoft is enabling new business opportunities by making it easier to build ads that plug into Silverlight and work with myriad network and syndication providers in the ecosystem.  With support for Atlas and DoubleClick we are just at the tipping point of the amazing business opportunities possible with Silverlight.

· Mobile: Silverlight dramatically simplifies the design, development and delivery of rich interactive applications and services on the Web, desktop, and devices. Silverlight offers multiple benefits to the mobile industry including compelling cross-platform mobile experiences, multi-channel revenue opportunities, and industry leading application platform and tools.

What is new in Silverlight 2 Beta 2?

As is typical with a beta, Microsoft made a number of incremental improvements based on customer feedback. This includes:

· New and improved controls

· Networking and data handling improvements

· Improvements in error handling, reporting and development experience

· Updates to Deep Zoom and animation 

· Updates to ensure WPF compatibility

· General improvements in performance

A full list of improvements and updates will be included in the release notes with the Silverlight 2 Beta 2 download.

Silverlight 2 builds on the foundation of Silverlight 1 but significantly extends the original development framework at every point.  The most important innovation that Microsoft brought to bear with Silverlight 2 is its support for managed code.  Because Silverlight 2 incorporates the core CLR classes, the runtime provides much richer networking stack support, including REST, RSS, JSON and POX and full support for LINQ including LINQ to JSON and LINQ to XML.  In addition to supporting C#, VB.NET and other managed code languages, Silverlight 2 includes support for Dynamic languages including Ruby and Python as well as a 2 way HTML/AJAX bridge for full integration of Silverlight with AJAX-enabled applications.

With regard to user interface controls, Silverlight 2 adds over two dozen controls (such as button, check box, date controls, gridview, layout) that are designed to be used either right out of the box, or after being tweaked with styles. With Silverlight 2, the user interface controls are completely customizable, as the appearance of any control can be fully determined by templates and control behavior can be modified by hooking events or by creating custom controls.  Similar to the layout controls in WPF, the new Silverlight 2 layout controls significantly enhances the ability to optimize the overall design of the UI. Finally, Silverlight 2 controls can now provide one way or two way databinding to any number of data sources including LINQ, in a highly scalable architecture that abstracts out the binding object. 

Finally, Silverlight 2 provides secure client-side persistence through Isolated Storage.  This dramatically reduces bandwidth requirements for any given RIA, as data can be cached locally on the client.

Silverlight 2 Beta 2 is a very stable and high quality build that comes with a commercial go-live license. Microsoft encourages developers to deploy their mission-critical applications on this release.   For example, NBC will deploy a large, mission-critical rich media site, NBCOlympics.com, using Silverlight 2 Beta 2.

Silverlight 2 Beta 2 introduces some changes that will break certain applications targeting the previous version of the beta, Silverlight 2 beta 1 (which is one of the main reasons that Microsoft recommended not using Silverlight 2 beta 1 for commercial deployment purposes). For a run down on the changes and work-arounds please visit: www.silverlight.net.

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