Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Silverlight 2 beta 2: cross domain connections, more controls, and animation

Category: Microsoft

Microsoft launched Silverlight 2 beta 2 last Friday (which seemed a bit strange….).

I saw this on the same day as some Adobe folks showed me an old thread that showed MLB.tv sneaking a context menu saying “About Silverlight” into the Flash version ;)

What is new in the latest beta? Danny Thorpe is looking forward to digging into the “new support for cross-domain connections using sockets, sibling to Silverlight’s existing cross-domain HTTP request.”

Full Feature List

  • Animation
    1. Support for animating custom data points
    2. Object Animation support (animating structs)
  • Deep Zoom
    1. New XML-based file format
    2. MultiScaleTileSource to wire up your own images and get the Deep Zoom experience
    3. Better notifications when sub-images enter the view
  • Controls
    1. Customize the look and feel of controls using Visual State Manager. Interactive control templates were never so easy.
    2. Some base controls are now part of the core platform, rather than packaged into apps. Say hello to smaller app sizes.
    3. Calendar now supports multi-selection and blackout dates
    4. New TabControl
    5. Control properties changes (Background, Tooltip, FontFamily, FontSize…)
    6. DataGrid improvements: auto size, reorder, sort, performance and more
  • TextBox
    1. IME Level 3 input support
    2. Text wrapping and multiline selection highlighting in textbox
    3. Scrolling and clipboard support
    4. Document level navigation keys
  • Improvements in error handling, reporting
  • Parser and Property system
    1. DependencyProperty.Register/RegisterAttached now supports PropertyMetadata
    2. New DependencyObject.ClearValue
    3. Visual tree helper
  • Data-binding
    1. Per binding level validation
    2. Support for element syntax for binding markup extensions
    3. Binding to attached properties
    4. ItemsControl extensibility (OnItemsChanged method)
    5. Fallback in value conversion (Binding.UnsetValue)
  • Input
    1. Support for limited keyboard input in Full Screen mode (arrow, tab, enter, home, end, pageup/pagedown, space). I’ve seen more than a few requests for this on the forums.
    2. Managed APIs for Inking and stylus input
  • Networking and Data
    1. Cross Domain support in Sockets
    2. Cross Domain security enhancements
    3. HttpWebRequest and WebClient callable from background threads
    4. Upload support in WebClient
    5. Isolated Storage: default size increased to 1MB and new ability to change quota with user consent. Also a new management UI.
    6. Duplex communications ("push" from server to Silverlight client with no need to "poll" for data)
    7. LINQ -to- JSON serialization
    8. Significantly improved SOAP interop
    9. "Add New Item" template in Visual Studio for "Silverlight-enabled WCF Service"
    10. ADO.NET Data Services support
  • UIAutomation and Accessibility support in the platform
  • Media
    1. Platform support for Adaptive Streaming (also referred to by people as multi bitrate), the ability for Silverlight to switch between media depending on network and CPU conditions
    2. Content protection with PlayReady DRM and Windows DRM
    3. Basic server-side playlist (SSPL) support
  • Localization
    1. Changes to localized application model. You now create one xap per locale, instead of one monolithic multilingual app
    2. Expanded localization languages of runtime and SDK
    3. Japanese SDK Installer and documentation (July 10)
  • Several changes to make API and behavior more compatible with WPF
  • Tools
    1. Beta 1 projects will be automatically ported to Beta 2
    2. Remote debugging for VB on the Mac
  • CLR
    1. A new developer-oriented runtime package with debugging binaries, localized strings, docs etc.
    2. Support for OS fallback logic for resources
    3. CurrentCulture and CurrentUICulture isolation to AppDomain level
  • DLR
    1. Performance improvements
    2. Various new DLR and IronPython 2.0 Beta 2 language features
    3. Various new IronRuby features

Posted by Dion Almaer at 5:13 am

2.3 rating from 40 votes


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The DLR is very interesting to me.

But my problem with Silverlight is the same as my problem with Flash and Java–it undermines the open web. At the moment, Flash is the worst offender because it’s the most successful.

When code is locked away in tokenized form, that violates my concept of the open web.

I’m sure I’ll look at Silverlight when you can use a VS Express to program it. Until then, I don’t think Microsoft is taking it seriously.

Comment by Nosredna — June 10, 2008

We’ve been waiting for MBR and DRM support for media, so this is good news for us.

Comment by MattCoz — June 10, 2008

Silverlight, because our browser team is incompotent.

Seriously, it’s the same with flash. The technologies to make the good old fashioned web do everything that Flash, Silverlight, and JavaFX can do already exist, have existed for almost as long and I can remember. But browser manufacturers haven’t until recently started ramping up they’re rendering engines and vm’s to not completely suck. It’s sad because things like Silverlight and Flash will pretty much destroy the notion of an open and semantic web.

Also in keeping with Microsoft tradition I’ve never actually been able to get Silverlight installed on any machine, windows or Mac so attempting 2.0 really doesn’t interest me.

Comment by mojave — June 10, 2008

If tokenizing something means it’s not open, than most of the JS deployed on the web isn’t open due to minifying/packing. There’s a big difference between shipping 500kb of JS to a client, and shipping 50kb, especially on slow links and mobile devices.

Perhaps the middle ground is to ensure that every obfuscated/tokenized resource has a standardized embedded link back to a readable version, e.g.

Comment by cromwellian — June 10, 2008

my idea of an open web is one where technologies and standards are open. and in that regard, Java is part of the open web, since it is open source.

Comment by urandom — June 11, 2008

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