Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2 version in VB.NET

The article is based on the Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2 version.
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 Introduction

The article is based on the Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2 version. It is truly a beautiful concept which is being transformed into reality as the product matures day by day. I have been regularly hearing about Microsoft Silverlight which is going to replace Adobe Flash and Action script. Actually, I love it because i can develop rich interactive applications using my current .NET knowledge without having to learn new technology or scripting language like Actionscript. XAML is also based on XML which i already know. It also support languages like Ruby and Python.

Getting started with Silverlight

Silverlight is a proprietary runtime for browser-based Rich Internet Applications, providing a subset of the animation, vector graphics, and video playback capabilities of Windows Presentation Foundation. Version 1.1 also includes a complete version of the .NET Common Language Runtime, so that Silverlight applications can be written in any .NET language. Silverlight aims to compete with Adobe Flash and the presentation components of Ajax. It also competes with Sun Microsystems' JavaFX, which was launched a few days after Silverlight.

Till date, there have been two 'major' Silverlight releases by Microsoft:

  • Silverlight 1.0
  • Silverlight 2.0

Silverlight 1.0:

Silverlight 1.0 applications are a mixture of XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), HTML, and JavaScript. When a Silverlight 1.0 application is run in the browser, it invokes the Silverlight control, which in turn loads up the XAML file.

Silverlight 2.0

Silverlight 2.0 is a superset of Silverlight 1.0 and is the focus of this article. The major difference between the two lies in the fact that Silverlight 2.0 includes a refactored version of the .NET framework with CLR 3.0. This change brings along a flexible programming model and has been designed from ground up to support .NET languages like C# and VB.NET, which in turn lets you utilize your .NET skills. Silverlight 2 also supports Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) for compilation and execution of dynamic languages.

Silverlight 2 comes with a subset of the WPF programming model and includes support for user interface controls, layout, databinding, documents, media, and animation. Silverlight can also deliver high-quality video to all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows.

Silverlight 2 is just a 4.6 MB download but the benefits are huge. The download contains a stripped down version of the .NET framework in your browser. So there is no need to install the .NET framework on client machines.

What advantages does Silverlight give me over Flash?

Adobe Flash is a technology to add animation and interactivity to your web applications. Flash provides a truly amazing cross browser cross platform support to create RIA's. Silverlight also provides similar features. Silverlight however extends these features by providing a first-class programming framework that incorporates .NET. That means that you can write code that will execute at client side using a .NET language.

Let us see some similarities and comparisons of these two powerful technologies

 

Flash

 

Silverlight

 

Timeline animation in Flash is frame based. It uses transformation matrix.

 

Silverlight uses timeline (vector) based animation.

 

Flash uses a 3rd party library to store shapes

 

Silverlight uses XAML.

Flash supports multiple video formats/codec's,  however the output is proprietary

 

Silverlight uses an industry standard codec

 

Flash content can be created by using Adobe Flash.

 

To create Silverlight content, you can use your existing tools like Visual Studio. Another dedicated tool is Expression Blend

 

As a programming model, ActionScript has a huge learning curve and is not a common programming skill found in developers.

 

Silverlight has been developed from ground-up using the languages you are already familiar with as a .NET developer. Silverlight content can be created using XAML and a .NET language. This way, you can utilize your existing skills.

 

Flash provides with 2D animation graphics.

 

So does Silverlight

 

The cost of Media server licensing in Flash is more.

 

The cost is much lesser than Flash

 

Full screen video capabilities (720p) not available
 

Scalable full screen video available up to HD (720p)

Flash content binary in nature
 

Silverlight content is textual in nature 

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