Silverlight Hack

Silverlight & related .NET technologies

About Me

Welcome to Silverlighthack.com.  This is a site where you can find many articles on Silverlight, Windows Phone 7 and .NET related technologies.  

My name is Bart Czernicki.  I have been working with computers since 1988 and have over 12 professional years in the IT field focusing on architecture, technology strategy and product management.  I currently work as a Sr. Software Architect at a large software development company.

Below is the cover of my new book that shows how Silverlight's unique RIA features can be applied to create next-generation business intelligence (BI 2.0) applications.

Silverlight 4 Business Intelligence Soft 

Contact: bartczernicki@gmail.com

View Bart Czernickis profile on LinkedIn

NONE of the comments or opinions expressed here should be considered ofmy past or current employer(s).  The code provided is as-is without anyguarantees or warranties.

Silverlight 3 - What we Know So Far & What We Can Predict (Part 1 of 2)

Silverlight 2 has been released a couple of months ago and just like any MS product, Microsoft has already been working on the next release :)  Silverlight 3 is going to build on top of the Silverlight 2 runtime and add a lot of exciting enhancements.  However, it also needs to improve on a lot of the existing shortfalls when compared to the current leading RIA technology (Flash/Flex).  So what do we know is coming in Silverlight 3?

Announced Enhancements

  • Silverlight for Mobile Devices
  • Enhanced Business Application Development
    • New dataSource control, new data controls (paging, data form, etc.), validation, back button support in browser, security/login, etc.
  • H.264 Support
  • 3D Support & Hardware Acceleration
  • Visual Studio Design Time Enhacements
  • Expression Blend 3.x for SL 3 & Enhacements
  • Fit Client
  • More Controls
Announced Enhancements

Silverlight for Mobile Devices

  • What is it? Silverlight on the Mobile devices!  What is really cool is that there will be no required changes to your existing SL code for it to work on the mobile device...really nice!  So it has a one up on Flash where there is no "lite" version.
  • Source of info: PDC 2008 - Microsoft Silverlight 2 for Mobile Devices 
  • Questions: 
    • What devices will be supported?  Obviously, Windows Mobile will be supported.  Symbian and Blackberry are probably other OS candidates that will include Silverlight mobile support.  iPhone....if it's not getting Flash, no way is it going to get Silverlight :) 
    • Even though it is stated as Silverlight 2, I doubt that will remain.  I think the version for mobile will match Silverlight 3 (This actually gives developers motivation to go to SL3) and this allows Microsoft to create tooling support/emulators.  This would be harder for the existing Blend/Design/VS/Silerlight 2 Tools.  What's more likely is this being added for Silverlight 3.
    • There are some minor things like video brush that will not be available in Silverlight Mobile. However, the question is, what else "minor" will be missing?

Silverlight on a mobile device!

Enhanced Business Application Development

New data paging, data form, validation...

Forms Authentication with ASP.NET

  • What is it? Silverlight 3 will include a business framework for creating rich LOB applications.  This will make creating/maintaining LOB really easy (less plumbing and focusing on design) 
  • The framework includes:
    • Data Source support for busines objects (ASP.NET)
      • Paging for the data source
      • Data Source events (on load data, etc.)
      • Data form control
    • Back button support for the browser
    • Validation of business objects
      • Custom validation on DAL automatically transferred to the UI stack (client side)
      • Attribute based validation
    • Security
      • Forms authentication
      • New authentication control
    • Watch the video below for more demos.
  • Source of info: PDC 2008 - Microsoft Silverlight Futures 

H.264 Support

3D Support and Hardware Acceleration

  • What is it?  Everyone assumes this: Well, I don't do 3D so I will not use this.  Wrong.  If you have written any controls that are spacial (i.e., Carousel), you will love the 3D support (Controls like the carousel will be a snap to write).   Hardware acceleration will also be huge as you can offload a lot the graphics rendering to the GPU (which will improve performance of the CPU as it doesn't have to spend cycles rendering stuff; rather, it can focus on computations/processes).  Check this video out:  What Flash 10 can do with 3D acceleration...very cool.
  • Source of info: Scott Guthrie's Blog
  • Outstanding Questions:  What kind of 3D API will this include? How extendible will the API be?  Lots of exiting info will be coming here.

Visual Studio Design Time Enhacements

  • What is it?  Visual Studio will actually aid in the design part of building Silverlight 2 applications.  Visual Studio 2008 (granted, it was added before SL2 came out) has terrible design support and even the most basic changes require the designer/developer jumping to Blend 2 SP1. 
  • Source of info: Scott Guthrie's Blog
  • Outstanding Questions: Which version of Visual Studio will it support?  I have a suspicion it will most likely be Visual Studio 2010 and 2008 will not be changed for SL 3 (More on that on the bottom.)

Expression Blend 3.x for SL 3 & Enhacements

  • What is it?  Expression Blend 2 was updated with SP1 for SL2 support.  There is NO doubt Microsoft will release an updated version for Silverlight 3.  The video below mentions this will be a BIG release.
    • Release date of next year (video below)
    • Official intellisence support (video below)
    • Source control support (video below)
    • Design time data support (video below)
    • Possible Illustrator EPS viewing support (video below)
  • Outstanding Questions: 
    • Is it going to be Blend 2.x or Blend 3.x and how much is the upgrade going to be?  Dropping a decent amount of money for Expresssion Studio 2 and VS 2008 Pro is a lot to ask for a re-investment per year.  Best case, Blend for SL3 is released as a SP1 or a free value-add for Expression 2 customers (This is probably unlikely since the video mentions that this will be a big release, NOT an SP).  The likely case is that there will be a discount moving from Epression 2 -> 3 and that Blend will be a standalone 3.x release.
    • The obvious big question is, what are the BIG release items that will be out with this release?

Fit Client

  • What is it?  Abobe Flash/Flex has a product called AIR. which allows you to run your Flash/Flex applications on the client workstation outside the browser.  Silverlight 2 can support this with some hacks.  Hopefully, Silverlight 3 supports this 100% like AIR.
  • Source of info: InsideRIA
  • Outstanding Questions:
    • What framework of .NET?  Will it be only Windows?  Will it work on Mobile devices? 

This article was authored 12/11/2008, as updates roll in before Silverlight 3 is launched I will update this page with further information.  In part 2 of the series, I will look at some educated predictions for Silverlight 3 in addition to what has been announced.

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Posted: Dec 11 2008, 14:21 by Bart Czernicki | Comments (10) RSS comment feed |
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