Today at the Silverlight FireStarter event, Microsoft unveiled
the next release of Silverlight.
Silverlight 5 adds significant new features and capabilities, and
enables developers to create rich applications across browsers,
desktops and devices.
A Silverlight 5 beta will be available in the first half of next
year, and the final release will ship in the second half of 2011.
Microsoft claims that Silverlight has been embraced by companies
in order to create premium media solutions. In the last few
months companies like Canal+, TV2, and Maximum TV launched both
live and on-demand Silverlight solutions.
Silverlight 5 is now supporting GPU accelerated video decode,
which reduces CPU load for HD video. Using Silverlight 5, even
low powered Netbooks will be able to play back 1080p HD content,
Silverlight 5 also enables variable speed playback of media
content on the client with automatic audio pitch correction. This
could be useful for training videos where users want to speed up
the trainer while still understanding what he's saying.
In addition, the new Silverlight is more power aware, maning that
it will prevent screensavers from kicking in while someone is
watching movies and also will allowing the computer to sleep when
video is not playing.
Support for remote-control is now built-into Silverlight 5,
allowing users to control media playback with remote control
Silverlight 5 also delivers significant improvements for
application development including:
- Databinding and MVVM: Silverlight 5 delivers significant
data-binding improvements that improve developer productivity and
provide better Silverlight/WPF feature convergence. Developers
can now debug data-binding expressions, set breakpoints on
bindings, and more easily determine errors. Implicit
DataTemplates now allow templates to be created across an
application to support a particular type by default. Ancestor
RelativeSource bindings makes it easier for a DataTemplate to
bind to a property on a container control. Binding in style
setters allows bindings to be used within styles to reference
other properties. And a new DataContextChanged event is being
introduced to make handling changes easier. Markup extensions are
also now support and allow code to be run at XAML parse time for
both properties and event handlers, enabling cutting-edge MVVM
- WCF and RIA Services: Silverlight 5 now includes WS-Trust
support. WCF RIA Services improvements include complex type
support, better MVVM support, and improved customization of code
generation. Silverlight 5?s networking stack also now supports
low-latency network scenarios that enable more responsive
- Text and Printing: Silverlight 5 delivers improved text clarity
that enables crisper and cleaner text rendering, multi-column
text flow and linked text containers, character and leading
support, and full OpenType font support. Silverlight 5 also
includes a new Postscript Vector Printing API that provides
programmatic control over what you print, and enables printing
richer reports and documents. Pivot functionality - which
enables developers to build amazing information visualization
experiences - will also be provided built-into the Silverlight 5
- Graphics: Silverlight 5 includes immediate mode graphics
support that enables developers to take full advantage of the GPU
(graphics processing unit) and enables accelerated 3-D graphics
support. This new support facilitates much richer data
- Out of Browser: Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser
capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5. Out of browser
applications can now create and manage child windows. Trusted
out of browser applications can now also use P/Invoke
capabilities to call unmanaged libraries and Win32 APIs.
Enhanced group policy support enables enterprises to both lock
down and open up security sandbox capabilities of Silverlight 5
- Testing Tools: Microsoft is adding automated UI testing support
for Silverlight applications with Visual Studio 2010. This makes
it easy to test Silverlight applications, and automate the
functionality of them.
- Performance: Silverlight 5 support faster application startup,
and provides 64-bit browser support. Silverlight 5 also
integrates with the new Hardware Acceleration capabilities of
IE9, and enables hardware acceleration in windowsless mode.