Seeing Through a New Light – Silverlight 4

The first speaker was Windows and Windows Live Division President Steven Sinofsky. He started out talking about how they went about developing Windows 7. The key points that he covered was the feedback that they received during development. The key point he was driving at was that user are not developers. He showed some of the usability studies they did.

During the Windows 7 launch, Microsoft showed off all the hardware developed for Windows 7. They did a similar demo during the conference focusing on how develops can leverages the abstractions to develop for Windows 7. They show netbooks, HP touch computers, high end gaming machine, the thinnest laptop, and an Acer Aspire 1420P Convertible Tablet PC. Steven explained how they worked with Acer to build a test machine that their Windows developers could use to test what they are working.

The first big announcement was that each of us would be receiving the same Acer Tablet PC to test our great Windows 7 applications. At that point the crowd went wild and the Twitter server stop responding. They started handing them out at lunch and at that point the line to get them stretched through a maze almost reaching the Staples Center. The other thing that happened was that every plug in the build was being used to charge the batteries. Finally the number of connected devices doubled slowing the network down!

The first software demo was of IE 9. That’s right they have started developing IE9. In fact they started 3 weeks ago. This was one of the first public viewing. The key areas that they are working on are:

  • Developing to standards (looking at HTML5)
  • JavaScript performance improvements
  • Ecosystem innovations (interacting with all available hardware, mobile phones, PC, TV)(Three Screens and a Cloud)

The demo included running an ACID3 test showing that in three weeks they have they have made major performance improvements. There are some eye candy improvements like easy support for rounded borders. Not very exciting. The big part of the demo was around graphic acceleration taking advantage of Direct2D. He finished up telling us that Channel 9 already has videos on IE9. There were no announcement on the timeline.

He left us with some calls to actions for Windows 7:

  • Integrate with Windows 7
  • Develop for 64bit
  • Focus on the fundamentals
  • Build on the Win 7 APIs

Next up was Scott Guthrie and his big thing has been Silverlight. He talked about how in 24 months they went from beta for Silverlight 1 to Silverlight 3. He then preceded to say that the speed of release was going to continue. Silverlight Beta 4 is now available and will be released 1st half of 2010. Scott focused on three main areas: Media, Business Applications, and Beyond the Browser.

The first media enhance is the support for accessing web cams and microphones. He showed a demo of a photo applications capturing him on screen. There is full support for interacting with the streams client side. Another demo he did was a Bar Code application. Using a web cam and a third part open source library he scanned a barcode on a book and used a web service to get information on the book…pretty cool.

For business applications there were a lot of improvements here is a list:

  • Printing
    • Printing API for fine control over output
  • Rich Text control with support for Arabic and other characters
    • Native Undo and Redo support
  • Right Click support
  • Clipboard access
  • Drag and Drop from the file system
  • Commanding
  • New controls to come

Beyond the browser (the death of WPF?). This goes along with the tenant of Three Screens and a Cloud. Not all the functionality of WPF is available but there is always Silverlight 5. Here is a list of features around out of browser:

  • Notifications and Popups From task bar
  • HTML support
  • Trusted applications outside the sandbox
    • User must consent
  • Custom Crome (window look and feel)
  • Cross-site access
  • Access external hardware (including cameras, printers)
  • COM Interop access

Here are some changes to Visual Studio 2010 to help Silverlight development:

  • WYSIWYG Design Surface
  • WCF RIA Services
  • Implicit styling
  • Camel casing intellisence

Some data and networking changes:

  • Shared assembly (no longer need a Silverlight version of libraries
  • TCP WCF support

After showing the new stuff they did an awesome demo of a Silverlight Facebook application. They are going give us the bits to play with later.

Scott closed with the release schedule:

  • Beta – available today
  • Release – 1st have 2010

The rest of the Keynote was done by Kurt DelBene who covered the advance of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. He announced the public release of the Beta versions of these products. He did some cool demos showing the new developer experience using these tools. The big thing was the integration with Visual Studio making it easier to develop for those platforms. They even demo’ed creating Silverlight web part in SharePoint 2010.

Overall a lot of good stuff coming in the near future. The overall take aways are:

  • Three Screens and a Cloud
  • Windows 7 is where it is at
  • Entity Framework is where data access is going.

I will hopefully write more detailed blogs about these features in the future. Stay tune.


2 thoughts on “Seeing Through a New Light – Silverlight 4

Add yours

  1. Hi, I found this blog article while looking for help with Microsoft Silverlight. I have recently changed browsers from Opera to Internet Explorer 7. Just recently I seem to have a problem with loading sites that use Microsoft Silverlight. Everytime I browse site that needs Microsoft Silverlight, my browser doesn’t load and I get a “npctrl.dll” error. I cannot seem to find out how to fix it. Any aid getting Microsoft Silverlight to function is greatly appreciated! Thanks

    1. I don’t have a clue as to why you are having that issue. I would try uninstalling and reinstalling the Silverlight Plugin. If the problem persists try contacting Microsoft.

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