At the Silverlight FireStarter today Scott Guthrie gave the information what’s new in the next version of Silverlight. It’s awesome. The new features look really exciting. Silverlight is alive and kicking.
20000 people were watching the Silverlight FireStarter online live. The voting site for Silverlight 5 collected 21000 votes. And 70% of the requested features are implemented with v5! Microsoft is listening to the community. I just hope they are listening with WHS Vail as well.
The first part of the keynote was a demonstration of applications using Silverlight 4. Silverlight 4 is now 7 months old. The SL4 demos got only a timespan of the keynote. The main part was on Silverlight 5
Silverlight 5 is more and more coming into the areas of WPF. SL5 gets great improvements that have been available only with WPF and even more. I’m not sure anymore that WPF should be named Silverlight+
With the 70% requested features, new things are coming in many different areas. SL5 is really a huge release!
One part is improvements with media. Hardware decoding support, Trick Play, power management enhancements, remote control are some features in that area. Server-side enhancements are with IIS Media Services 4.0. Windows Azure has support for IIS Media Services as well.
For the applications I’m doing event more important are the enhancements on data binding. There are great improvements in that area! It’s now possible to set breakpoints with XAML code, debug data binding, create custom markups, markups for MVVM, implicit data templates, ancestors for relative source binding… If you’ve done WPF and Silverlight development you can see that several features that have been only available with WPF are now here with Silverlight as well. Silverlight has even more!
WCF RIA Services gets improvements on supporting WS-Trust, low-latency networking, MVVM friendly data sources…
The Pivot control that is now available separately with SL4 will be part of the SL5 SDK.
Improvements on Graphics: immediate mode graphics API, GPU accelerated 3D, fluid layout transitions that can be done really easily with small XAML code. A big advantage from WPF compared to Silverlight was 3D support. Now Silverlight has 3D as well.
Enhancements on OOB with multiple Window support, P/Invoke, Enterprise Group Policy support…
What about the tools developing Silverlight 5 applications? Of course, there are enhancements as well. New investments are in automated UI testing and improved profiling support to get information on memory, CPU, and thread contention.
Silverlight 5 will also be faster: faster startup, hardware acceleration with IE9 and a 64-bit runtime.
When can all this expected? A beta of SL5 is planned for spring 2011 (MIX?), the release by the end of the year 2011.