Silverlight 3 Released

Silverlight 3 released today. Lots of cool features! To get started go to: http://silverlight.net/GetStarted/

What’s New in Silverlight 3?

Fully
supported by Visual Studio and Expression Blend, highlights of new
features and functionality of Silverlight 3 include: major media
enhancements, out of browser support allowing Web applications to work
on the desktop; significant graphics improvements including 3D graphics
support, GPU acceleration and H.264 video support; and many features to
improve RIA development productivity. Also, in order to fully integrate
all the .NET developer tools, Visual Studio 2010 will support a fully
editable and interactive designer for Silverlight. New features in
Silverlight 3 include:

  • Support for Higher Quality Video & Audio. With
    support for native H.264/Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Audio, live and
    on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming, full HD (720p+) playback, and an
    extensible decoder pipeline, Silverlight 3 brings rich, full-screen,
    stutter-free media experiences to the desktop. New and enhanced media
    features in Silverlight 3 include:

    • Live and on-demand true HD (720p+) Smooth Streaming. IIS
      Media Services (formerly IIS Media Pack), an integrated HTTP media
      delivery platform, features Smooth Streaming which dynamically detects
      and seamlessly switches, in real time, the video quality of a media
      file delivered to Silverlight based on local bandwidth and CPU
      conditions.
    • More format choice. In addition to native support for VC-1/WMA, Silverlight
      3 now offers users native support for MPEG-4-based H.264/AAC Audio,
      enabling content distributors to deliver high-quality content to a wide
      variety of computers and devices.
    • True HD playback in full-screen. Leveraging
      graphics processor unit (GPU) hardware acceleration, Silverlight
      experiences can now be delivered in true full-screen HD (720p+).
    • Extensible media format support.
      With the new Raw AV pipeline, Silverlight can easily support a wide
      variety of third-party codecs. Audio and video can be decoded outside
      the runtime and rendered in Silverlight, extending format support
      beyond the native codecs.
    • Industry leading content protection. Silverlight DRM, Powered by PlayReady Content Protection enables protected in-browser experiences using AES encryption or Windows Media DRM.
  • Empowering Richer Experiences.
    Silverlight 3 contains new 3D graphics, animation features, hardware
    accelerated effects and text improvements that enable designers and
    developers to create next generation Web visuals. Additional features
    include:

    • Perspective 3D Graphics.
      Silverlight 3 allows developers and designers to apply content to a 3D
      plane. Users can rotate or scale live content in space without writing
      any additional code. Other effects include creating a queue in 3D and
      transitions.
    • Pixel Shader effects. These
      software based effects include blur and drop shadow. In addition, you
      can also write your own effect. Effects can be applied to any graphical
      content. An example would be to make a button appear depressed on
      rollover you could use a drop shadow effect on the pressed visual
      state.
    • Bitmap Caching. Silverlight
      3 dramatically improves the rendering performance of applications by
      allowing users to cache vector content, text and controls into bitmaps.
      This feature is useful for background content and for content which
      needs to scale without making changes to its internal appearance.
    • New Bitmap API.
      With Silverlight 3, developers can now write pixels to a bitmap. Thus,
      they can build a photo editor to do red eye correction, perform edits
      on scanned documents or create specials effects for cached bitmaps from
      elements on the screen.
    • Themed application support. Developers
      can now theme applications by applying styles to their Silverlight 3
      applications and changing them at runtime. Additionally, developers can
      cascade styles by basing them on each other.
    • Animation Effects. Silverlight
      3 provides new effects such as spring and bounce. These make animation
      more natural. Developers can also now develop their own mathematical
      functions to describe an animation.
    • Enhanced control skinning.
      Silverlight 3 provides easier skinning capabilities by keeping a common
      set of controls external from an application. This allows the sharing
      of styles and control skins between different applications.
    • Improved text rendering & font support. Silverlight
      3 allows far more efficient rendering and rapid animation of text.
      Applications also load faster by enabling the use of local fonts.
  • Improving Rich Internet Application Productivity. New features include:
    • 60+ controls with source code : Silverlight
      3 is packed with over 60 high-quality, fully skinnable and customizable
      out-of-the-box controls such as charting and media, new layout
      containers such as dock and viewbox, and controls such as autocomplete,
      treeview and datagrid. The controls come with nine professional
      designed themes and the source code can be modified/recompiled or
      utilized as-is. Other additions include multiple selection in listbox
      controls, file save dialog making it easier to write files, and support
      for multiple page applications with navigation.
    • Deep Linking. Silverlight 3 includes support for deep linking, which enables bookmarking a page within a RIA.
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Silverlight 3 enables users to solve the SEO-related challenges posed by RIAs. By
      utilizing business objects on the server, together with ASP.NET
      controls and site maps, users can automatically mirror database-driven
      RIA content into HTML that is easily indexed by the leading search
      engines.
    • Enhanced Data Support Silverlight 3 delivers:
      • Element to Element binding : UI
        designers use binding between two UI properties to create compelling UI
        experiences. Silverlight now enables property binding to CLR objects
        and other UI components via XAML, for instance binding a slider value
        to the volume control of a media player.
      • Data Forms. The Data Form control provides support for layout of fields, validation, updating and paging through data.
      • New features for data validation which automatically catch incorrect input and warn the user with built-in validation controls.
      • Support for business objects
        on both client and server with n-Tier data support. Easily load, sort,
        filter and page data with added support for working with data. Includes
        a new built-in CollectionView to perform a set of complex operations
        against server side data. A new set of .NET RIA services supports these
        features on the server.
    • Improved performance, through:
      • Application library caching, which reduces the size of applications by caching framework on the client in order to improve rendering performance.
      • Enhanced Deep Zoom, allows users to fluidly navigate through larger image collections by zooming.
      • Binary XML allows communication with the server to be compressed, greatly increasing the speed at which data can be exchanged.
      • Local Connection This
        feature allows communication between two Silverlight applications on
        the client-side without incurring a server roundtrip: for instance a
        chart in one control can communicate with a datagrid in another.
  • Advanced Accessibility Features.
    Silverlight 3 is the first browser plug-in to provide access to all
    system colors, allowing partially-sighted people to make changes such
    as high contrast color schemes for ease of readability by using
    familiar operating system controls.
  • Out of Browser Capabilities.
    The new out of browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to
    place their favorite Silverlight applications directly onto their PC
    and Mac, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need
    to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Further, the new
    experience enables Silverlight applications to work whether the
    computer is connected to the Internet or not—a radical improvement to
    the traditional Web experience. Features include:

    • Life outside the browser.
      Silverlight applications can now be installed to and run from the
      desktop as lightweight web companions. Thus, users can take their
      favorite Web applications with them, regardless of whether they are
      connected to the Internet or not.
    • Desktop shortcuts and start menu support.
      Silverlight applications can be stored on any PC or Mac computer’s
      desktop with links in the start menu and applications folder, and so
      are available with one-click access.
    • Safe and secure. Leveraging
      the security features of the .NET Framework, Silverlight applications
      run inside a secure sandbox with persistent isolated storage. These
      applications have most of the same security restrictions as traditional
      web apps and so can be trusted without security warnings or prompts,
      minimizing user interruptions.
    • Smooth installation.
      Because Silverlight applications are stored in a local cache and do not
      require extra privileges to run, the installation process is quick and
      efficient.
    • Auto-update. Upon launch, Silverlight applications can check for new versions on the server, and automatically update if one is found.
    • Internet connectivity detection.
      Silverlight applications can now detect whether they have Internet
      connectivity and can react intelligently including caching a users’
      data until their connection is restored.

New Features in Expression Blend 3:
The designer-developer workflow took another major step forward today
with major innovations in Expression Blend 3 including: SketchFlow, a
rapid prototyping capability that makes it easy to communicate design
intent to stakeholders; design time sample data that enables the design
and testing of applications without access to live data; direct import
of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files; behaviors, extensible and
reusable components that add interactivity to applications without
writing code; a full code editor supporting C#, VB and XAML; and many
more features that support an improved design and development
experience. Features include:

  • SketchFlow.
    SketchFlow introduces a new set of features designed to make it easier
    for you to experiment with dynamic user experiences and create
    compelling prototypes. SketchFlow also helps communicate design ideas
    to other stakeholders, and makes it easier to collect in-context
    annotated feedback. SketchFlow enables the navigation and composition
    of an application to be modeled in a very visual manner from a simple
    prototype that uses a series of sketches, to something much more
    evolved. A prototype can be made as real and interactive as it needs to
    be to communicate design intent and SketchFlow can leverage all the
    existing features of Expression Blend.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator import.
    The powerful importers for both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
    enable smooth integration with workflows the designer already has in
    place. The designer has freedom to view and import Photoshop files
    layer by layer. Layers can be easily regrouped and elements retain
    their original formats; layers, layer positions, editable text and
    vectors remain available for editing within Expression Blend.
  • Behaviors.
    Add interactivity to your application, without having to write code.
    Behaviors can encapsulate complex design interactions into reusable
    components which can be directly applied to a user interface element in
    the application. Developers have access to a rich API that they can use
    to write their own triggers, actions, and behaviors for use in their
    Silverlight and WPF projects.
  • Sample data.
    Design time sample data makes it easy to build data-connected
    applications without access to live data. You can generate sample data
    or import sample data from an XML file and is available to controls on
    the artboard at design-time. You can extensively customize your sample
    data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and
    using live data at run-time.
  • Improved design and development experience.
    Expression Blend 3 includes many features that improve the overall
    design experience including a brand new design surface making Blend
    more accessible to visual designers. Team Foundation Server support
    allows easier integration of the Blend user into Team System. Improved
    animation and easing functions, 3D transforms, visual effects and an
    improved visual state manager enable a great tooling experience.

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