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New Features Announced for Silverlight 5 Beta

By , 7 Dec 2010
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Today is 2nd December 2010, when ScottGu gave a Keynote on the future of Silverlight. There he spoke about the next version of Silverlight, yes, Silverlight 5 Beta. He gave a brief overview of the new & improved features which are coming in Silverlight 5.

Read the full post to know more about the features of Silverlight 5. Silverlight 5 Beta is not yet launched. This is just the preview of the features which are going to come in this new version.

New Features at a Glance

Silverlight 5 will now support a great collection of new features like improved media with remote support, improved DRM, smoother animations using the fluid user interface, advanced text support including multi column, debugging inside the binding, debugging inside the style setters, XAML parser improvements, faster loading of XAML at runtime, access of hardware devices, access to unmanaged code, 3D graphics programming interface, enhanced out-of-browser support and child window improvements are some of the key factors in coming Silverlight 5.

Watch Out the Firestarter Event On Demand

Link to video - http://www.studiosevent.com/newscenter/?id=firestarter.

Feature List - Improved Media Experiences

Silverlight 5 will offer improved media support and rich UI capabilities

  • Hardware Decode and presentation of H.264 improve performance for lower-power devices to render high-definition video using GPU support.
  • TrickPlay allows video to be played at different speeds and supports fast-forward and rewind. At up to twice the speed, audio pitch correction allows users to watch videos while preserving a normal audio pitch.
  • Improved power awareness prevents the screen saver from being shown while watching video and allows the computer to sleep when video is not active.
  • Remote-control support allows users to control media playback.
  • Digital rights management advancements allow seamless switching between DRM media sources.

Feature List - Business Application Development

Silverlight 5 will be Microsoft solution for building next-generation business applications

  • Fluid user interface enables smoother animation within the UI. Inter-Layout Transitions allow developers to specify animations to apply when elements are added, removed or re-ordered within a layout. This provides smoother user experiences when, for example, items are inserted into a list.
  • Text improvements make it possible to build rich magazine-style text layouts:
    • Multicolumn text and linked text container allow text to flow around other elements.
    • Tracking/leading set precisely how far apart each character is for full creative control.
    • Text clarity is improved with Pixel Snapping.
    • Text layout performance is significantly improved.
    • OpenType support has been enhanced.
  • Support for Postscript vector printing enables users to create reports and documents, including the ability to create a virtual print view different from what is shown on the screen.
  • Applications can now work the way users expect with added support for double-click and Combobox type ahead.
  • Databinding enhancements allow more work to be done more easily via XAML:
    • Debugging support now allows breakpoints to be set on a binding, so you can step through binding failures.
    • Implicit DataTemplate allow templates to be created across an application to support a particular type by default.
    • Ancestor RelativeSourceallows, for example, a DataTemplateto bind to a property on the control that contains it.
    • Binding in style setters allows bindings to be used within styles to reference other properties.
    • The DataContextChangedevent is being introduced. Markup extensions allow code to be run at XAML parse time for both properties and event handlers, enabling cutting-edge MVVM support.
  • Networking and Windows Communication Foundation enhancements:
    • Reduced network latency by using a background thread for networking.
    • WS-Trust support: message security — encrypted at the Windows Communication Foundation level; Security Assertion Markup Language authentication token.
  • Silverlight 5 performance improvements include these:
    • Reduced network latency by using a background thread for networking.
    • XAML parser improvements that speed up startup and runtime performance.
    • Support for 64-bit operating systems.
  • Graphics improvements
    • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) accelerated 3-D application programming interface (API) provides rich graphics on the Web for building advanced data visualizations and rich user experience (UI).
    • Immediate mode graphics API allows direct rendering to the GPU.
    • Hardware acceleration is enabled in windowless mode with Internet Explorer 9.
  • Silverlight offers a new class of trusted applications that brings desktop capabilities to the browser for the first time. These features, when enabled via a group policy registry key and an application certificate, mean users won’t need to leave the browser to perform complex tasks:
    • Host HTML content as a Web browser control within the Silverlight application. HTML pages, such as help content or e-mail, can be integrated within the application.
    • Read and write files to the user’s My Documents folder, making it easier to find media files or create local copies of reports.
    • Launch Microsoft Office and other desktop programs. Users can open Microsoft Outlook and create an e-mail message, or send a report to Word utilizing the power of Office.
    • Access devices and other system capabilities by calling into application COM components. Users can access a USB security card reader or a bar-code scanner.
    • Enjoy full keyboard support in full screen, which enables richer kiosk and media viewing applications.
    • Call existing unmanaged code directly from within Silverlight with P/Invoke.
  • Out-of-browser trusted applications are further enhanced:
    • Existing unmanaged code can be called directly from within Silverlight with P/Invoke.
    • Child Window support allows multiple windows to be launched from the application.
  • Tools improvements include these:
    • Microsoft Visual Studio profiling support including CPU, memory, thread contention.
    • Visual Studio Team Test support.

Please make sure that these are all expected features which may be available in Silverlight 5 Beta. The final product may vary depending upon the stability and feedbacks.

Expected Release Date

  • Expecting the first Public Beta version of Silverlight 5 during Spring 2011
  • Probable Final Release of Silverlight 5 will be later 2011

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

_ Kunal Chowdhury _
Technical Lead
India India
Kunal Chowdhury is a Microsoft "Client Development" MVP (Most Valuable Professional), a Codeproject Mentor, Telerik MVP, Nokia Developer Champion, Speaker in various Microsoft events, Author, passionate Blogger and a Software Engineer by profession.
 
He is currently working in an MNC located in India. He has a very good skill over XAML, C#, Silverlight, Windows Phone, WPF and Windows 8 (WinRT). He posts his findings, articles in his technical blog and CodeProject.
 
Technical Blog: http://www.kunal-chowdhury.com
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