Silverlight 5 preview!

A preview of Silverlight 5 has just been presented at the Silverlight Firestarter event!!


New Features Announced for Silverlight 5 Beta


Premium Media Experiences

Silverlight 5 offers 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.

Business Application Development

Silverlight 5 is 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 DataTemplates allow templates to be created across an application to support a particular type by default.
    –     Ancestor RelativeSource allows, for example, a DataTemplate to 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 DataContextChanged event 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.

Exciting times ahead!!