Introducing Silverlight

“Using the Technology You Don’t Know About to Deliver the Systems You Never Knew You Wanted”

There’s been a buzz in the air recently about this new fangled technology from Microsoft <insert groan here>.   The buzz surrounding Microsoft Silverlight has been building over the last number of months for us in the programming community and has recently come to a head with the official release of Silverlight 1.0 only a few weeks ago.

What is Silverlight?  Silverlight is a technology specializing in delivering rich Internet applications (RIA, another buzz word you may have heard with the whole web 2.0) using a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in.  In other words, it’s a fancy new do-hickey for your web browser that will give you access to some really cool new web sites.

Web sites offering Silverlight content are able to deliver a fully customized user interface with support for embedded audio and video.  Many big companies have begun deploying Silverlight enabled web sites including the WWE, Entertainment Tonight, Home Shopping Network, MajorLeague Baseball, and the DiscoveryChannel.

One of the great aspects of Silverlight 1.0 is that any web site can take advantage of the technology independent of the web server platform or technology supported.  So, if you have a PHP application running on an Apache web server with a MySQL database,
no problem.  If you want a web site that delivers a full on multimedia interface with protected, encoded media files, again… with Silverlight, it’s no problem.

Part of the magic of Silverlight 1.0 is the fact that it is 100% client-side scripted using the Silverlight JavaScript toolkit.  This powerful toolkit supports Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera on Windows, Macintosh and Linux computers and Safari on the Macintosh platform and Konqueror on Linux.   It truly is cross browser and cross platform.

What does the future hold for this budding new technology?  Silverlight 1.1 is already in the works set for a 2008 release.  This next version will extend Silverlight to make it tightly integrate with Microsoft’s ASP.NET web application platform.  This will allow developers to deliver even more powerful web-based applications where the only limit is the developer’s own imagination. Visit http://silverlight.net/ for more information.