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Scott Guthrie has released some preliminary details about what’s in the next release of the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha… well that’s the first thing… it’s not 1.1 anymore but a fully fledged v2, which makes a lot more sense to me with the amount of power and flexibility being added to the release now.

Silverlight 2.0 will focus on enabling rich Internet applications.  This release will include a cross-platform, cross-browser version of the .NET Framework, and will enable a rich .NET development platform in the browser.

Some of the new .NET specific features in the next public Silverlight preview will include:

  • WPF UI Framework: The current Silverlight Alpha release only includes basic controls support and a managed API for UI drawing.  The next public Silverlight preview will add support for the higher level features of the WPF UI framework.  These include: the extensible control framework model, layout manager support, two-way data-binding support, and control template and skinning support.  The WPF UI Framework features in Silverlight will be a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in last week’s .NET Framework 3.5 release.

  • Rich Controls: Silverlight will deliver a rich set of controls that make building Rich Internet Applications much easier.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for core form controls (textbox, checkbox, radiobutton, etc), built-in layout management controls (StackPanel, Grid, etc), common functionality controls (TabControl, Slider, ScrollViewer, ProgressBar, etc) and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, etc).

  • Rich Networking Support: Silverlight will deliver rich networking support.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for REST, POX, RSS, and WS communication.  It will also add support for cross domain network access (so that Silverlight clients can access resources and data from any trusted source on the web).

  • Rich Base Class Library Support: Silverlight will include a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalisation, XML, local storage, etc).  The next Silverlight preview release will also add built-in support for LINQ to XML and richer HTML DOM API integration.

This is a great preview of some of the features coming to the next version of Silverlight, the question you’re probably asking now is when can I get my hands on it?

Well the good news is Silverlight 2.0 Beta will be released in Q1 of 2008.  Even better the Beta will support a Go-Live license that enables you to begin building and deploying Silverlight 2.0 applications.

The development applications will also be getting revised at the same time with a free Visual Studio 2008 tools update that provides Silverlight 2.0 support within Visual Studio 2008. Silverlight development will not be limited to the paid for versions of Visual Studio 2008 Standard/Professional products, but will come to the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions as well, which is great news.

‘And finally’ is news that next week a new preview of ASP.NET 3.5 extensions will also be released which will include extended Silverlight support for easily integration of Silverlight within your ASP.NET applications.  In particular there will be new controls that make it easy to integrate Silverlight video/media and interactive content within your sites.

This is a good step change from the 1.1 Alpha release and I look forward to seeing what you guys can do with it 🙂

Roll on Q1 that’s what I say!

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