SOFTWARE DABBLER Microsoft has revealed a beta of Silverlight 5, even while pledging support for HTML5.
The Vole has been sending out mixed messages about Silverlight lately. It has been heavily promoting its planned HTML5 support in Internet Explorer 9, Bing Search and Xbox 360.
However it has confirmed that it plans to release Silverlight 5 in the second half of the year.
Silverlight 5 will focus on media experiences and improvements aimed at business applications running both in and outside the web browser. The first public beta is slated for the first half of 2011.
Scott Guthrie, corporate VP of Microsoft's developer division said that the goal is to kind of provide a technology portfolio.
While the Vole is going to be investing heavily in HTML5, it wants to make sure that it has the best browser out there to support it.
It is also going to invest very heavily in Silverlight, and Guthrie said, "we are going to make sure that you can build the richest possible media and applications with it and we are investing in WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation] to enable you to build great desktop applications with it."
Each technology has its own strengths and weaknesses but the flexibility of having each is a real strength of the Vole's developer platform, he said.
Silverlight 4 was released in April 2009. The final version of Silverlight for Windows Phone 7, a subset of Silverlight 3 and 4, was made available in September.
Silverlight 5 allows hardware video decoding support, which allows you to decode video on the GPU of a system. This enables smooth video streaming on lower end devices such as netbooks, according to Microsoft.
There is also something called Trickplay that enables variable speed playback of video and audio, including fast-forward and rewind while having audio sound normal. The technology also supports remote control and screensavers.
For application developers, Silverlight 5 has more than 40 new features, according to Microsoft. These include new databinding and debugging features. There are ways to specify animations during layout transitions and the ability to step through XAML code and debug it using breakpoints.
In Silverlight 5, applications will get better looking with layout and text enhancements such as multi-columns and linked text containers, character tracking, leading and pixel snapping, among other improvements for greater clarity, Microsoft claims. µ
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