Microsoft has released Silverlight 5, the latest version of its tool for creating and delivering rich Internet applications and media experiences on the Web.
Microsoft made the less than 7MB Silverlight 5 plug-in available on Dec. 9. The software can be downloaded here. Microsoft delivered a release candidate of Silverlight 5 on Sept. 1 and has been tweaking the technology since then based on developer feedback.
In a Dec. 9 blog post, the Silverlight team said:
““New features in Silverlight 5 include Hardware Decode of H.264 media, which provides a significant performance improvement with decoding of unprotected content using the GPU; Postscript Vector Printing to improve output quality and file size; and an improved graphics stack with 3D support that uses the XNA API on the Windows platform to gain low-level access to the GPU for drawing vertex shaders and low-level 3D primitives.”“
Additional Silverlight 5 new features include:
- P/Invoke support for calling native functions-enables existing native code to be run directly from Silverlight
- 64 bit support
- Remote control and media command support
- DataContextChanged event
- In-browser trusted applications
- PivotViewer control
- Power awareness for media apps
Silverlight 5 performance improvements include 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, and reduced network latency by using a background thread for networking.
Silverlight tools improvements include Microsoft Visual Studio profiling support including CPU, memory, thread contention and Visual Studio Team Test support.
Some observers note that Silverlight 5 could be the last major release of the technology. However, Microsoft has committed to support Silverlight 5 until 2021.