Microsoft Scores for Developers, Designers with Silverlight 3

Microsoft delivers Silverlight 3 and Expression 3, the latest versions of the company's RIA and Web development and design platform.

Microsoft has delivered Microsoft Silverlight 3 and Expression 3, the latest versions of the company's rich Internet application and Web development and design platform, with the goal of more seamlessly integrating designer/developer workflow, among other benefits.

Microsoft officially launched Silverlight 3 on July 10. However, Expression 3 will be available within the next 30 days, including a free, 60-day trial version available at A release candidate of Expression Blend 3 with its new SketchFlow technology is available now for download.

In blog posts, conference presentations and briefings, Microsoft officials have offered a deeper view into many of the components in the new versions of Silverlight and Expression.

"Silverlight 3 and Expression Studio 3 both provide a great deal of value for both the end user and the developer audiences, and we're really excited that everyone can now take advantage of the latest advancements," said Brian Goldfarb, director of developer platforms at Microsoft. "End users and developers alike will appreciate the support for higher-quality video and audio in Silverlight 3. For example, with Smooth Streaming online video will just work like it should, as it adjusts the quality of the video to the user's bandwidth, rather stuttering or stopping altogether."

S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said, "Some of Silverlight 3's new features and improvements include support for running Silverlight applications out of the browser, H.264/AAC/MP4 media playback, GPU support, pixel APIs including pixel shaders, perspective 3D, local messaging between Silverlight applications, an improved business object framework, SEO support and better text quality. Combined with continued innovation in Visual Studio and Expression Blend, Silverlight 3 empowers .NET developers to create cutting-edge Rich Internet Applications and media experiences."

Further, Somasegar said, "The Out of Browser support in Silverlight 3 enables developers to create Silverlight applications which can run both inside and outside of the browser."

In a separate blog post, Somasegar said:

"With version 3, Silverlight rounds out a feature list that delivers innovation and benefits to key areas of rich internet applications, including:??Ç Support for true high definition video??Ç Improved line of business support, including data validation and element-to-element databinding??Ç Pixel shaders for deeper rendering control??Ç More than 90 controls and themes, with source code and unit tests for many of them in the Silverlight Toolkit"

And, describing new 3D-enabling technology in Silverlight 3, Somasegar said:

"Perspective 3D support in Silverlight allows developers to use 2D elements to create a 3D experience. Perspective 3D is also a great way to better utilize screen real estate. Let's look at a simple image viewing application to demonstrate how you can use perspective 3D for both improved visual appearance and better utilization of the screen. Rather than show just one image at a time, we'll show one primary image in full resolution and a couple more on either side in a perspective view."

Somasegar also describes new data binding improvements in Silverlight 3. "ElementName binding allows developers to bind one UIElement to another in XAML [Extensible Application Markup Language] instead of having to write event handlers," he said. "In Silverlight 3, there's a new property called ElementName on the Binding class. When ElementName is set, the binding engine uses the specified element as the source for this binding."