Silverlight 3 Features Announced – One Word…”Wow”

If you’re one of those people who enjoys researching new technologies and staying up with the technology “curve” then you have to be excited about all of the new features announced at the MIX conference this week in Las Vegas.  Whether you’re into IIS 7, ASP.NET, Visual Studio, Silverlight or other .NET technologies, a slew of new announcements were made.  I’m really impressed with the direction Microsoft is going and excited about the new technologies that were announced.

One of the big announcements that should excite anyone interested in building LOB applications is the new Silverlight 3 feature-set.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with Silverlight 3 for awhile now (starting a consulting project based entirely on that version) and it’s great to be able to talk about it since the cat is out of the bag.  Many new features have been announced that raise the bar for Silverlight applications. Tim Heuer has already written up a great blog post about them so I’ll provide a simple overview.  Here are some of the features that I find quite interesting:

  • Out-of-Browser experience – You can now write Silverlight applications that can run directly from the desktop without requiring a browser to be pulled up by the end user.
  • .NET RIA Services – Provides an n-tier application pattern that provides business and data tiers.  Additional features include support for validation logic as well as the ability to work with authentication and roles.
  • New Controls – Several controls are added in Silverlight and in the Silverlight Toolkit that simplify common tasks and really help with navigation between Silverlight pages.
  • Perspective 3D – Although full 3D support (like WPF has) isn’t available in Silverlight, there is support for perspective 3D which can make back to front flipping type animations much easier to do now and allow objects to be placed on a plane.
  • Pixel Shaders – Allows blurs, shadows and other custom affects to be applied to different objects.
  • Text Rendering – Text rendering has been improved and enhanced.  Although the current beta doesn’t support it, ClearType support will be added once Silverlight 3 is officially released.
  • Animation Easing – Lets face it…users like to see cool little animations that don’t get in their way. When a menu slides out an has a slight bouncing effect it looks cool.  Silverlight 3 now has built-in animation easing support for bouncing, elasticity and more.
  • Element-to-Element Binding – Need to bind a property of one object to a property for another object?  You can do that in WPF but Silverlight 2 didn’t support it natively.  Silverlight 3 now provides element-to-element binding so when your slider changes values you can change your rectangle’s colors without writing C# or VB code.
  • Network Status – A new API is available in Silverlight 3 for checking the network status of an application.  This can be really useful in a variety of situations especially with out-of-browser applications.
  • Many more features….



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  • Lack of 64-bit support is my biggest gripe about Silverlight. I would love to create gadgets with Silverlight, but 64-bit machines run the sidebar with the 64-bit version of IE, so Silverlight is a no-go.

    It would also be a nice kick-the-the-pants to Adobe to be the first RIA client in 64-bit.

  • Speednet,

    Yeah...being the first RIA to 64-bit would be cool. :-) But, I suspect they're trying to make sure the core features are all in place first and then move on to some of that 64-bit goodness.

  • Thanks Dan, now you have an excuse to visit us in Hawaii again!!



  • Hey Kevin,

    Great to hear from you....I was actually looking for your email address a few weeks back and must have misplaced it. I think you had mine at one point so send me an email or contact me through the blog email feature if you get a chance.

    As far as coming over again...I'd love to do it again in October or November. I'll have to start talking with people about doing that. :-)


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