Silverlight 3 Released

Today we officially shipped the final release of Silverlight 3.

Silverlight 3 Features

Silverlight 3 is a major update and delivers a ton of new features and capabilities.  Some of the new Silverlight 3 runtime capabilities include:

HD Media

Silverlight 3 now supports hardware graphics acceleration – enabling both video and graphics compositing to be offloaded onto a GPU.  This can dramatically lower CPU usage on a computer, and enables HD video to be played on older low end machines.  You can now deliver and play 1080p HD video experiences over the web.

Silverlight 3 includes new media codec support for H.264 video, AAC audio and MPEG-4 content.  This enables you to easily play and stream media encoded using these standards.  Silverlight 3 also includes raw bitstream audio/video APIs that enable you to create additional codecs (in any .NET language) that support playing any other media format.  Silverlight 3 also adds a variety of additional media features that enable better logging (for media analytics and ad monetization scenarios), provide the ability to disable screen-savers when playing long-form video content, and enable content protection.

IIS Media Services is a free server product that complements Silverlight and provides the ability to efficiently stream media over HTTP.  It enables both on-demand and live HD video to be delivered using “smooth streaming” - which is an adaptive streaming algorithm that can deliver video at bitrates optimized for a client’s network conditions and CPU capabilities.  Check out this demo to see a good example of smooth streaming in action with Silverlight.

The HD support within Silverlight, combined with the Smooth Streaming support of IIS Media Services, enables a dramatically better video experiences on the web.  This past week alone, we’ve had multiple customers broadcast live HD events using Silverlight and smooth streaming (up to 3MBits) including: Wimbledon, the Tour de France, AVP Volleyball, and the Michael Jackson Memorial Service.

Immersive Graphics

The new GPU acceleration capabilities of Silverlight 3 enable even richer and more immersive graphic experiences.

Silverlight 3 also adds new perspective 3D support that can be used with graphic elements, videos and controls.  Silverlight 3 also includes new bitmap and pixel APIs, as well as the ability to create and apply custom pixel shader effects (e.g. blur, dropshadow, swirl, etc) to any image, video element, or control.  Easing support can also now be used to enable more textured motion within animations.

Out of Browser Support

Silverlight 3 enables applications to run outside the browser and taken offline.  Users can safely install web applications on their computers, and create persistent shortcuts to them on the desktop, start menu and taskbar (this is supported on both Windows and the Mac).

New network detection support within Silverlight enables developers to monitor the network status of a machine and switch between offline and online modes within their applications.  Silverlight 3 also includes an automatic update mechanism for applications – so that clients who have installed applications are automatically updated when new application versions are deployed on the originating webserver.

Application Development

Silverlight 3 includes a ton of new application development features.

The Silverlight 3 runtime/SDK combined with the Silverlight Toolkit now includes ~100 UI controls that enable common scenarios (layout, data, charting, child windows, etc) while also providing full styling and template customization support.

Silverlight 3 enables richer data binding features.  Element to element binding support between controls is now enabled.  Validation error template support has been added to controls (enabling better error message display).  Hierarchical data binding is supported by the DataGrid.  And a new DataForm control enables better master/detail scenarios.  Silverlight 3 also now enables SaveFileDialog support.

Silverlight 3 includes a new navigation framework that enables deep-linking and forward/back button integration within the browser.  This also enables search engine optimization (SEO) support so that content within a Silverlight application can be indexed by search engines – including Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Silverlight 3 also supports the ability to cache assemblies on the client, and re-use them across multiple applications (decreasing the download size and improving the startup time of applications).

Silverlight 3 includes much better text rendering and font support.  Text rendered using Silverlight 3 applications is much crisper and cleaner than previous releases, and applications now have access to local fonts.  The Silverlight 3 styling system also now supports merged resource dictionaries, BasedOn style inheritance support, and the ability for styles to be reset any number of times.  Silverlight 3 also adds richer accessibility support, and is the first browser plug-in to provide access to all system colors, allowing partially-sighted people to make changes such as high contrast color schemes for ease of readability using familiar operating system controls.

Silverlight 3 includes richer networking support.  WCF error faults are now supported across the network.  Server-side push duplex support is now easier to setup.  Binary XML serialization of payloads is now supported.  The new .NET RIA Services framework (which now has a go-live license) can be used to easily build multi-tier data applications that span the client and server.  .NET RIA Services enables you to write validation code once and have it applied on both the client and middle-tier layers of your applications.

Visual Studio 2008 Tools for Silverlight 3

Today we are also shipping a free download that enables Silverlight 3 development support for VS 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008 Express (which is free).  The VS 2008 Tools for Silverlight download provides project support, intellisense, compilation, and debugging for Silverlight 3 applications.  The next release of Visual Studio - VS 2010 - will add to this and provide a fully interactive WYSIWYG designer for Silverlight (including data binding support within the designer).

Click here to download the VS 2008 Tools for Silverlight (this will also install the SL3 developer runtime + sdk).  Click here to download the Silverlight Toolkit (which adds additional controls).

Expression Studio 3

Today we are also shipping a release candidate (RC) of Expression Blend 3 (including Sketchflow) that enables rich editing of Silverlight 3 applications and projects. 

You can download the Expression Blend 3 + Sketchflow RC here

Expression Blend 3 is a major update and enables dramatically richer tooling support.  Some of its improvements include:

  • Sketchflow: SketchFlow makes it significantly easier to create prototypes, experiment with dynamic user experiences, and incorporate feedback from customers.  If you haven’t seen or tried it yet - you must.  It really is a game changing new way to create great user centric applications.
  • Intellisense: Blend 3 includes C#, VB and XAML intellisense support.  You can now write code and event handlers within Blend without having to switch to VS. 
  • Behaviors: Blend 3 includes behavior support which can encapsulate complex design interactions into reusable components that can be directly applied to a control within the design surface.  This enables designers to quickly add functionality and behavior to applications without having to write code.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Import: Blend 3 now has built-in support for importing Photoshop and Illustrator files.  As part of the import process you can view and pick individual Photoshop layers to import, customize and regroup layers, and have Photoshop/Illustrator elements retain their original formats within XAML: including layer positions, editable text and font settings, and vector element conversion to XAML.
  • Sample Data: Blend 3 adds design-time sample data support which makes it easy to mock up data-connected applications and see what they look like without requiring access to live data.  You can generate sample data or import sample data from an XML file and it is available to controls on the artboard at design-time. You can customize your sample data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and using live data at run-time.
  • TFS: Blend 3 now includes Team Foundation Server (TFS) support – allowing you to use source control and enlist within projects.  Blend shares the same project and solution format as Visual Studio – allowing both VS and Blend to work simultaneously on the same projects and enabling seamless editing between them.
  • Other Improvements: Additional enhancements including improved animation and easing function support, 3D transform support, visual effects support, and an improved visual state manager designer.

Christian Schormann has a great blog post that describes Expression Blend 3 in more detail. 

The final release of Expression Studio 3 (which includes the Blend + Sketchflow, Web, Encoder and Design products) will ship within the next 30 days.  Expression Studio 3 will be included as part of the MSDN Premium and higher subscriptions (meaning MSDN Premium customers don’t have to pay anything extra to get all of the Expression Studio products).  Expression Studio 3 will also be available for standalone purchase for $599 (with discounts available for upgrades from previous versions of Expression and/or competitive products).


Today’s release is a major update of our Silverlight stack of products – and comes only 9 months after the release of Silverlight 2. 

You can learn more about Silverlight 3 and the tools that go along with it from the below sites:

Hope this helps,



  • This is really exciting! Thank you guys!

    Scott, it would be really nice to have some books published soon. It's always good to have all info at one place that provided step by step but more to details to the end.


  • It's a shame that the installer doesn't work if you have the v2 developer tools installed. Although the error message indicates that "your developer tools are out of date", the link for more information goes to a 404 error page, with no helpful search results from Bing.

  • why it does not support arabic language?

  • Hey, I think this will be great, especially the streaming hd content

  • Congratulation Scott,
    Any news about how to do development in VS2010 beta 1?
    I mean is there any plan of releasing the tools for VS2010 beta 1 or upcoming VS2010 beta 2 [If planned] ?

  • Good stuff! Although I am disappointed Silverlight still does not have a feature to disable the screensaver while playing video. It's the only reason I avoid Silverlight and Flash if I can for long videos.

  • |Google, Bing and Yahoo

    Why isn't Bing first in this listing? You've always got to give yourself top billing! :P

  • Hi Scott, will there be localized versions of Tools & SDK, as with Silverlight 2?!

  • You got a release date on linux support? Ah ... I see :(

  • Are there any updated tutorials for SL3? Especially about the new SL Nav App?

  • Hello Here is Silverlight 2 application.
    When i download Silverlight 3 runtime i have 0x17E0 error.
    I must disabled error management for work properly.

    Is the Silverlight 2 application must be recompile with Silevrlight 3 ?


  • Great News! I like RTM :)

  • Finally we are going to have 3D.

  • Great news!!
    I'm so excited to try HD media on the web.
    It looks great

    thanks for the information and links

  • This p.o.s. cable company disallowed me from sending screen capture video to Microsoft when requesting technical support.

    Even when I broke the it all down to a series of ~11MB files this p.o.s. cable company disallowed me from receiving technical support claiming I had exceeded my monthly file transfer limit despite the fact that we never purchased any type of limited services and our account is supposed to be UNLIMITED.

    This p.o.s. cable company has imposed a 20MB file size limit and also limits the number of files that can be sent using email or FTP.



  • good work, I was looking forward to it for a long time.

  • This is really exciting! Thank you

  • What about Silverlight version for mobiles? Is there any release date planned?

  • Does silverlight 2 support adaptive streaming?

    It's confusing because the beta 2 says it had some support for it, but it apperas only SL3 has adaptive streaming?

  • So I was at the Silverlight website and followed the getting started video.
    The video references the Expression Blend tool. This looks like a standard
    control design tool similar to what you see in Visual Studio. I looked for
    the option by right clicking on the XAML file. No Expression Blend. It did
    not get downloaded with Silverlight. Yet is is part of Silverlight. I also
    notice a 'DOWNLOAD FREE TRIALS' button and a 'REGISTER PRODUCT' botton for
    the downloads.

    OK I'm confused. Is this version of Microsoft Expression Blend 3 something
    other than just a graphical interface that should be standard in an IDE for
    Silverlight development in Visual Studio?

    Is there a version of this Blend product available to developers using Visual
    Studio 2008 that does not cost an additional fee? I can't believe that MS
    would sink so low as to add charges for an add on development tool and make
    the rest of us who want to learn Silverlight code attributes on controls in
    the blind.

    If this is true I won't even bother with Silverlight right now. I could care
    less who wins the graphics add-on war but i'm not going to encourage nickel
    and diming of open source development tools. A lot of us are out of work trying
    to learn .NET and ramp up older legacy skills. Seeing charges for tools that
    are similar to what I already get in Visual Studio 2008 is nuts.

  • HD demo not working, says its not hosted on IIS 7?

  • Are you thinking about implementing Microphone (VOIP!) and Webcam into Silverlight the future?

  • You may think about integrating a global context menu (right mouse click) like in Flash and extend the cursor collection in the next version of Silverlight (4.0). You may allow to define custom cursors via xaml.

  • Hi Scott,
    I have implemented a Security layer for SL2, that allows to authenticate users with AD LDS, and manage roles and operations with AzMan. I would like to build a new version of this with Federated Services.
    I want to pass from this standard RBAC implementation to a Claims-based implementation, and enable SSO.
    Unfortunately, SL does not recognize WSFederationHttpBinding bindings.
    So, what is your vision of the Security for Silverlight? Do you have any recommendations?
    What is the pipe of the next versions since Geneva is in Beta 2, and we have not seen too much on the Security side for Silverlight?
    Thank you,

  • You have nicely explained the feature SilverLight has. Thanks for such post.

  • Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your hard work. I am pretty excited about Silverlight 3 and have been looking at a number of videos to try to learn as fast as possible. RIA looks great. Do you have any recommended readings on incorporting SQL stored procedures into RIA? I would appreciate it.

  • Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your post. This article looks great.

  • So cool, very excited

  • Current News Trends use silverlight 3,new develop platform

  • Thanks,I try to learn Silverlight:)

  • I dabbled a little bit in Silverlight and encountered some strange decisions on the datagrid functionalities like missing double click and not being caught by the keydown event handler. Any ideeas if those will be addressed in the near future? Or was is added with SL3?

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