Minor Update of Silverlight 5 Issued in Tuesday Patch

This latest build is the first update since Silverlight 5 was released in December 2011.

In case you missed it, Microsoft rolled out a minor refresh of Silverlight 5 this week as part of its Tuesday, May 8th patch delivered via Windows Update.

The Silverlight 5.1.10411.0 updates, described by Microsoft as "functional, performance, reliability and security improvements" are backwards compatible with existing applications, according to the company.

Among the fixes outlined by Microsoft:

  • Security issue 2636927 MS12-034
  • "Best Effort" Silverlight Digital Rights Management (DRM) Output Protection
  • Updates to out-of-browser apps using elevated trust in browsers
  • Persistent license acquisition for SL5 upgrades
  • Crashes caused by some character combinations
  • Access Violation described on Connect
  • Blank window in plug-in after installing font beginning with "&"
  • Content inhibited by Output Protection
  • Hardware ID mismatch errors related to Silverlight DRM

This latest build is the first update since Silverlight 5 was released in December 2011. Silverlight 5 is a major release, but it's marked by uncertainty about the technology's future given the company's shift towards HTML5/JavaScript with Windows 8.

At the time of the Silverlight 5 release, Microsoft said it was a strategic technology for client apps in and out of the browser, apps on devices (Windows Phone and Windows Embedded) and media solutions. Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for the Windows 8 desktop will be compatible with Silverlight, according to Microsoft. The IE10 "Metro-style enabled for desktop" browser designed for the Windows Runtime will not support browser plug-ins, however. Silverlight 5 is supported in IE on Vista and Windows 7, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, according to Microsoft.

Windows Phone 7.5 (formerly code-named "Mango") is based on Silverlight 4 and remains a distinct platform. According to unconfirmed reports, Microsoft is shifting its development platform for Windows Phone 8. The Visual Studio 11 beta does not currently support Windows Phone development (but it does support Silverlight projects). Microsoft will support Windows Phone development in Visual Studio 11 by the time the IDE is released to manufacturing, according to Larry Lieberman, a senior product manager at Microsoft, who was formerly a lead program manager at Nokia.

In a Windows Phone Developer blog in April, Lieberman addressed the future of Silverlight for Windows Phone:

We've also heard some developers express concern about the long term future of Silverlight for Windows Phone. Please don't panic; XAML and C#/VB.NET development in Windows 8 can be viewed as a direct evolution from today's Silverlight. All of your managed programming skills are transferrable to building applications for Windows 8, and in many cases, much of your code will be transferrable as well. Note that when targeting a tablet vs. a phone, you do of course, need to design user experiences that are appropriately tailored to each device.

Many developers have questioned whether Microsoft will invest in upgrading the Silverlight platform. The company has not confirmed plans to deadend the technology.

With the release of Silverlight 5, Microsoft outlined its Support Lifecycle policy. Microsoft will provide support through Oct. 12, 2021 for Silverlight 5 in the browsers listed here, or for the lifecycle of those browsers, whichever period is shorter. The company has also pledged to provide 12 months notice before discontinuing support for Silverlight 5.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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