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Is Silverlight 3 Ready for Business?

Microsoft is expected to launch Silverlight 3 and Expression Blend 3 at an event in the San Francisco Bay Area this Friday. I lived on Russian Hill for four glorious years in the early '90s and I can definitely relate to Jack London's description of his youth in this magnificent city:

"You look back and see how hard you worked and how poor you were, and how desperately anxious you were to succeed, and all you can remember is how happy you were."

As developers "see the light" for the third time and welcome Scott Guthrie and S. "Soma" Somasegar to the Bay Area, it's apropos that the latest version of the technology is officially released in the Paris of the West.

Silverlight 3 finally delivers the goods for enterprise app developers, according to many people who are familiar with the technology. While business applications can be built in Silverlight 2, many developers were still, in effect, rolling their own apps as they dealt with issues such as one-off styles that required repeating a lot of code, observed Tony Lombardo, Microsoft MVP and Infragistics' lead evangelist. "Silverlight 3 allows developers to focus on the business logic layer...and not all the little pieces," he said. "You don't have to write as much code."

Among its new features, Silverlight 3 adds style inheritance through XAML element databinding, which binds properties so that changes are made across elements. It also offers built-in animation-easing functions (BackEase, BounceEase, CircleEase and many more), the ability to simulate 3-D with XAML, Pixel Shaders similar to those found in WPF, and GPU support. You can follow the latest Silverlight and Expression Blend developments on the team blog here.

The out-of-browser support in Silverlight 3 is expected to attract LOB developers. "In the past, developers looked at XBAP deployment or XAML browser application of a WPF app and that blurred the line between 'Is this a Windows client application or is this a Web application?'" Lombardo said. "But that was more about deployment.

"Now, with Silverlight out-of-browser, you are getting a very similar-type blur and that is going to continue to happen. That is a big benefit for a lot of these companies that are investing in Web technologies and want the zero deployment factor of being able to just put an application up and everybody can use it without having to worry about running these installers and doing all the other tasks associated with that."

Microsoft is working hard to make Silverlight 3 the technology of choice for enterprise developers. Is Silverlight 3 a complete platform or are there still areas that Microsoft needs to work on? Express your thoughts on the Web below or drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 07/07/2009

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