Friday, February 29, 2008

Start Learning Silverlight 2.0

Sl_Nebularz Scott Guthrie in his recent blog post First Look at Silverlight 2 shares plenty of information on Silverlight 2.0 whose first public beta will shortly going to be released. This will be a major update which will focuses on enabling Rich Internet Application (RIA) development.

Developers can write Silverlight applications using any .NET language (including VB, C#, JavaScript, IronPython and IronRuby). Silverlight 2 does not require the .NET Framework to be installed on a computer in order to run. The Beta1 release of Silverlight 2 is 4.3MB in size and the download includes everything necessary to enable the following features:

  • WPF UI Framework: Silverlight 2 includes a rich WPF-based UI framework that makes building rich Web applications much easier. In includes a powerful graphics and animation engine, as well as rich support for higher-level UI capabilities like controls, layout management, data-binding, styles, and template skinning. The WPF UI Framework in Silverlight is a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in the full .NET Framework, and enables developers to re-use skills, controls, code and content to build both rich cross browser web applications, as well as rich desktop Windows applications.
  • Rich Controls: Silverlight 2 includes a rich set of built-in controls that developers and designers can use to quickly build applications. This upcoming Beta1 release includes core form controls (TextBox, CheckBox, RadioButton, etc), built-in layout management panels (StackPanel, Grid, Panel, etc), common functionality controls (Slider, ScrollViewer, Calendar, DatePicker, etc), and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, ListBox, etc). The built-in controls support a rich control templating model, which enables developers and designers to collaborate together to build highly polished solutions.
  • Rich Networking Support: Silverlight 2 includes rich networking support. It includes out of the box support for calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS, and standard HTTP services. It supports cross domain network access (enabling Silverlight clients to directly access resources and data from resources on the web). Beta1 also includes built-in sockets networking support.

  • Rich Base Class Library: Silverlight 2 includes a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalization, XML, local storage, etc). It includes rich APIs that enable HTML DOM/JavaScript integration with .NET code. It also includes LINQ and LINQ to XML library support (enabling easy transformation and querying of data), as well as local data caching and storage support. The .NET APIs in Silverlight are a compatible subset of the full .NET Frame work.

Further he builds a Silverlight application - a simple Digg Client and shows how fast it can be done using Silverlight 2.0. And then he provides series of step by step tutorials that drill into and explain the different programming concepts behind it :

The tutorials provides a good overview of the fundamental programming concepts in it with the basic knowledge necessary to start building Silverlight 2 applications with VS 2008 when Beta1 comes out. One of the tutorial also shows how to migrate the application outside of the browser and make it a desktop application using WPF and the full .NET Framework. Excellent way to start learning !

Please check the Scott's Blog Post First Look at Silverlight 2 for details and screenshots.

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