Home Remember Silverlight? Version 3 Launch and Features

Remember Silverlight? Version 3 Launch and Features

Microsoft’s Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 were released on July 9th to favorable reviews. The original Silverlight shipped in Fall 2007 as Microsoft’s first programmable web browser plug-in. It’s a 4MB Flash/Flex competitor that runs on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, and mobile devices. While Flash definitely holds the market share for machine installs, according to Microsoft, “In less than nine months since its release, more than 1 in 3 Internet devices now have Silverlight 2 installed.”

While this market penetration may seem high to some, the fact that Silverlight does not have widespread name recognition is perhaps a testament to the seamlessness of the service. In it’s third iteration, Silverlight 3 offers some interesting new features including the following improvements:

1. Streaming Support: Silverlight changes and adapts the video quality of a media file based on available bandwidth and CPU conditions in order to deliver an optimized viewing experience. This provides support for live and on-demand true HD (720p+) streaming. Video giant Netflix first employed the platform in 2007 to power its instant viewing service. With the new streaming support, the only thing holding back HD video sites is their own limited catalogues.

2. Sketchflow: Expression Studio’s SketchFlow allows for rapid user interface prototyping. This means that concepts and projects can evolve seamlessly without the need for lengthy redesigns. Developers are also able to apply their sketches to a 3D plane and add animation and annotations to them. Designers and developers are reporting that Sketchflow cuts down mock up times significantly.

3. Out-of-browser Capabilities: Similar to Adobe’s AIR and Mozilla’s Prism, Silverlight enables applications to be placed in a restricted store on a users machine. Users are then provided a direct link to the application from their desktop or start menu. Silverlight also tests for a network connection and automatically syncs and stores files depending on that connection. This ensures point back up.

One of Silverlight 3’s early projects is French-based Eeple’sBoard. The project was started by a 19-year-old computer science student and is a virtual cork board with pictures, posters and articles. As with a real cork board, messages and notes can be layered to produce a media collage. In this case, the media includes videos, blog posts and music files.

A year ago, Silverlight’s penetration was 17%, today it’s at a third of all users. Compared to the 99% market penetration of Flash 9 and 86% penetration of Flash 10, this is extremely low. It will be interesting to see if Silverlight 3’s features will increase the rate of adoption. Partnerships will certainly play a key role in how the market is carved out in the years to come.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.