How to be a Silverlight Samurai at Microsoft Tech Days

Silverlight, Microsoft’s answer to Flash, was front and centre at day two of Microsoft Tech Days, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Where the first iteration of Silverlight was “all about media,” Silverlight 2 focuses on a rich user interface experience. The previous version required developers to write their own interfaces, but the new version has controls, data binding, XMLAPIs, and the ability open a web service from right within a Silverlight app. Unlike Flash, tyou don’t need to lear Actionscript (it’s all .NET) and unlike AJAX, Silverlight can provide a much richer experience on the web. Just for demonstration purposes, some quickly-written code and some controls were cobbled togwther onstage, reulting in one video playing while another video played from within outlined text.

Silverlight also exists in a browser sandbox, and extends in a secure way, through its ability to access local storage using a system similar to cookies. It also recognizes Flash “policy files” which ensure privacy in Flash environments. Silverlight also reads XML, and allows users to convert XML data into .Net objects. Layout is also fully extensible, and Silverlight can also data bind (one way, two way, and one time). Search functions and interface animation are also now possible to add via coding.

While a launch date for Silverlight 3 hasn’t been announced yet, there will be sessions for Mix 2009, scheduled for this March in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Silverlight has been implemented in the real world to power online video for the Beijing Olympics, Major League Baseball, and most recently, at President Obama’s inauguration.