Microsoft today officially launched the latest version of its Silverlight web application framework, featuring out-of-browser capabilities, graphics improvements and GPU acceleration.
Silverlight 3 includes several media enhancements, including support for native H.264/Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Audio, live and on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming, full HD (720p+) playback, and extensible media format support.
There are also new features to boost rich internet application (RIA) development productivity, including support for deep linking, SEO improvements, and "over 60 high-quality, fully skinnable and customisable out-of-the-box controls" such as autocomplete, treeview and datagrid, said Microsoft.
Also touted are Silverlight's out-of-browser capabilities, which enable Silverlight apps to work whether the computer is internet-connected or not. And there are new 3D graphics, text rendering and animation capabilities to enable developers to create richer experiences, said Microsoft.
The firm unveiled a beta of Silverlight 3 in March at its MIX09 developer conference in Las Vegas, but today sees the official launch of Microsoft's rival to Adobe's Flash ecosystem.
Tony Baer, senior analyst with Ovum, argued that the development of Silverlight is part of the tit-for-tat battle between Microsoft and Adobe over "who can deliver the most vivid rich media capabilities".
My view is that Silverlight 3 is an incremental development in this ongoing battle," he added.
"The bigger trend at hand is that of course Microsoft is trying to keep .NET developers from having to use a competitor’s framework to design rich internet pages, while Adobe is trying to do the opposite from their base in the design world."
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