back to article Silverlight 2 beta 2 - Go Live if you dare

Microsoft has released beta 2.0 of Silverlight 2.0, complete with a Go-Live license that permits commercial deployments for those sufficiently brave. Silverlight 2.0 is the make-or-break release for Microsoft's would-be Flash killer, since it includes the .NET runtime. While .NET has succeeded as a web platform, it has never …


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  1. OffBeatMammal
    Thumb Up

    Hard Rock

    if you've not seen it there's a great Silverlight 2 Beta 2 sample at

  2. Brett Weaver
    Thumb Up

    Good Article

    Interesting article. We need better 4GL tools for .Net and this seems to be opening the door.

    As for the comment at the end of the article:

    "In short: good work from Microsoft, spoiled by missing pieces and installation hassles"

    You have to say that this is BAU for MS.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    "better" feature this time around?!?

    So supposedly silverlight has 'better video handling'. How is not being able to fullscreen on any monitor other than your primary monitor 'better video handling'?? Perhaps they can better their better from the last go at it! Good thing its required to watch high quality video on I pay an extra 30 bux a year and cant choose what screen to put my video on? Sure glad I bought 3 19" LCD. Naturally the dev newsgroups suggest that "this behavior is by design"

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Wonderful example of Microsoft's DataGrid

    The astute person with knowledge of San Francisco area codes will note that MUCH of the example is WAY out of date:

    Palo Alto isn't in the 415 area code (it has been 650 for a few years)

    Berkeley isn't in the 415 area code (it was changed to 510 WAY back in the early 90's)

    Menlo Park has never been in the 408 area code. It is 650 now, but was 415 before that!

    You would think that those Microsoft people could get things correct. Then again, their understanding of 1900 as a leap year (or not) makes them pretty old in the tooth. Yes, I know they don't want to give out real phone numbers (why not Bill's home phone?) as they might be called, but how about area codes that match the geographics. Of course they could be challanged in this area (which state has Springfield?).

    Out the door, my coat has the title "trivia master" on it.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Silverlight = FAIL

    Title says it all.

  6. Tim Anderson

    Sample data

    > The astute person with knowledge of San Francisco area

    > codes will note that MUCH of the example is WAY out of date

    The astute person with knowledge of SQL Server will recognize the pubs database that is indeed ancient - but that was my choice, not Microsoft's; I just picked the first data that came to hand :-)


  7. Steve

    3 Points

    1) It's beta

    2) .Net, including WPF is included with Vista which has a rather large audience

    3) MS are drip-feeding the Sliverlight client via Windows Updates as optional

    The rather fast development and apparent "enthuasium" is already taking shape. Problem is that Flash has been heavily invested within the web for decades. Nearly every PC has it installed, and a decent percent of sites use it to some degree. (Even if it's just Ad's)

    Linux has been around for well over a decade (1992?) and still has a small desktop share. The fact that Silverlight already has this much interest and is being deployed (stupidly IMHO - it's a 1.0 MS release afterall) is something of a feat after just 14 months.

    Impressive, but quite obviously some way to go.

    5 years and I personally think we'll be seeing a more balanced RIA plug-in playing field on the net. Silverlight and Flash. Won't happen overnight, but I don't think 5 years is unreasonable.

  8. Roger Heathcote
    Jobs Horns

    Good market share...

    Well when you're Microsoft you can leverage your other assets to simply TAKE market share. I was interested to note how silverlight has been getting pushed via microsofts website. Initially it was in tiny letters on the updates page but as I'm sure many of you have noticed for some time now when you visit microsoft's website the browser window darkens and it pops up asking permission to install Silverlight.

    Given that Vista users are pretty used to seeing UAC I'd expect most of them to have picked up the Screen Goes Dark / Click Yes meme so I can confidently infer many people are installing it without the faintest clue what it even is.

    Yes Microsoft is getting silverlight on peoples computers and I'm sure the adoption graphs look very impressive but I'm equally sure it's not primarily because it's good. How many sites and developers run with it is will be the real guage of its success.

    I can't see a pressing / functional need for it yet and I'm certainly not going to install it until there's some truly compelling apps for it but, having said that, I suppose it's good that there's someting out there to keep Adobe on their toes!

    Roger Heathcote

  9. David
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft Silverlight

    Microsoft... Silverlight...

    Give me a break. The Web is the platform and Microsoft has been left behind.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Heres hoping...

    Flash wins this war. It's bad enough having to put up with flash at the best of times, but not having access to websites cause I dont use windows is just plain ridiculous.

    It should be illegal for non cross platform web plugins. The internet has always been cross platform, microsoft are fucking tools for trying to make it windows only.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Mac support Intel only

    Since SilverLight v1.1, it only runs on Intel Macs. (The installer runs on PPC machines long enough to tell you it won't install.)

    This raises an interesting dilemma especially for people targeting education users as there's a LOT of legacy hardware out there, including my beloved Powerbook 12" for traveling. claims there's an installed base of about 7.5 million Macs that are five years old or less.

  12. joe

    who cares?

    If it comes from ms it will only run properly (loose use of the word) on MS windows. I have a Mac/Linux/Solaris how do i develop Notsobright on these platforms? MS .NET development tools only run on; guess what? Windows. I wonder how well it runs in FF vs IE? At least you generally know where you stand with Adobe.

    Another tool to propagate the monopoly.

    I'll pass and so should you.

  13. Adam White

    RE Silverlight 2 beta 2 - Go Live if you dare

    "...Important controls like the DataGrid are not part of the core set, but bundled into your application, which means that users will typically end up with multiple copies..."

    It's like deja vu all over again!

  14. Anonymous Coward


    evil, fanbouy blah, blah blah....

  15. Joe K
    Gates Horns

    "Tires hard against Adobe"

    Tires hard indeed.

    Its like watching a child trying to push a mountain over.

    All a little silly, a bit sad, and certain to go nowhere fast.

  16. ben


    Thanks OffBeatMammal that crashed my browser.

    "if you've not seen it there's a great Silverlight 2 Beta 2 sample at"

  17. Mark Land

    open vs not

    "Leaving aside issues about proprietary versus open on the web" - for me that's the crux. Even if Silverlight makes it to Linux, to trust MS to not again try and subvert the web aka. ActiveX, JScript, JavaVM and IE6? I feel the future is with Open free Software, whether it's on Linux, free BSD, OS X. Anything that is closed is (i hope) doomed to fail. Most of the Web is still run on Apache, interesting that Silverlight runs on Apache, but cannot run on Linux on the client - there is a clue there somewhere!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Silverlight will fail

    No PPC support for OSX, No native Linux support, etc. Flash runs on everything from mobiles, tablets, any version of MacOS or Windows and even on retro OS's! Microsoft has enough trouble even getting users running upto date version of their products including notably Windows itself, so they stand no chance here.

    Also I spend hours daily on the Internet, and in my years of Internet usage I haven't encountered a single website with it, atleast MS got IE dependancy right by ensuring all Web Devs supported non-HTML compliant IE proprietary code so people were often forced to use it, but no one has any real reason to even install Silverlight!

    I'm placing bets on how long till it fades into the background!

  19. Thomas

    Does the cross-platform support include...

    ... forcing Microsoft's usual extreme font hinting and approximate or non-existent pair kerning onto platforms that otherwise print text properly?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    why is it i need another range of plugins?

    So after years trying to get adobe to support flash on Linux (just the player) and their refusal to support 64bit linux ... now i have another reason why i dont visit site yet another proprietary plugin.

    As a web developer and often the most senior technical person on any given project, i already advise against flash unless its something that really needs it (only because you cannot guarantee 100% availability). So telling people not to waste their time with another late market entry will be no more trouble.

    As for Air... WTF... can we have some decent names please!

    How about the reg running a pole for more appropriate names as Air, Silverlight and even Flash dont live up their name!!

  21. The Aussie Paradox
    Paris Hilton


    Don't forget the 1 Terabyte install for .NET (I know, I have been told a million times, don't Exaggerate. At least it's not by much this time).

    Paris, cause she isn't a bloated install.

  22. Kevin Bailey


    A 'web' technology which will not work on all web browsers!

    I would think that it's another attempt to try to keep the monopoly position - but it's probably just microsofties not getting it yet that the web is the platform.

  23. Chris

    Mono and Moonlight

    I dislike MicroSoft for a number of reasons, but to those saying this is Intel or Windows only, check out Moonlight from Novell. It's part of the Mono project, and is quickly catching up with the new features in Silverlight 2.0. I'm currently running Mono, monodevelop (a pretty decent IDE) and the Moonlight code on a PowerPC Mac running Linux - a pretty obscure platform by most peoples standards. As a Java programmer at work, I'm quite enjoying the opportunity to play with MicroSoft's reinventions of both Java and Flash without having to resort to running Windows. The best part is that MS have been able to learn from some of the less successful bits of Java (I don't know anything about Flash development so can't comment on that), and I'm amused that WPF essentially reinvents the Swing approach to rendering along with a Mozilla XUL like approach to describing an interface.

  24. Jax

    I has a title

    I wouldn't say that .NET on the desktop has failed to impress.

    While usage statistics are difficult to get due to the applications not being online i'd still think that a huge number of WinForm apps are running successfully within a lot of business environments. I'd also suggest that Mac probably isn't gaining much ground in the business market which is where most of the custom .NET apps live.

    GDI+ ain't perfect but it certainly isn't slow, granted, it's STA nature means it's not going to get any quicker seeing as we don't improve the performance of single cores any more, but i've never had any performance woe with it.

    Infact I see a number of jobs for real-time trading with WinForm and .NET and that's probably as much as you're ever going to want to thrash the UI (unless you're doing some serious custom graphics stuff, but in that case use DirectX instead!). The default controls are reasonably primative but they are flexible enough to roll your own prettiness.

    The main things that WPF solves are things like flow layout, some development issues (Dependancy properties help address conflicting properties mayhem), scaling and transparency.

    Helps make things pretty but there is usually more money in just getting things done.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "...Important controls like the DataGrid are not part of the core set, but bundled into your application, which means that users will typically end up with multiple copies..."

    So another dog's dinner from MS then...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Re:Aussie Parradox

    .NET 2 framework comes in a compressed package of 22MB.

    I'm sure it expands considerably, but as Microsoft Bloat goes, I think .NET is actually a bit of a lightweight.

  27. Andy Livingstone


    In the headline is it tires as in exhausted or tires as in American?

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Mono is a false hope. What works now, is great, for now. But Microsoft's past behaviour has shown that even if a 3rd party makes a compatible client/application, Microsoft don't hestitate to update it and break anything but their proprietary version. When i said in my previous post that there's no native support for Linux, i used the wrong word, i meant theres no official support for Linux (or PPC OSX).


    - What browsers is it bundled with? IE doesn't include it.

    - What incentive is there to use it? Because MS says its the bestest eva omg!?

    - What notable websites except their own even use the technology?

    Also people are forgetting the minor detail that the future HTML spec includes support for Flash-like functionality built into the browser, so soon, even the necessity for such software will have become a lot more redundant.

  29. John Swainston
    Gates Halo

    Silverlight - Not perfect, but a huge potential developer base

    I've just got back from TechEd in Orlando, and whilst I agree with the author that Silverlight does need ironing out in its current form, I wouldn't be as quick as some here have done to condem it to failure.

    At TechEd Microsoft put in a HUGE amount of effort promoting Silverlight and XAML, whether it was using it with mobile devices, standard web, or integrating it with sharepoint etc. etc. I think at any one one of the sessions there was a choice to do something Silverlight related, and in the sponsors area Silverlight was being pushed by the component vendors.

    Whether it is as "good" as Flash or not, the fact will be that in future service packs to visual studio every MS developer will end up with a development platform for Silverlight, in a famliar .Net programming environment. I don't know what size this user base is, but I'd bet that the avalability of the tools to such a large user base will go a long way to getting traction for Silverlight.

    Undoubtedly there will also be some clever marketing/promotion to gain adoption of Silverlight (such as some high quality streaming Olympic coverage if I can remember correctly), and I wouldn't be surprised if MSN and Hotmail start using it at some point (as have MSDN in beta).

    Whether it's another ActiveX remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be so hasty to write off Silverlight so soon given the backing and the developer base.

  30. Mark Rendle
    Gates Halo

    Negative nancies

    God, you anti-Microsoft people can be wilfully stupid in your desperation to bitch.

    Silverlight is cross-platform: Windows and (Intel) Macs, and Moonlight on Linux.

    Silverlight is cross-browser on those platforms.

    Silverlight does not require the entire .NET framework; it is a self-contained subset of .NET, and a bloody impressive one at that, considering the size.

    Silverlight is source-compatible with much of the standard .NET framework, allowing you to reuse code from projects targeting Windows, ASP.NET, etc.

    Silverlight's graphics and text-rendering are WPF, which is *awesome*. Text rendering is especially good, with sub-pixel kerning and anti-aliasing built in.

    Silverlight is language-independent; you can create applications in any CLR compliant language, which by the end of this year includes Python and Ruby on top of C#, F#, Javascript, VB.NET (spit)... (but hey, if you love ActionScript, stick with Flash).

    I'm not entirely sure why I'm even bothering with this. Fact is, Silverlight is going to enable a whole new level of RIA, and if you want to reject the tools without thinking, or miss out on the end products because you hate Bill /that much/, then that's your perogative. The rest of us won't miss you.

  31. Gilgamesh

    SL _should_ be a Flash killer but it's almost dead in the water

    SilverLight is beautiful, delightful to use, works from ANY webserver and offers a range of services, functionality and client/server integration that Flash can only dream of. So why is it going to fail? Because MS are leaking what should be Alpha versions onto the net and promoting it (like the original AJAX extensions) in a way that suggests it's a developer's weekend hobby project that the marketing department have suddenly gained an interest in.

    So instead of proper databinding, version 1 has Flashy (note capitalisaton) video processing and filters. Instead of datagrids we get arty-farty 3D image galleries. Instead of a usable presentation layer for server-side code we get silly pointy-clicky-drag-round-the-screen-ooh-it-looks-like-we're-in-Torchwood navigation that no one really needs.

    Make it run on Windows Mobile, release some FREE tools for C# SilverLight development, give us a WYSIWYG XAML editor, let me create Silverlight assemblies in VS2005, stop releasing half-arsed betas and promote SilverLight as a serious competitor to Flash and it could (and should) find a very good share of the market. As things stand, it'll be dead within 18 months. And deservedly so. Because it sucks. Big time.

  32. Wombat

    Yicky Silverfish is not a web standard

    Microsoft should implement real web standards from the W3C in Internet Explorer so that everyone in the world is free to publish information using standards.

    Silverfish is not an open standard. Yiick!!! I hate it!!!

  33. Tim Anderson

    Silverlight does not require the full .NET runtime

    > Don't forget the 1 Terabyte install for .NET

    Just to be clear: I didn't forget it, it is not required. The cut-down .NET runtime is within the small download, less than 5MB.


  34. Billy Verreynne

    @mark: Silverlight is cross-platform? Bullshit!

    This web page says it all:

    Microsoft is *KNOWN* for wanting to screw over anything non-Windows. They are *KNOWN* for trying to bind developers and users to Windows only.

    Hell, they have been found *GUILTY* in courts of law because of this!

    And now you come with this bullshit that Silverlight will be cross platform. That Microsoft will not try to screw non-Windows platforms and non-Explorer browsers?

    In what la-la land do you live mate?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Crossplatform cross browser? Yeah, right!

    You call people who criticise it stupid yet you don't even have all the facts! Lets look at the -facts- for Silverlight 2.0 vs Flash 9.

    Supported Platforms:

    Flash - Most Linux distros, PPC and Intel Mac OS (7-X), Windows 98-Vista, Redhat, Solaris, SUSE (also has other Linux distros it works with)

    Silverlight - Windows 2000-Vista, Intel Mac OSX

    Supported Browsers:

    Flash - Opera (all platforms), Safari (all platforms), Firefox (all platforms), Internet Explorer

    Silverlight - Internet Explorer, Firefox (WIndows/Intel Mac OSX), Safari (Intel Mac OSX)

    Minimum System Requirements:

    Flash - Windows: Pentium 2 450Mhz, Mac OS PPC: G3 500Mhz, Intel: 1.33ghz, Linux: 800mhz Modern Processor

    Silverlight - Windows: X86 or x64 500Mhz, Mac OS PPC: Unsupported, Intel: 1.83ghz, Linux: No official support

    Flash also already has existing support in various mobile and tablet devices, Silverlight currently has none. With Flash in use on "98.8% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices." (source:, having a greater number of users than even Java.

    Official Flash development tools exist on Windows and Mac OS 7-X. Silverlight only has official tools for Windows currently.

    Flash has probably millions of websites (including a large portion of well known/commonly used ones) which use it, including a large portion of commercial/business websites. Silverlight has what, a couple dozen, with Microsoft the only well known website to support it?

    I rest my case! Silverlight will be 0wn3D! :D

  36. Neil
    Gates Halo

    Oh yeah, flash is ubiquitous

    Last night I was sat in my lounge, and decided to use my Wii to peruse some Flash based video site. But it didnt work - the flash version was incompatible. Tried same on my PS3 - same result. Tried again on my Archos 605, which supposedly supports Flash 9 - ditto.

    Silverlight might not support as many platforms as Flash on paper, but at least it will work on the ones they do list! And Flash doesnt support 64Bit IE, which is nice of them, which means I end up switching browsers on Vista 64 as I wait for Adobe to add another partially supported platform to their list - hurray for ubiquity.

    Once MS irons out the current mess of getting set up to develop for Silverlight (and hopefully brings more parity between Desktop WPF and Silverlight WPF) I see a great future. Until then, it's the fact that its so damn difficult to set up properly for the people who want to be developing for it that is holding back the number of "killer apps". Ultimately neither will "win" anything, but competition is always good. If MS put a nice thing in Silverlight, maybe Adobe will see it and pop in something similar in Flash, and vice versa.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    kick up the pants for Flash ?

    Personally I like the idea of a dedicated environment for graphic design and a seperate, quality IDE for coding. Flash is complete crap in this respect, and has long outgrown the confines of the original FutureSplash editor, which Flash CS3 isn't _so_ different from. Since ActionScript is now (or pretends to be) a fully fledged OO language, it is about time that Adobe took the same approach as with Flex and provide an Eclipse (or, better, NetBeans) plug in. Maybe Silverlight will at least do us the good turn of persuading Adobe to try somewhat harder to offer quality development tools.

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