Microsoft lays out Silverlight ambitions

A tool kit for Silverlight 2 includes charting controls

A Microsoft Corp. official cited on Tuesday improvements planned for the company's Silverlight platform for rich Internet applications, including intentions to run Silverlight applications outside of a browser.

This intention was among a list of various software development improvements eyed for Microsoft technologies, all mentioned during a presentation at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. The company also revealed tools geared for cloud services and parallel computing.

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Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the company's developer division, said a "major" release of Silverlight planned for next year includes runtime features, much richer graphics and data support. More media capabilities are planned as well.

Guthrie also said attendees would learn how to run Silverlight inside and outside a browser. This would put Microsoft into the Adobe camp, which enables Internet applications to run outside the browser via Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime).

Also, the planned Visual Studio 2010 development platform will build further on Silverlight, featuring a fully interactive Silverlight designer.

Microsoft, Guthrie said, is shipping a tool kit for Silverlight 2 with such capabilities as charting controls.

Additionally, Guthrie cited the release Tuesday of a WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) tool kit offering support for data grid, date picker and calendar control. Also, Microsoft is offering a WPF ribbon control for the Windows 7, Vista and XP client operating systems. Developers can ribbon-enable their applications, Guthrie said.

Other product efforts mentioned by Guthrie included:

• Availability of Intellisense developer support for the JQuery JavaScript library in Visual Studio.

• Plans for ASP.Net 4.0, which will have substantial improvements to ASP.Net Web Forms, control over the client ID and much richer support for Cascading Style Sheets.

• Plans to have built-in JavaScript debugging and profiles in the Internet Explorer 8 browser.

Microsoft also plans to offer enhancements for the company's newly announced Azure platform for cloud computing and for parallel programming.

The company is announcing Community Technology Previews of Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio and the Live Framework Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio. Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio enables developers to build ASP.Net Web applications hosted by Windows Azure. Developers can develop, debug and deploy Web applications from within Visual Studio.

Featured in Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio is the Windows Azure SDK, including a simulated cloud environment that runs on a developer's machine.

The CTP of Live Framework Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio enables developers to build Web applications using HTML and Microsoft Silverlight that use Live Services. Applications can be published to the company's Live Mesh connectivity platform.

In the parallel computing space, Microsoft is announcing enhancements to make it easier to build applications, including programming models to express concurrency. Tools for parallel programming include .Net Framework libraries like Task Parallel Library and Parallel LINQ (Language Integrated Query). Also, the company is offering its Parallel Pattern Library and Concurrency Runtime for developing applications with C++ and parallel profiling and debugging experiences.

This story, "Microsoft lays out Silverlight ambitions" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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