In the //Build/, Mike Downey demonstrated the key technologies that are employed by developers to create advanced media rich applications using Windows 8.
Microsoft closed the official Silverlight resource site and redirected it to the MSDN developer center spreading rumours about the end of Silverlight.
Math.NET recently released numerics library with improved F# including support for Windows Phone 8 and vector slicing.
ComponentOne has released Studio Enterprise 2012 V3 with new controls for Windows 8, WinRT and existing control suites with support for localization RTF and Visual Studio 2012.
An updated version of the Async Targeting Pack now provides asynchronous features to Silverlight 4 and Windows Phone 7.5. It also provides Portable Class Libraries targeting any of the supported platforms, including Silverlight 5 and .NET Framework 4.0.
Microsoft announced the new Async Targeting Pack for Visual Studio 11 Beta, which will allow developers to use asynchronous programming features in .NET 4 or Silverlight 5 applications. These features were previously provided in the Async CTP, which is now deprecated.
Silverlight for Embedded is not based on .NET; it is a native technology that is programmed with XAML and C++. But it isn’t Windows 8/WinRT either, as it has full access to the underlying hardware and Win32 APIs.
The DependencyProperty and DependencyObject which form the building blocks for most XAML features come with a performance cost. An MSDN article “Optimizing C# for XAML Platforms” discusses this in detail along with ways to minimize its impact.
Undo and Redo are commands that are commonly expected by end users and, when well implemented, can improve an application's usability significantly. At least two libraries exist that can help WPF and Silverlight developers for this purpose - a recently announced Undo-Redo framework from Infragistics (CTP) and an open source library called Undo.
Silverlight was originally seen as a Flash killer, but Flash itself is being replaced by HTML5. It was also seen as a way of delivering cross-platform applications, but iOS made that a non-starter as well. Surprisingly it is thriving in areas that were supposed to be the domain of WPF such as internal business applications and Silverlight 5’s updated security model reflects this.
PhoneGap now supports all native functionality on Windows Phone 7 being on par with iOS and Android.
Silverlight 5 has finally been released by Microsoft, with a lot of new features such as full 3d stack with XNA Libraries, several binding related enhancements, unrestricted File System access and more.
Microsoft had a great vision for Silverlight, a framework and a set of tools that would dominate the web development landscape, but it fell short of that. There are rumors there won’t be any Silverlight 6. If that happens, how easy is for the Silverlight developer to transition to WinRT? Some numbers show that it is pretty easy.
Microsoft has released the WCF Data Services October CTP, which targets .NET 4 and Silverlight 4. This update includes new libraries for OData version 3, and adds support for spatial data.
Though it has been hard, we have been trying to avoid reporting on rumors about the death of Silverlight for quite some time. As in all things, rumors tend to be exaggerated or out-right false. Unfortunately the end of Silverlight is no rumor; if Microsoft doesn’t change course it, as well as Flash and other plugin technologies, will be effectively unusable when Windows 8 is released.