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Tool Roundup for Silverlight

by James Vastbinder on May 09, 2008 |

Many organizations are evaluating Silverlight for usage within their business applications.  Today official  Microsoft development tool options are Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Blend, but what about other options that are free or open source.

Kaxaml was created by Robby Ingebretsen as an alternative to XAMLPad providing similar functionality and even enhancing the experience by providing a snippet library and XAML scrubber.  With the recent beta release it now supports Silverlight and as a 716K zip download, it has a much smaller footprint than XAMLPad. 

While not a specific tool to assist with building Silverlight applications, over at Toolico.com, the author created a simple, yet powerful Silverlight tool to assist .NET developers with string formatting

Deep Zoom composer is a free tool created by the Live Labs SeaDragon team of Microsoft.  Perhaps the best site to view the results of using the composer can be found at the Hard Rock’s memorabilia site.  Currently there are 257 items located there in a collection of hi-res photos.

Spket IDE is an XML editor that now has support for XAML and JavaScript based on the Silverlight Object Model.  This is a pure editor without WYSIWYG or elaborate preview capabilities.

Moonlight is the Mono based implementation of Silverlight.  At present the Mono team has put much of their work into building LunarEclipse, a Moonlight based XAML editor, which was originally developed by Alan Mcgovern.  They have stated in the past an intention to add code completion to MonoDevelop and projects can currently target the Moonlight runtime.  One advantage of this implementation is that it does not require a host browser as Silverlight does and can run stand-alone.

A major test of Silverlight will come this summer as NBC will base its web site for Olympic coverage on the technology.  NBC is committing to provide over 2,200 hours of interactive video coverage.

This list is admittedly short as Silverlight is in the midst of beta for Silverlight 2.0 to be delivered later this summer. The technology has definitely progressed at a lightning pace in the last year since the release of version 1.0 as companies like AOL, MLB.com, and Cirque du Soleil make technology investments.  However, Microsoft has strong competition from Adobe with both Flex and Air in the Rich Internet Application space. 

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