Despite the fact that there have been already an amazing amount of blog posts about the Silverlight announcement Microsoft made on the Mix coference in Las Vegas last week I will step into the round dance of blogging about it. Why? Because I realized in discussions that there is already some kind of confusion and uncertainty about the different versions of Silverlight.
People simply sometimes don't understand why there are two announcements at the same time regarding the same technology which are Silverlight 1.0 Beta and Silverlight 1.1 Alpha. And most of the time the difference stated is the fact that the one comes with a Common Language Runtime (CLR) which is capable of executing Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) using its Just In Time compiler (JIT) which compiles the MSIL code into native code. Since obviously this and the direct implication of this great feature is for sure the most important difference there are still a few other implications and facts around the differences between the two. Therefore I quickly compiled a short tabular comparison 1-pager showing some (and for sure not all) differences which should help having a more transparent view on both releases and help making a facts based decision on how to approach them.
If however you have plenty of .Net programming skills and want to benefit from all the good things that is related with .Net programming with respect to a structured development process (yes, definitely I do mean debugging and testing in particular ;)) and you have still some time to finally go into production, which obviously is no big thing in times of perpetual betas all over the place, then you definitely should aim for Silverlight 1.1 Alpha.
So and finally here is the Chart (Click on the picture to get a larger view):