According to Scott Guthrie, Microsoft is seeing a steady increase in the download rate of Silverlight which is currently an impressive 1.5 Million downloads a day and rising. Check out Scott's Blog for a First Look at Silverlight 2.0.
Scott announced that Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 is available today. In addition the betas for Expression Blend and Silverlight Tools Beta 1 for Visual Studio are also available for download. And while you are at it you may as well go check out the videos, tutorials and hands-on labs as well.
Scott demonstrated the improvements in the area of rich media. Silverlight 2.0 has built in bit rate selection and the ability to dynamically switch bit rates based on network response times. This significantly improves the streaming and progressive download experience and eliminates a good deal of buffering.
Also demonstrated was the release of tools to allow for the easy creation of Silverlight based Ads. A new project template for Visual Studio was demonstrated that makes the creation of Silverlight based banner ads straight forward. Also demo'ed were features of Expression Encoder that allowed for the import and placement of of XAML based ad overlays into video streams.
DoubleClick announced support for Silverlight 2.0. Instantiate the DoubleClick Ad component in your code behind, set the Ad Tag and define event handlers that then allow you to do anything you want as the video is streaming. Available in H2/08.
Perkin Miller of NBC Sports showed off their very cool Silverlight based NBC Olympics Site. Here are the factoids:
- 2200 hours of live feed + all broadcast video for 34 sports and make it available on-line
- All HD video
- Interactivity - linked with athlete bios, statistics, expert commentary, etc. rewind and replay the live feed
- Data overlays on the video
- Switch what sport you are watching
- Share with friends and family
- Navigate the various sports content, picture in picture overlays
- Total of 4 live feeds
- Top Ten Videos, what is most popular
- Integrated Advertising
I am looking forward to being in control of my viewing of the Olympics this year!
Rich Internet Applications Features
Scott listed out many of the new features in Silverlight 2.0 for RIA including:
- .Net Framework 3.5 in the browser
- Choose your development language (C#, VB, Ruby, Python)
- WPF/XAML Subset, controls, data binding, layout, templating and skining, animation, networking, LINQ, local cache/store, etc.
- 6-10 second download
- Controls - Button, Check Box, Radio, Slider, Calendar, DataGrid + Third Party
- Shipping all controls today as source code library in the SDK
- Shipping a testing framework for UI and non-UI, hundreds of unit tests
- Visual Designer in VS, debugger, etc.
- Integration with Blend
- Deep Zoom???
To understand Deep Zoom you must first understand Sea Dragon. Sea Dragon is a Microsoft Research incubation project resulting from the acquisition of Sea Dragon Software. Its aim is nothing less than to change the way we use screens, from wall-sized displays to mobile devices, so that visual information can be smoothly browsed regardless of the amount of data involved or the bandwidth of the network.
So that brings us to Deep Zoom. Deep Zoom is the integration of Sea Dragon capabilities into Silverlight 2.0. It is the ability to stitch together images and allow for the navigation through those images leveraging various meta tags and the ability to zoom in on those images to see excruciating detail.
The HardRock demonstrated using Silverlight and the Deep Zoom features to visualize their rock memorabilia collection. This new site is called Memorabilia 2.0. It gives you the ability to navigate through a series of 512 deeply integrated pictures and zoom into to see the most minute details on the instruments, documents, album covers, etc.
I am looking forward to getting back home and sharing all the details with the developer and architect community in the northeast. See you soon!