What is Silverlight? (Part 1 of many)

An obvious question and one you’d expect to get an off-the-shelf answer to, so when I set out to answer it I first looked to the myriad definitions already written and the formal positioning statements for Silverlight. I duly consulted the definitions and, although technically accurate and informative, I couldn’t help feeling something was missing. The words didn’t represent the broad Silverlight story as I know it and the answer they gave could have been applied to any number of programming platforms.

So, I went back to the beginning.


7 years ago the Microsoft team set out on a mission to help developers and designers deliver better user experiences through improved tools, process and platforms. We created the Expression range of designer tools, initially targeting the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and then a new cross-platform, cross browser plug-in runtime (eventually) called Silverlight. In parallel to product development we also invested a massive amount of energy working with partners, web agencies, customers, communities, designers and developers to build a thriving ecosystem that makes the creation of great user experiences possible.

So what better way to start answering the question “What is Silverlight” than to point to a small selection of the outstanding user experiences it’s helped developers and designers to create.

Silverlight is…

By now you’d be correct in thinking the Silverlight story is about more than just a browser plug-in or a video display client. Silverlight lets you build on an existing ecosystem of 4 million developers, designers & partners, server products, world-class developer tooling to deliver groundbreaking user experiences and applications.

To see more experiences built in Silverlight, visit the showcase, read customer case studies and look out for the rapidly increasing number of Silverlight web experiences appearing across the Web.



Next time : What is Silverlight – for Developers?

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