Well, my adventure in learning Silverlight development began with some quality time spent up on the MIX 07 site. In poking around a bit, I found that all the sessions from the conference were posted and available for on-demand playback, and even better, the DEV22 session was right on point to get me started. To whoever is responsible for this site - thank you - you've provided a tremendous resource for us.
The session walks through the basics of Silverlight 1.1 development, and pointed me to silverlight.net, home of "everything you need to get started". To set up a proper development workstation, you'll (of course) need to install the Silverlight runtimes (1.0 Beta + 1.1 Alpha) and the May 2007 ASP.NET Futures (to get the Silverlight controls for ASP.NET.)
From there, it's tool time. You'll need:
- Microsoft Visual Studio codename "Orcas" Beta 1
- Microsoft Silverlight Tools Alpha for Visual Studio codename "Orcas" Beta 1
- Microsoft Silverlight 1.1 Alpha Software Development Kit (SDK)
which are accessible from the links on the silverlight.net site. If you'd like to explore the design side, there are links there for the latest builds of Expression Blend 2 May Preview, Expression Media Encoder May Preview, and Expression Design as well.
I installed Orcas Beta 1 on my development workstation on advice of a colleague who said "just go ahead - it'll work." I was a bit concerned, as I already had Visual Studio 2005 + beta tools for .NET 3.0 (WPF, WCF, and WF project templates etc.), but I figured "why not? Todd said it would work..."
Drawing from my vast experience of always selecting the default install for pre-release software, I of course completely ignored years of painful experience and selected "Full Install" instead. I also launched the install with 10 zillions apps running at the same (against the advice of the installer.) Can you guess the result? (hint: BOOM!)
So, I tried again using the "Default Install" path and every worked out just fine. I verified this by making sure my existing WPF apps built and ran (using Visual Studio 2005), and much to my relief, they did just fine. If everything is installed properly, you'll end up with Whidbey and Orcas, side-by-side in harmony.
The complete changes to your workstation will be visible from the start menu as well. I installed both the dev tools and the design tools, and the additions are highlighted as follows.
As you can see, Orcas is also known as Visual Studio 9.0, but Vista's start menu search makes it easy to find by either name. If you launch Orcas and select File|New Project..., you should see templates for Silverlight available in your favorite .NET language.
This is enough to get started with the SDK samples and do a few experiments of your own. From here, my next step will be do begin porting my WPF app over to Silverlight 1.1 and inventory what I find. That will be the subject of my next posts of this series.