Microsoft Silverlight as a competitor to Adobe Flash / Adobe AIR and complete. NET applications on the desktop

Silverlight is a reduced version of the Microsoft NET framework with which you both plug-in-based browser application (. Rich Internet Application s – RIA.) can write as well as standalone desktop applications.

Revision history

Version 1.0: 4.9.2007 (version 1.0.20816 based on NET yet but. Java Script)
Version 2.0 (formerly known as 1.1): 14/10/2008 (version 2.0.31005.0)
Version 3.0: 9.7.2009
Version 4.0: 15.4.2010
Version 5.0: 9.12.2011
Version 5.1: 08/05/2012


Silverlight is an offshoot of WPF, is thus based on the interface description language XAML. The former name of Silverlight was WPF / E ( Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere). Silverlight was originally a pure browser plug-in as a competitor to Adobe Flash. Silverlight, however, since version 3.0 also run outside the browser (“out-of-browser”, just OOB). Since version 4.0, even a break out of the sandbox with almost complete access to local resource s possible (“Trusted Application”). Silverlight is thus increasingly become a competitor to the Great Mother. NET. Silverlight is also used in Windows Phone 7 is used for app development.

Alone by definition, must pay attention already: WPF library in a clean surface under the NET framework and defining clear of other non-visual libraries of NET framework… Silverlight on the other hand is a generic term for all parts of the mini-NET, both the visual and non-visual.

The first version of Silverlight, which was published on 04.09.2007, offered initially as an interface description language XAML and the programmability of Java Script. The second version, however, was then a mini-.NET Framework, which not only XAML, but the many. NET libraries (such as network programming using System.Net , webservice with WCF s / System.ServiceModel, queries with LINQ Processing XML with System.Xml support) and the programmability with C #, Visual Basic, Managed Jscript, IronRuby and IronPython offers.

Microsoft Silverlight provides for the operating systems Windows Vista , XP, 2003, 2000 and 2008, and Apple OS X Tiger and Leopard on. Be supported as a browser like Internet Explorer (6.0 or higher), Firefox (1.5) and Safari (2.0). In the context of mono there with Moonlight also provides support for Unix / Linux, Microsoft promotes even explicitly [MIC01]. Therefore speaks of Microsoft Silverlight as a cross-platform. NET.

Silverlight and XAML used to Oberflächenbeschrreibung, but the Silverlight XAML is not 100% compatible with the WPF XAML. On the one hand are – understandably – not all features of WPF XAML in Silverlight available. On the other hand, there are also some syntactic peculiarities in Silverlight, which does not yet exist in WPF. This compatibility issue but Microsoft will fix in the future (see announcement [SG03]).

The architecture of Silverlight is the use of Web service s designed on an application server (3-tier architecture). There is no in Silverlight ADO.NET and not ADO.NET Entity Framework . Silverlight data must always from a web service designed in the OOB version. This web service , which is then implemented in the simplest case. NET can, of course, use all capabilities of the server. NET. At most, a “Trusted Application” could about the COM object e of ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) directly with a database talk.
Currently, the Silverlight version 4.0 that on 04.16.2010, ie very soon after . NET 4.0 has been released.


– Runs in the web browser as a plug-in
– Cross-platform (currently Windows and Mac from 10.4.8)
– Browserunabängig ( Internet Explorer , Firefox, Opera, Safari)
– Based on a reduced version of the NET Framework. common language runtime (CLR)
– Presentation with XAML (subset of XAML for WPF), partly also more features than WPF (eg Deep Zoom in WPF since version 4.0)
– Interaction with the browser window (by Java Script, DOM / DHTML / AJAX)
– Programming with C #, Visual Basic. NET , Python and Ruby (version 2.0)
– Includes features of . NET 3.5 as LINQ to Objects and LINQ to XML (version 2.0)
– Audio / Video / HD video support (WMA, MP3, WMV, SMPTE VC-1, etc.)
– AAC and H.264 version 3.0, not far MPEG4 and Flash Video
– Digital Rights Management only in future
– Support for video streaming
– Sets not require Windows Media Player
Microsoft will provide free hosting for small videos via Windows Live (with advertising):
– Size of the runtime environment: 2 MB (Silverlight 1.0) and 4.6 MB (2.0) or 4.7 MB (3.0)
– Free of charge
– Tools: Microsoft Expression Blend (Version 1.1) and Visual Studio (version 2008)
– Additional libraries: Silverlight Controls for ASP.NET


Silverlight is the trend of rich Internet application s (RIA), browser applications, the look and operate as desktop applications. Compared with the AJAX features Silverlight has the advantage that you as a developer is not all the time with crutches should get you over what was in HTML and HTTP is not really thought so. In the same product category as Silverlight must also Macromedia Flash / Flex and Java FX as well as the older technologies Java applets and ActiveX lane. Compared to the worst competitor Flash, Microsoft points, especially the integration of the platform. Flash on the other hand, the larger number in the available developers, the resource on the Internet and n -. important – the number of installations of the plug-ins According to the data of the manufacturer Adobe Flash Player plug-in is 99% of the “Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets” [ ]. Silverlight brings it loud currently to around 32%, if one counts up version 2.0 and 3.0.

Silverlight versus WPF

WPF surface run – just like Windows Forms – as separate window or in the window of a web browser as a so called web browser application (WBA). Both WPF and Windows Forms , however, require the use of the web a complete NET Framework -. at least the NET Framework. – on each target system. Wbas are therefore, like Windows Forms find the browser barely, possibly in intranet scenarios. Specifically for the web scenario, Microsoft developed Silverlight therefore, a mini-.NET Framework with a slimmed down and syntactically changeable th version of XAML. Silverlight is a browser plug-in with “only” 5 MB download (compared to more than 60 MB for a full. NET Framework).

When comparing Silverlight and WPF is important to note that the two terms have differ-ent distances. WPF is a surface inside the library. NET framework that uses XAML. Silverlight on the other hand is a part, also a wrapper library that uses XAML, on the other hand, the name of Silverlight but also seen as a smaller counterpart to. NET Framework and in this connection may also libraries that have nothing to do with user interfaces.

Current status and applications of Silverlight

In recent months, has been repeatedly reported that Microsoft has lost its enthusiasm for Silverlight, HTML5 now and Java Script favors. It is believed that there will be no after Silverlight 5 new major version with further significant new features more.

Nevertheless, Silverlight (at least for now) still a place in the portfolio of web application developers, because (even) is working with Silverlight much more productive than with HTML5 and Java . scripts Based mainly using the C # and Visual Basic, as well as the rich Silverlight class library, as well as the helpful development environment Visual Studio. In addition, there are no problems with the Silverlight browser compatibility. In any browser, where the Silverlight runtime is installed as a plug-in, Silverlight runs the same. The problem however, is that far fewer users, the Silverlight runtime as the Flash runtime environment in their browsers (see Silverlight is therefore a very good choice for intranets and extranets, possibly where you are installing the Silverlight plug-ins or can enforce, but not a good choice for the public World Wide Web . There was a port of Silverlight on Unix / Linux under the name Moonlight, which is also set to become

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