MIX11 Day 2: Silverlight 5 Beta

As we mentioned yesterday, Scott Guthrie, corporate
vice president of the Microsoft .NET Developer Platform announced several
offerings during his keynote at the MIX11 show in Las Vegas that are designed to make web
development easier and more seamless, while giving developers the flexibility
and freedom to use the tools they choose across cloud, web, and phone
development.

Today, announcements from Scott’s Day 2 keynote
focused on Silverlight (watch it: live.visitmix.com). Following up on the announcement of
Silverlight 5 last December, Guthrie announced the immediate availability of
Silverlight 5 beta with tooling support in Visual Studio and Expression Blend.
Silverlight 5 makes further advances in media, application development, and
user experience. The Silverlight 5 beta is available for download at www.silverlight.net. Beta highlights include:

  • Media improvements: High-definition video playback is made
    possible on lower-power devices using GPU accelerated hardware decode to render
    H.264 content. Another new capability, “TrickPlay” allows video to be played at
    different speeds and supports fast-forward and rewind, a common requirement for
    online company training.
  • Easier Application Development: A range of
    improvements for application development includes support for XAML databinding
    debugging which enables developers to rapidly identify issues in how their UI
    design connects to their code.
  • Faster performance: Many areas of Silverlight 5 are faster
    resulting in better user experience for application startup and runtime. Areas
    seeing improved performance include XAML parsing, multicore JIT compiler
    optimization, text layout and reduced network latency.
  • Rich User Experiences: The built-in
    XNA 3D graphics API lets developers build rich, GPU accelerated visualizations
    and rich user experiences around full 3D models. This includes a new 3D drawing
    surface control, as well as immediate mode GPU access, shaders, and effects.

A full list of beta features is available at www.silverlight.net.

As we
mentioned yesterday, here are the Day 1 keynote highlights:

Windows Azure: With new Windows Azure platform services
and capabilities, developers can take advantage of skills they already know in
order to build and scale web applications that can be hosted in the cloud. For
example, the new version of Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control helps
developers build federated authorization into applications. In addition, Windows
Azure AppFabric Caching improves high-speed access and scalability for Windows
Azure applications. You can sign up for these at the Windows Azure Portal.

For developers
that want built-in media streaming capabilities via encrypted channels, the new
Windows Azure Content Delivery Network for IIS Smooth Streaming is also being
announced. The CTP of Windows Azure Content Delivery Network for IIS Smooth
Streaming will be released in Q2 of this calendar year. To learn how to access
the CTP, visit Windows Azure Portal.

Developers who
need to balance application performance across multiple geographies will want
to learn about the CTP of Windows Azure Traffic Manager CTP, which is available
now. Information on applying for the CTP will be available on the Beta
Programs section of the Windows Azure platform Management Portal.

Microsoft
Web Platform
: A number of new updates to the Microsoft Web Platform are now
available, including a refresh of ASP.NET
MVC 3 Tools Update
, which gives web developers an array of newly built-in
features, such as Entity Framework 4.1 with Code First; Scaffolding that automatically
writes the Controller and database code; new HTML 5 markup support that lets
developers style HTML5 elements in browser versions prior to Internet Explorer
8; and jQuery project templates. In addition, developers can easily access the
latest versions of project templates by means of the NuGet feed.

Underscoring Microsoft’s commitment to
sponsoring open source projects, the latest release of Orchard 1.1 is also available. Orchard is a free open source
content management system in the Outercurve Foundation’s ASP.NET Open Source
Gallery. To download the latest Microsoft Web Platform updates, including the
latest release of Orchard, visit www.microsoft.com/web.

For more
information, check out the MIX Virtual Press Room.