Microsoft Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications. It helps enrich your websites and make them more interactive and engaging.
What's New in Silverlight 3 topic introduces some of the new features in Silverlight 3. Silverlight 3 applications are no longer restricted to running in a browser. They can be run in a browser or it they can be detached from the browser and run from the desktop. These out-of-browser applications allow you to bring the richness of Silverlight 3 applications directly to the desktop without the restriction of running within a browser. Check Building An Out-of-Browser Client With Silverlight 3 article by John Papa.
The developer documentation for Silverlight 3 can be downloaded here - Microsoft Silverlight 3 Offline Documentation
How to Start?
You can start learning Silverlight by using resources given below:
There is tons of material available on Microsoft websites given above. Given below are some resources I would recommend:
Walkthrough: Creating Your First Silverlight Application - This walkthrough shows you how to get started programming in Silverlight and Visual Studio by creating a simple application
Walkthrough: Creating a Silverlight Clock by Using Expression Blend or Code - This walkthrough steps you through the creation of a simple clock using Microsoft Silverlight
Scott Guthrie's 8-part blog series - Scott's blog posts will walk you through the fundamentals of Silverlight and will help you build a sample application along the way
- Part 1 - Creating a Hello World with Silverlight and VS 2008
- Part 2 - Using Layout Management
- Part 3 - Using Networking to Retrieve Data and Populate a DataGrid
- Part 4 - Using Style Elements to Better Encapsulate Look and Feel
- Part 5 - Using the ListBox and DataBinding to Display List Data
- Part 6 - Using User Controls to Implement Master/Details Scenarios
- Part 7 - Using Templates to Customize Look and Feel
- Part 8 - Creating a Digg Desktop Version of our Application using WPF
Videos – Frankly, too many of them are available 🙂 So, browse links below and then pick and choose the videos which you find relevant.
- "How Do I?" with Silverlight - On this page you will find dozens of videos designed for all Silverlight developers
- Screencasts for Silverlight - 52 screencasts to help you understand Silverlight 2
- Lynda.com Silverlight Essential Training - teaches each step in the process of building interactive web applications using Silverlight, including how to add video, animations, and interactive features such as drag-and-drop functionality
- New Features in Silverlight 3 - On this page you will find dozens of videos designed for all Silverlight 3 developers
Development Tools Needed
- Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
- Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 - When you install the Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008, the following components are installed: Silverlight developer runtime, Silverlight SDK, and Silverlight Tools
- Expression Blend – Tool for designers (and developers) to create graphics, design animations, and produce experiences
- Deep Zoom Composer - Tool to prepare high-resolution images for use with the Deep Zoom feature. The new Deep Zoom technology in Silverlight allows users to perform smooth in-place zooming and panning. For more information, see Deep Zoom
- Microsoft .NET RIA Services - Provides a pattern to write application logic that runs on the mid-tier and controls access to data for queries, changes and custom operations.
Silverlight in SharePoint 2007
Silverlight does not work out-of-the-box in SharePoint 2007. Please refer to How to configure your SharePoint extended IIS Web App for working with Silverlight 2 applications post on Patrick Tisseghem's Blog for changes required in web.config file for the SharePoint IIS Web application.
Read the RIA: Light Up SharePoint With Silverlight 2 Web Parts by Steve Fox and Paul Stubbs to learn one of the way in which in Silverlight Web parts can be created for use in a SharePoint site.
You can try the MSDN Virtual Lab: Rich Internet Applications with Silverlight and SharePoint - C# to become familiar with:
- Hosting a Silverlight 2 application in a Web Part
- Communicating data between SharePoint and Silverlight applications
- Consuming SharePoint Web services
- Building custom field types with rich user interaction using Silverlight
- Building Silverlight front-ends for lists maintained in SharePoint based on data binding features within Silverlight 2
Karine Bosch's blog has some useful posts on Silverlight and SharePoint:
- Displaying a Silverlight Application in a SharePoint Application Page
- Silverlight Data Binding Sample upgraded to Silverlight 2 Final Release
- Creating a SharePoint Web Part that hosts a data binding Silverlight 2 application
- Deploying a Silverlight application as an Embedded Resource
Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint
The Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint is source code and guidance for developers describing how to use Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies together in business applications and Internet Web sites. Following samples are included in the kit to get you started:
- A simple “hello, world” sample showing Silverlight in a Web part
- A Silverlight slider control as a SharePoint custom field type
- A navigation control
- A Colleague Viewer that uses lookups in Active Directory by using Windows Communication Foundation
- A Silverlight picture viewer from a SharePoint picture library
- A visual how-to center, created in Silverlight and based on a SharePoint list, for viewing videos
Useful CodePlex projects
Silverlight Toolkit: Collection of Silverlight controls, components and utilities made available outside the normal Silverlight release cycle
SmartTools.Charts: Shows Silverlight charts based on data stored in SharePoint lists or document libraries
SilverPart 2.0: a Silverlight wrapper Web Part that can be used in MOSS 2007 or WSS 3.0 to expose Silverlight 2 content
Using Silverlight in SharePoint Online
You can also use Silverlight in SharePoint Online. Refer to Using Silverlight with SharePoint Online from Microsoft Online Services post in Microsoft Online Services Team Blog. In this post, Troy Hopwood, Program Manager II on the Microsoft Online Services Engineering team, walks through creating a basic Silverlight control that integrates with SharePoint Online via Web Services that can then be deployed to SharePoint Online.