Silverlight: made to light up the Web
Exactly 2 years have passed from the initial release of Silverlight, in April 2007, and during this time period a number of definitions have appeared, trying to better explain what Silverlight is and what it actually does. Some say it is a web browser plugin, some view it as a new Microsoft technology that allows the development of RIA (Rich Internet Applications) and some just know that it is an alternative to Adobe's Flash. All of these definitions are quite true, but incompleteone without the other.
While we were trying to find out more information about the new technology, Microsoft released on October 2008 the second version of Silverlight and on March, 2009 the improved Beta version of Silverlight 3.0, developed with the intention to deliver media experiences both to the ordinary and to the "connoisseur" user.
More than just a technology, Silverlight offers to the user features such as: animation, vector graphics and audio – video playback, with the possibility to run them in all popular browsers: Safari by Apple, Chrome by Google, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
One exceptional feature available on Silverlight is "Deep Zoom". Presented at the MIX08 conference, in 2008, with the code name "SeaDragon", the feature offers the user the possibility to interact with the content by exploring collections of high resolution imagery. Imagine in a page a collection of 258 items – letters, instruments, garments and much more – which you can zoom in for details and up to exceptional details, without waiting for the download of a giant file. It is quite impressive!
Another great application is "Top Banana", which is in fact a code name for a Silverlight video application that allows the user the possibility to edit videos. Built to be intuitive and interactive, the application allows the user to playback simultaneously more clips, to make a sequence out of 2 or more clips and to divide a clip into a sequence of more frames, to choose the desired frames and to attach them to a new clip. This application is for sure a top banana - meaning the best of its class.
All these put together (plus many other interesting features) make Silverlight a technology ready to support the development of Web applications with rich interactive content and high quality graphics - that could eventually light up the Web.