Last month, Microsoft released the first beta of Silverlight 3 for developer access. Anybody can grab it from the download center, but because the Silverlight 3 SDK download lacks an end-user runtime and a "go-live" licensing provision, it is by no means complete or ready for prime time. That said, interested developers will find plenty to dig into inside this relatively svelte 9.6 MB download.
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Developers who work with Visual Studio 2008 won't be able to use it to build Silverlight 2 tools after they add the Silverlight 3 Beta Tools for Visual Studio to that environment. That's because Visual Studio 2008 SP1 does not support multi-targeting for Silverlight applications. You may want to set up a separate install (possibly on a virtual machine) in which to explore this interesting toolset and its capabilities.
Here's what you get with the Silverlight 3 SDK:
- online documentation and code samples
- code libraries and tools for developing Silverlight 3 applications
- .NET RIA Services, which combines ASP.NET and Silverlight to better support construction of n-tiered applications. These services also help developers write application logic for the mid-tier portion to control access to data for queries, changes, or custom operations.
Visual Studio developers will want to download the Silverlight 3 Tools Beta 1 for Visual Studio 2008 SP1 instead of the SDK because it integrates nicely with the Visual Studio environment, whereas the SDK does not. Microsoft also offers a standalone version of the Silverlight 3 SDK documentation [direct link] as a locally-accessible compiled help (.chm) file.
In addition to the SDK, Microsoft offers a Silverlight 3 Beta 1 for developers (direct link), which combines the front-end Silverlight client and the back-end Silverlight server additions. These are usually kept separate in production, but the combined standalone is suitable for smaller-scale developers or for demos and other situations where Internet access may not be readily available
You may also want to check out Microsoft's Expression Blend 3 Preview, which enables authoring of Silverlight 3 Beta applications.
A great deal more information about the Silverlight 3 SDK is available on the Sillverlight 3 Beta page, where you will find links to the various items mentioned above, as well as lots of other additional help and information (include both Windows and Mac versions of the Silverlight 3 Beta runtime environment). It's definitely worth digging into for those interested in media- and function-rich Web-based applications.
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at email@example.com with comments, questions or suggested topics or tools to review.