Silverlight 5 features, firestarter keynote and sessions resources

Last week folks from all around the world attended the online or in-person keynote during the Silverlight Firestarter event in Redmond. Scott Guthrie did the opening keynote in which Silverlight 5 was shown to the public for the first time. The rest of the Firestarter event were in-depth sessions about the current version of Silverlight.

> You can read the overview of announced Silverlight 5 features in Scott Guthrie’s blog post: Announcing Silverlight 5

In this post we’ll go through the main topics of the keynote and sessions, and highlight some of the shared information with resources that you can use today.
Silverlight 5 Beta has been announced for H1 2011. As mentioned by Scott, there were more than 20.000 votes up on Silverlight feature request site (Uservoice). About 70% of those votes are addressed in the new features in Silverlight 5 beta.

The keynote and Silverlight 5 highlights

> Watch the full keynote on demand: Silverlight Firestarter Keynote with Scott Guthrie


Something that is probably not shown enough is the support by IIS Media Services 4.0 released in November, to deliver high quality video to a series of clients and devices.
During the keynote, Chris Knowlton showed how to use Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro and IIS Media Services to setup a live HD Smooth Streaming site serving up on Silverlight desktop, Windows Phone 7 and iPhone/iPad.
Please note this is not Silverlight running on iOS but rather automated transmuxing of the video on the IIS server to be compatible with iOS. Chris Knowlton’s demo is fully on today’s technology of Silverlight 4, IIS Media Services and Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro. Chris showed only one unreleased version which is Expression Encoder Pro SP1.
Scott Guthrie mentioned IIS Smooth Streaming capabilities are coming to Windows Azure in the future as well.


Note: Scott Hanselman has a great post up on his blog that runs through all the steps: Streaming Live or On-Demand Video from IIS7 to iOS Devices (iPhone/iPad) and Silverlight
Start using today: IIS Media Services 4.0 and Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro.

> Download IIS Media Services 4.0

Announced Silverlight 5 media features include:

  • TrickPlay support with audio pitch correction
  • Hardware decode
  • Remote control support

Business applications

John Papa showed a few of his top features for Silverlight 5 business applications and also how to use coded UI testing, now available with Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2 (available for Ultimate and Premium editions of Visual Studio).
Tim Heuer has a video up on his blog on how to use the Test Manager and coded UI tests.

> Download Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2
> Download WCF RIA Services Toolkit December 2010 (by the way, did you know the new Windows Azure Management Portal is built using Silverlight and WCF RIA Services?)

Announced Silverlight 5 business app features include:

  • Model View ViewModel (MVVM) and Databinding enhancements like binding in style setters, ancestor RelativeSource, debugging support in XAML (yes!!), markup extensions, much more…
  • PostScript vector printing
  • WS-Trust support
  • Out of browser: child windows within app, P/Invoke (on Windows)
  • Enhanced in-browser trusted app: with group policy allow access to My Documents, COM and more
  • Microsoft Visual Studio profiling

3D and Graphics

To present some of the new low level 3D features announced for Silverlight 5, Luigi Rosso, Chief Technical Officer and and Guido Rosso, Chief Creative Officer from Archetype were invited on stage.
You’ll have to watch the video to watch Scott Guthrie in 3D. The red polo shirt plays a role, not saying more than that…


Announced Silverlight 5 graphics features include:

  • GPU accelerated 3D API
  • Hardware acceleration with Internet Explorer 9

The keynote was closed by a very interesting demo of how the SQL Server team is building new products on top of Silverlight.

In-depth sessions

In-depth sessions are about what you can use today (Silverlight 4), although some of the speakers throw in a few notes when something new in the future will easy a certain task.
All sessions are available on Channel9 for on-demand viewing or download in different formats including MP3.

Data Binding Strategies with Silverlight and WP7 by Jesse Liberty

Did not yet have the chance to watch this session but according to Twitterserve it was pretty good to say the least.

Building Compelling Apps with WCF using REST and LINQ by Yavor Georgiev

Building Feature Rich Business Apps Today with RIA Services by Dan Wahlin

Download the announced update: WCF RIA Services Toolkit December 2010

MVVM: Why and How? Tips and Patterns using MVVM and Service Patterns with Silverlight and WP7 by John Papa

John uses the Book Club example to go through the session material. He explain the most important aspects of implementing MVVM pattern and how to integrate with WCF RIA Services and others.

Shout outs to some of the open source MVVM libraries available out there:

Tips and Tricks for a Great Installation Experience by Tim Heuer

Tim Heuer has written about the Silverlight installation subject earlier on his blog. 

Tune Your Application: Profiling and Performance Tips by Mike Cook & Jossef Goldberg

Performance Tips for Silverlight Phone 7 by Jaime Rodriguez

You can find Jaime’s source code, presentation and a performance cheat-sheet (very useful!) in his blog post:

New Silverlight Labs

A new set of labs was also released during the event. You can follow online or download the content for viewing offline.
These labs are focused on Silverlight Line of Business (LOB) applications with practical, real-world samples.

View Firestarter labs