Please Use On or Before Date on Label

I was recently had a customer call me about Silverlight 1.1 and that everything was working fine up until a few days ago. They haven't changed the code but now the Silverlight plug-in is presenting them with the following error message:

Silverlight plug-in has expired

What the deuce?! Expired? No longer valid? What does that mean?

Going to the web site that was suggested in the dialog window (and of course making sure we typed it correctly since there's no hyperlink available), you're taken to the Microsoft Silverlight page with no reference to Silverlight 1.1 anywhere.

That makes sense since Silverlight 1.1 was the version for the Alpha bits and, since MIX08, it's been renamed to Silverlight 2 (not 2.0 for whatever reason), which is what the web site now talks. The fact that the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha plug-in is claiming that it expired is to prevent designers and developers from developing on platforms that are constantly changing for too long and ensure that they are working of the latest preview bits.

As with all Microsoft Alphas, Betas, RCs, and CTPs, they are "time-bombed." They are programmed to stop functioning after a pre-determined date or time has been reached. This is help protect customers from getting themselves into a jam by pushing betas software into production. If we turn the WAYBACK machine to to around 1998, I had a client that was running an application based on the beta of SQL Server 4.2 for several years after it officially was officially released. The only reason why we found out was because they needed us to make some server updates to the box and the splash screen showed the beta number. It goes to show that some betas could be more stable than production, depending on how the solution is written, I guess.

So what does that mean to my customer? They are going to have to update the application from Silverlight 1.1 Alpha to Silverlight 2 Beta 2, especially since 1.1 Alpha is less complete than Beta 1 or Beta 2. This may also not be a simple task because a lot of things could have changes (and you should expect that they will) between 1.1 and 2.

For what its worth, the expiration dates for the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha and 2 Beta bits are as follows (found in each product's EULA):

Microsoft Silverlight 1.1 Alpha Refresh - Expires June 8, 2008

Microsoft Silverlight 2 Beta 1 - Expires within 30 days of Beta 2 release of the software, but in no event later than September 1, 2008.

Microsoft Silverlight 2 Beta 2 - Expires 30 days after commercial release, but no later than January 1, 2009


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