Silverlight 3 and Expression Studio 3 (RC) Released!


Yes...the wait is finally over - Silverlight 3 and Expression Studio 3 updates have been released-to-the-web (RTW)!

Silverlight 3 has a bunch of new APIs and hundreds of new features in version 3 - here the major improvements:

Media: GPU hardware acceleration, new codec support (H.264, AAC, MPEG-4), raw bitstream Audio/Video API, and improved logging for media analytics.

Graphics: GPU Acceleration and hardware compositing, perspective 3D, bitmap and pixel API, pixel shader effects, and Deep Zoom improvements.

Application development: Deep linking, navigation and SEO, improved text quality, multi-touch support, 60+ controls available, and library caching support.

Data: Data-binding improvements, validation error templates, server data push improvements, binary XML networking support, and multi-tier REST data support.

And, let's not forget support for Silverlight 3 applications that can now live outside the browser!  Version 3 allows developers to create Web applications that can exist outside the browser on the users desktop.  This means developers can simply and immediately deploy applications offline without having to target a separate platform.

Silverlight 3 install:

Microsoft Silverlight 3 SDK:

Microsoft Silverlight 3 Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1:

Microsoft .NET RIA Services July 2009 Preview
Be sure to also check-out how Microsoft .NET RIA Services simplifies the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together the ASP.NET and Silverlight platforms. 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. It also provides end-to-end support for common tasks such as data validation, authentication and roles by integrating with Silverlight components on the client and ASP.NET on the mid-tier.

Expression Studio 3 - Highlights

  • Sketchflow: SketchFlow makes it significantly easier to create prototypes, experiment with dynamic user experiences, and incorporate feedback from customers.  If you haven’t seen or tried it yet - you must.  It really is a game changing new way to create great user centric applications.
  • Intellisense: Blend 3 includes C#, VB and XAML intellisense support.  You can now write code and event handlers within Blend without having to switch to VS. 
  • Behaviors: Blend 3 includes behavior support which can encapsulate complex design interactions into reusable components that can be directly applied to a control within the design surface.  This enables designers to quickly add functionality and behavior to applications without having to write code.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Import: Blend 3 now has built-in support for importing Photoshop and Illustrator files.  As part of the import process you can view and pick individual Photoshop layers to import, customize and regroup layers, and have Photoshop/Illustrator elements retain their original formats within XAML: including layer positions, editable text and font settings, and vector element conversion to XAML.
  • Sample Data: Blend 3 adds design-time sample data support which makes it easy to mock up data-connected applications and see what they look like without requiring access to live data.  You can generate sample data or import sample data from an XML file and it is available to controls on the artboard at design-time. You can customize your sample data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and using live data at run-time.
  • TFS: Blend 3 now includes Team Foundation Server (TFS) support – allowing you to use source control and enlist within projects.  Blend shares the same project and solution format as Visual Studio – allowing both VS and Blend to work simultaneously on the same projects and enabling seamless editing between them.
  • Other Improvements: Additional enhancements including improved animation and easing function support, 3D transform support, visual effects support, and an improved visual state manager designer.

Download - Microsoft Expression Blend 3 + SketchFlow RCMicrosoft Expression Blend 3 + SketchFlow RC:

Expression Encoder 3 will be part of the Expression 3/Silverlight 3 launch. Here are some highlights to whet your appetite:

IIS Smooth Streaming
Encode your content in high quality to multiple bit-rates to take advantage of Smooth Streaming, a feature of Internet Information Server 7 Media Services.

Take a look at the results at Encoder 3 adds a brand new dedicated VBR VC-1 Smooth Streaming codec that has been engineered for extreme high-performance and high-quality encoding.

Improved H.264 Support
Extending the H.264 encoding support for devices that we introduced in Encoder 2, we’ve added VBR, Main Profile support and custom resolutions so you can encode full HD 1080p sources. Tinkerers will be happy to gain access to the H.264 codec parameters. Encoder 3 also enables you to produce H.264 content for Smooth Streaming.

Video Screen Capture
There are lots of screen capture utilities out there, but we think you’ll like ours for any application where capturing the nuances of graphically complex screens is a must. Our new screen capture codec is super-efficient both in terms of compression and processor usage, so the application you’re trying to capture doesn’t have all its CPU time sapped by the capturing tool! If you’re capturing say a Silverlight application displaying high-quality video, your screen captures will truly reflect the quality of the experience rather than suffering from jerky motion and color banding! The captured files open up directly in Expression Encoder for quick editing, or export from Encoder to edit in your favorite NLE.

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