Quick Guide to Silverlight 2 Beta 1

A disclaimer before you read on. Silverlight 2 Beta 2 is due out very soon (sometime this week or early next week) and will mean changes in the installation instructions. I will post an updated quick guide when it is publicly available. Till then, read on, download and start playing with Silverlight 2 Beta 1 :)

Setting Up

  1. Install Visual Studio 2008
  2. Get the Silverlight 2 Beta 1 SDK from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=4E03409A-77F3-413F-B108-1243C243C4FE&displaylang=en and install it.
  3. Go to the expression web site and install Expression Blend 2.5 March Preview (or later if available).
  4. Install Silverlight tools from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=E0BAE58E-9C0B-4090-A1DB-F134D9F095FD&displaylang=en. This adds Silverlight projects to VS 2008 and Expression Blend integration.

4. Places to go

Here’s some things I have learned while working with SL:

  1. Go join the forum at http://silverlight.net/forums/. This is one of the best places to get your initial questions answered. 
  2. For tutorials and such, go to http://silverlight.net. Some very very good basics tutorials. There's also a whole bunch of "How do I" videos for Silverlight 2 Beta 1.
  3. If Dependancy properties look confusing at the start, just ignore them and keep going. You will eventually understand them.
  4. The important thing to concentrate on is XAML syntax and the limitations of the Silverlight 2 Beta 1. Remember, the whole .NET CLR is not available to you in Silverlight 2 Beta 1.
  5. An Silverlight 2 Beta 1 class library or a Silverlight 2 Beta 1 project cannot be referenced in (or create reference to) a regular .NET project. This means that your only way to communicate with .NET code is to use some sort of service layer (eg: a web service).
  6. Silverlight 2 Beta 1 only supports basic http binding for WCF services. Keep that in mind if you want to hook up your SL application with WCF services.
  7. When deploying to IIS for the first time you will need to set it up with a mime type for xap files. XAP files (which are really just Silverlight DLLs) are where Silverlight assets are packaged for download to the client. In IIS 6, go to Default Web Site -> Properties -> HTTP Headers and click “File Types…”. Now click “New Type…”. The associated extension is .xap and the content-type is application/x-application-silverlight.