ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions and Silverlight 2.0

There's Mike and I in Birmingham on Wednesday talking about Silverlight 1.1 and ASP.NET 3.5 and meanwhile in the deepest, darkest corner offices of Redmond, they're trying to make us look silly. Well not quite but it sometimes feels like we'll get back from an event one day and find that everything we've just said has been superseded while we've been "disconnected".

Anyway, the big news via ScottGu's blog is that there's so much going into the next release of Silverlight (see below) that making it a point release doesn't make sense so it becomes Silverlight 2.0 instead. A few of the 2.0 features are listed below (none will come as much of a surprise if you've been to a Silverlight session). Of course the even better news is that this isn't everything, we're keeping back some surprises...

  • WPF UI Framework: The current Silverlight Alpha release only includes basic controls support and a managed API for UI drawing.  The next public Silverlight preview will add support for the higher level features of the WPF UI framework.  These include: the extensible control framework model, layout manager support, two-way data-binding support, and control template and skinning support.  The WPF UI Framework features in Silverlight will be a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in last week's .NET Framework 3.5 release.
  • Rich Controls: Silverlight will deliver a rich set of controls that make building Rich Internet Applications much easier.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for core form controls (textbox, checkbox, radiobutton, etc), built-in layout management controls (StackPanel, Grid, etc), common functionality controls (TabControl, Slider, ScrollViewer, ProgressBar, etc) and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, etc).
  • Rich Networking Support: Silverlight will deliver rich networking support.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for REST, POX, RSS, and WS* communication.  It will also add support for cross domain network access (so that Silverlight clients can access resources and data from any trusted source on the web).
  • Rich Base Class Library Support: Silverlight will include a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalization, XML, local storage, etc).  The next Silverlight preview release will also add built-in support for LINQ to XML and richer HTML DOM API integration.

That's quite a list (and comes straight from Scott's post). We've also announced that there will be a Silverlight 2.0 Beta in Q1 with a Go-Live licence, a free VS2008 tools update to support Silverlight 2.0 and that support extends across all editions of VS including the Express editions (which are, of course, free).

Scott's also blogged details of the upcoming ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions release (which will ship next year as an out of band release - ie not tied to a release of the framework). The first public preview will be released to the web next week and will include:

  • Model View Controller (MVC) framework for ASP.NET
  • ASP.NET AJAX Improvements - eg browser history support
  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data Support - a rich scaffolding framework for ASP.NET
  • ASP.NET Silverlight Support - new controls that make it easy to embed Silverlight applications and media content in your site
  • ADO.NET Data Services (formerly "Astoria") - Sitting on top of the ADO.NET Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services make it easy to expose data services from your application in a RESTful fashion

Just a few things to keep us all occupied over Christmas then... :-)

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