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What Happened to the asp:Silverlight Control?

Pete Brown - 10 July 2009

You may have noticed that in Silverlight 3 RTW, there’s no more asp:Silverlight or asp silverlight-based media player controls. Those were removed from the core SDK and are no longer part of the official Silverlight distribution

What does this mean for me?

If you have an existing Silverlight 2 application that you are maintaining, you can continue to use the asp:Silverlight control. If you port it to Silverlight 3, you can also continue to use that control, but it won’t expose the parameters you’ll need for handling hardware acceleration or other Silverlight 3 (and later) specific features.

For new Silverlight projects, you should use either the object tag approach, or the extremely flexible but slightly more involved JavaScript approach. The JavaScript approach, in particular, will allow you to create a truly customized install experience for your customers.

But, but… I still love that control!

If you have a bumper sticker on your car that says “I ♥ asp:Silverlight” and you really want to use that control because it provides something you like (like, oh, simplified asp.net server-side access to initparams) you are not alone. There are enough people interested in the future of that control to warrant putting it up on MSDN code gallery.

A quick sidebar from my Silverlight book:

What Happened to the ASP.NET Silverlight Control?

The ASP.NET Silverlight control is still available as part of the Silverlight 2 SDK, and on the MSDN Code Gallery ( http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=156721 ) but is not longer being maintained as part of the Silverlight 3 tools. The Object Tag and Silverlight.js approaches provide more flexibility. When porting your Silverlight 2 projects to Silverlight 3, you may continue to use the asp.net Silverlight control, as long as you update the minimum version number and add the required iframe if using navigation, but it is recommended that you port to one of the other two approaches.

So, there’s hope if you still want to use that control. :)

posted by Pete Brown on Friday, July 10, 2009
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9 comments for “What Happened to the asp:Silverlight Control?”

  1. Pete Brownsays:

    If I had to guess, I'd say it's a matter of focus and resourcing.

    The asp.net Silverlight control is useful, I actually argued against its removal for a bit. But do we really need three different ways to create a Silverlight control, one of which is optimized for a specific server platform when the client is server-agnostic?

    It added marginal value, and took a fair amount of time to maintain.

    That said, I neither speak for the team nor everyone in the community, so if you object to the change, make sure your voice is heard at http://silverlight.net

  2. austin avrashowsays:
    For ASP.NET developers, the asp:Silverlight and asp:MediaPlayer controls were the easiest ways to place a compiled SL app (xap) or video or audio on an ASP.NET webforms page (aspx).

    I wrote an article in ASP.NET Pro magazine (April 2009) on those controls. We lose no functionality without them, only a bit of convenience.
  3. Michael Washingtonsays:
    While I love this control I do understand why it was dropped. If you look at the install directions for the DotNetNuke version of SilverlightDesktop.net you will see that 90% is to add the web.config settings to support this control.

    We plan to fix this in the near future to use the object tag instead.
  4. Scott Marlowesays:
    I was asking myself that exact question about the missing system.web.silverlight DLL. I'm sticking with the ASP.NET control for now as it provides the least path of resistance in upgrading my controls. I'll come back to it, though.
  5. Kevin Gordonsays:
    Well we've come to depend on the asp:Silverlight control, as we send various InitParameters to our client with this approach based on whats going on in the server. It's not that much code but it will be quite awkward redoing it. The web control was very elegant for those committed to ASP.NET on the server and silverlight on the client.
  6. Pete Brownsays:

    Agree it's not great. It is pretty easy to redo the initparams stuff, but you are re-doing it.

    See my post here for how I do initparams without the control:
  7. Brauliosays:
    Hey Pete,

    I think it's a good idea to remove the specific ASP server control... I have implemented a generic widget (codeplex dbschemaviewer), and was a bit pain on the neck to check how to run it adn add events on a plain HTML page (I was too lazy, and get used to the asp server control :)).

  8. Emransays:
    I am soo disappointed to find that, the asp.net silverlight control is not offered anymore. I never liked JavaScript ever in my entire life. Moreover, I like to mess my hand only writing server side code and I want to manage my application in that way. I dont like parallel management of Server Side and Client Side codebase. ASP.NET Silverlight control was the first thing I was looking for when I started learning Silverlight and frustrated to know this news. Anyway, I am gonna create a control for ASP.NET Silverlight for sure.

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