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Announcing the Silverlight 5 Beta Release and the Silverlight.net Redesign

Pete Brown - 13 April 2011

Four months ago, in December 2010, we held the Silverlight Firestarter in Redmond - an entire event dedicated just to Silverlight, with great speakers from inside Microsoft and from the Silverlight community. In that event's keynote, Scott Guthrie showed off some of the plans we have for Silverlight 5 (as well as the secret location of his tattoo).

For information on the newer September 1, 2011 Silverlight 5 Release Candidate, please see my Silverlight 5 RC blog post.

In today's keynote at MIX11 on April 13, 2011, Scott Guthrie expanded on that. I'm proud to announce that today we have shipped Silverlight 5 Beta!

Other Key Announcement Posts:

As always, the Silverlight team has been really busy and put a lot of time and effort into this release. Silverlight 5 has a ton of great new features both big and small, as well as numerous fixes and little tweaks. I have a few initial tutorials (blog posts and videos) that cover some of the more interesting features.

In addition, I'm happy to announce that I'm currently eight chapters into Silverlight 5 in Action. I expect to see a MEAP (Manning Early Access Program) version out late this month or early next.

Tutorial Videos and Blog Posts

Here are the videos that are on Silverlight.net, specifically created for Silverlight 5

Silverlight 5 Beta Overview

In this video, Pete Brown walks us through some of the new features in the Silverlight 5 Beta, and provides information on how to get started. If you're interested in an overview of what's new before you dive into specific features, watch this video.


Implicit Templates with Silverlight 5

In this video, Pete Brown explains what data templates are, then shows us how to use implicit data templates in Silverlight 5 beta. Implicit data templates are a great way to automatically format different types of data (objects) in the presentation layer.

Video | Blog Post

Mouse Button Double and Multi-click

Silverlight 5 now enables us to capture double click, or even an arbitrary number of clicks. Want triple click? Septuple click? You can do it. In this video, Pete Brown shows us how to use the new ClickCount property for the mouse button events.

Video | Blog Post

Silverlight 5 Low-Latency Sound Effects

The MediaElement is powerful, but not well-suited to low-latency or real-time sound effects. In this video, Pete Brown shows us how to use the new SoundEffect and SoundEffectInstance classes from the XNA bits included with Silverlight 5.

Video | Blog Post

Silverlight 5 Multi-Column and Linked Text

Magazine and newspaper-style layout is difficult to achieve if the underlying platform does not include some mechanism for linking blocks of text and allowing that text to flow between the blocks. Silverlight 5 now includes the RichTextBoxOverflow element which, when wired to another RichTextBoxOverflow or to a RichTextBox, enable text to flow in columns or free-form layout. In this video, Pete Brown shows us how to use this new element and how to lay out text in columns and in a free-form way

Video | Blog Post

Silverlight 5 Native Operating System windows

Silverlight 5 trusted out-of-browser applications can now create native operating system windows. No longer are we chained to the bounds of the primary drawing surface. In this video, Pete Brown shows us how to create native windows as well as how to customize the chrome of those windows.

Video | Blog Post

Silverlight 5 Beta Debugging Binding in XAML

Silverlight 5 supports debugging binding statements in XAML. In this video, Pete Brown shows us how to work with XAML binding debugging in Visual Studio 2010

Video | Blog Post

Of course, as Silverlight continues to approach RTW, we'll have more videos and tutorials to help you succeed with the product.

Announcing: Silverlight .NET Redesign Beta

At the same time, the folks in our Server and Tools Online (STO) organization have been really busy putting together the next version of the Silverlight Developer Center: Silverlight.net. Here's the announcement information I posted to Silverlight.net today:

For some time now, you (our site visitors) , have told us you wanted us to make it easier to find content, you wanted us to show community content more prominently and you wanted us to make it easier to learn.

To address these issues we have begun the process of creating a new type of site for Silverlight. Our goals are to address your issues as well as make it easier for us to publish information quickly.  You will see an improved site design and navigational framework that makes finding information on the site easier for the breadth of experience levels and learning styles. 

  • Improved on boarding experience - developers new to Silverlight will find it easier to get started 
  • Content organized into relevant topic areas (Overview, Desktop, Web..) to make information easier to find and to learn
  • Simplified Publishing and Content Curation process which will lead to more fresh content published more frequently
  • Important Samples and Tutorials are positioned prominently in the structure of the site so that they are easier to find
  • Modern, less cluttered experience that makes it easier to find information on the page


This is to announce that we are releasing a beta version of the new & redesigned Silverlight site at MIX 2011, http://beta.silverlight.net. While in the beta period, both the beta site and the existing site will be available. We encourage you to view the beta site now and give us your feedback. We're working daily to rectify bugs and will release the new site as soon as it's ready. The beta site does not contain all of the functionality planned for the full release, but it offers a taste of items to come, including:

  • New look and feel
  • Improved and reorganized learn section
  • New advertising types and layout
  • New Start and Community page
  • UPDATED SIGN IN - the beta site requires that you sign-in with a Windows Live ID. You can use an existing Windows Live ID, or you can create one for free (you can use any existing email address from any email provider when you create Windows Live ID credentials).


  • Your Forums posts on content will be saved in both the existing site and the beta site regardless of which site you use to post. For all other data, the beta site will not sync to the existing Silverlight.net site.


Post MIX 2011, we will release more functionality on the beta site in phases. Below is what you can expect to see over time:

  • UPDATED: Simplified look and feel that will also be used across other developer sites in the months to come
  • UPDATED: Scalable and more usable information architecture in the "Learn" section
  • UPDATED: Faster page loads and performance all around
  • UPDATED: Site-wide search improvements
  • UPDATED: Richer Community info (Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Events, News)
  • NEW: Experience Level tags on all Learn content (Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Professional) so that you can understand how technical the content is before you start reading it
  • NEW: Richer meta data for all Learn content (author bios, related content, view counts and more) so that it will be faster and easier for you to find the content you need
  • NEW: Integrated MSDN Code Gallery so that you can find and share samples with people from all over the world
  • NEW: Simplified "Getting Started" resources and steps for new users
  • NEW: A content publishing architecture that allows us to more easily publish content at regular intervals
  • NEW: Mark content items you've "completed" so that you can keep track of what you have read
  • NEW: Mark content items as favorites - eventually we'll make it easier for you to find your favorite articles
  • User submitted content

Again, we encourage you to share your comments and suggestions during the beta phase to help us achieve our goal.

posted by Pete Brown on Wednesday, April 13, 2011
filed under:        

11 comments for “Announcing the Silverlight 5 Beta Release and the Silverlight.net Redesign”

  1. Michael Bsays:
    I would like to know, if in SL5, we will be able to boost the audio? SL seems to have a huge problem with low audio. Flash works perfect, but everything from SL is so quiet that it is soooooooo damned hard to hear.

    I like the idea of SL, but, this major problem, that is all over the web, needs to be addressed or SL will fail! I do NOT want to see it fail!

    If you know some way to tweak it, to boost the sound volume, then PLEASE share this!
  2. Michael Bsays:
    I Love MS and I have never had a problem with the company, until now, but, if we can't get boosting for the audio, can we get a Linux version, so that we may boost the audio?
  3. Marksays:
    This really is disappointing and speaks volumes to Microsoft abandoning of Silverlight in favor of HTML5. While you can assert that this is not the case, the momentum and deliverables of Silverlight are testimony themselves.

    It really is a shame as Silverlight is a terrific space, but from the business side we can understand why Microsoft needs to make some shifts.
  4. Wiebrensays:
    If you look a bit more into HTML5 , then you know it's not that big of a deal. It's just a next HTML version with some nice additions that the majority of browser not even support fully yet.

    The new thing is actually WebGL that is developed by Apple and mozilla etc. that some people fully relate to HTML5. WebGL is actually just another compiter in the flash, silverlight scene.
    It's a bit of an old fight between opengl and directx. And webgl only really works well on chrome. FF has driver issue's and MSIE doesn't support it.
  5. Rob Ainscoughsays:
    I was about to abandon SL when I discovered access to a client's file system was restricted to "My Documents" regardless of elevated permission requests.

    I see a new feature in SL5 is "Unrestricted file system access" ... now the big question, are we still restricted to using OpenDialog and SaveDialog or can we directly access a client's hard drive without having to use these rather hokey operations? Assuming of course the application requests elevated permissions and the user has accepted (once and ONLY once and not on every operation).

    This is the KEY feature that is holding me back from using SL for a business application platform. Believe it or not, many business applications do have legitimate needs to access a client's hard drive without having to prompt them every time. Being web applications (centralized management) and multiplatform is also a huge benefit, but without unrestricted file system access, it's not a viable option.

  6. Cam L.says:
    Hi Pete. Will the SL 5 work on iPad? A good number of our customers are already using our ASP.NET applications on iPad. We want to add SL to our products and still appeal to this group of customers.
  7. Petesays:

    Sorry, no. The iPad doesn't support browser plug-ins like Silverlight and Flash. In addition, like most phone/tablet platforms, they have their own SDK you need to you when building native apps.


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