MIX09: Silverlight 3 Beta, Tools And More…

More news from today’s keynote at MIX09:

Silverlight 3 Beta

Silverlight 3 Beta was unveiled at MIX09. This is a preview release which introduces more than 50 new features, including support for running Silverlight applications out of the browser, dramatic video performance and quality improvements.

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New features in Silverlight 3 include:

  • Support for Higher Quality Video & Audio. With support for native H.264/Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Audio, live and on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming, full HD (720p+) playback, and an extensible decoder pipeline, Silverlight 3 brings rich, full-screen, stutter-free media experiences to the desktop.
    New and enhanced media features in Silverlight 3 include: Live and on-demand true HD (720p+) Smooth Streaming, more format choice. True HD playback in full-screen. Extensible media format support.Industry leading content protection.
  • Empowering Richer Experiences. Silverlight 3 contains new 3D graphics, animation features, hardware accelerated effects and text improvements that enable designers and developers to create next generation Web visuals.
    Additional features include: Perspective 3D Graphics. Pixel Shader effects. Bitmap Caching. New Bitmap API.Themed application support. Animation Effects. Enhanced control skinning. Improved text rendering & font support.
  • Improving Rich Internet Application Productivity.
    New features include: 60+ controls with source code. Deep Linking. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Enhanced Data Support. Improved performance through: Application library caching, Enhanced Deep Zoom, Binary XML, Local Connection.
  • Advanced Accessibility Features. Silverlight 3 is the first browser plug-in to provide access to all system colors, allowing partially-sighted people to make changes such as high contrast color schemes for ease of readability by using familiar operating system controls.
  • Out of Browser Capabilities. The new out of browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to place their favorite Silverlight applications directly onto their PC and Mac, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Further, the new experience enables Silverlight applications to work whether the computer is connected to the Internet or not—a radical improvement to the traditional Web experience.

Along with this beta release new tools got released too:

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  • Silverlight 3 Beta Tools for Visual Studio – this will install the developer runtime of Silverlight 3 Beta, the Visual Studio project templates and the Silverlight 3 Beta SDK
  • Silverlight 3 Beta developer runtimes: Windows or Mac.  If you installed the tools above, you will get the developer runtime and there is no need to install it again.  These downloads are being made available for test machines for the Windows and Mac platforms for your applications.
  • Microsoft Expression Blend 3 Preview – this is the preview version of Expression Blend that will enable authoring of Silverlight 3 Beta applications.
  • Silverlight Toolkit – the toolkit has been updated to provide an update to Silverlight 2 controls, a new release for Silverlight 3 Beta controls, and a new themes gallery.  All of these can be downloaded at the Silverlight Toolkit CodePlex project site.
  • .NET RIA Services – Microsoft .NET RIA Services simplifies the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together the ASP.NET and Silverlight platforms. The 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. 
  • Silverlight 3 Beta Documentation view documentation online or download an offline CHM help file.

Even more information can be found here and at the MIX09 session site.

Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio

Also announced at MIX09 today is the availability of Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio March 2009 CTP. Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio extend Visual Studio to enable the creation, building, debugging, running and packaging of scalable services on Windows Azure. Please note that this is a CTP release and should not be used on production systems.

Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview

On the subject of web developing, another interesting tool got released by the Expression Web Team today: SuperPreview. This tool enables developers to see how their sites look in different browsers without the need of a VM. Not with all the browsers they showed in the keynote at MIX09 today, it’s limited to IE6 and IE versions already installed on your computer, but still a handy tool. It will install on Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008, be it that on Windows 7 you will not have IE6 in the browser list. The release expires on October 1, 2009. The full and final version of this product will be bundled together with Expression Web 3, sometime later this year and will run as a separate standalone application. Long Zheng has more detailed information and screenshots of this new tool.

PressPass – Microsoft Web Technologies Unveiled at MIX09 Help Businesses Deliver Return on Experience

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.S. Today’s keynote will be available on demand at http://live.visitmix.com/ later.