A while ago, the wave of “Intenet 2.0” and the public’s demand for richer, improved and visually atractive web UI gave birth to the once code-named Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E).
After a lot of internal testing, along with feedback from limited previews, with the official name “Silverlight”, Microsoft proudly released an almost bi-monthly public version of the preview.
Silverlight is the first runtime for browser-based Rich Internet Applications, (RIA) that proves a subset of the animation, vector graphics, and video playback capabilities of Windows Presentation Foundation. The runtime is available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, with Linux support under development via the third-party Moonlight runtime.
Silverlight supports playback of WMV, WMA and MP3 media content across all supported browsers without requiring Windows Media Player, the Windows Media Player ActiveX control or Windows Media browser plugins. Because Windows Media Video 9 is an implementation of the SMPTE VC-1 standard, Silverlight also supports VC-1 video, though still only in an ASF file format. Furthermore, the Software license agreement says VC-1 is only licensed for the “personal and non-commercial use of a consumer”.
Silverlight makes it possible to dynamically load XML content that can be manipulated through a DOM interface, a technique that is consistent with conventional Ajax techniques. Silverlight exposes a Downloader object which can be used to download content, like scripts, media assets or other data, as may be required by the application. With version 2.0, the programming logic can be written in any .NET language, including some common dynamic programming languages like Ruby and Python.