UX Strategy Musings from Will Tschumy, Microsoft User Experience Advisor

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“WPF/e” is Silverlight

April 16th, 2007 by Will Tschumy

Yesterday at NAB, Microsoft announced Silverlight. I for one am really excited for this. This is the first step towards the public unveiling of Silverlight.

While I can’t go into technical details at this point, what I can say is that Silverlight (it feels so good to say that versus ‘WPF/e’!!) renders a subset of XAML (the language of WIndows Presentation Foundation) within a 1.1 meg browser plug-in (slightly larger on Mac due to it being universal).

For those of you thinking that I made some horible typo, you’re reading this correctly. Microsoft has made Silverlight fully cross-platform. As a result, we support most modern browsers, including Firefox (on Mac and PC), Safari, etc. We currently support Windows Vista, XP, with 2000 support to come. On the Mac, we support both PowerPC and Intel based Macs.

Because Silverlight is XAML, it’s essentually XML. This means a couple things:

  • First and foremost, it makes Silverlight indexable by search engines today. We’re not a blackbox of a binary format, unlike others you may have heard of
     
  • Secondly, Silverlight is accessable via the Document Object Model. This means that the same techniques you use in AJAX to update a particular part of the tree can be used to update a particular portion of a Silverlight app. Document.GetElementById just got a lot more powerful
     
  • Lastly (at least for now), all of the skills (skillz?) you’ve developed in building WPF applications are transferable to Silverlight apps
     

Lots more to come at MIX.

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