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Silverlight: Article

Silverlight 2 - Adobe Flex Killer Is on Its Way!

Silverlight 2.0 kicks ass and I can't wait to start dropping more hardcore blog posts regarding it

First off, let me just say that I've been waiting for this day for almost a year now. When Silverlight 1.0 came out, I was terribly disappointed but I was also really eager as well. I saw potential in that JavaScript-only cross-platform runtime. When Silverlight 1.1 came out (which I think was actually only a few days after 1.0) as an alpha, I was even more intrigued and excited. Sure, it had no controls, no layout panels, and no data binding, and very little networking support - but it ran with a .NET CLR back-end, and it was cross-platform. I was writing C# code in Visual Studio that would eventually run (and could be debugged!!) on Safari on Mac OS X.

Now the first of what I consider the true Silverlight releases is here - Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1. Microsoft has been getting an unfair onslaught of bad press from developers regarding Silverlight. In the good old days, we used to slam and insult Microsoft for taking too damn long to come out with releases, and the releases they gave us were incomplete and didn't have what we wanted. So Microsoft actually listened and with Silverlight and some other recent projects, they are adopting a "Release Early, Release Often" methodology where we're getting premature bits so that Microsoft can solicit vital feedback before releasing the actual betas. So instead of thanking Microsoft for giving us early access to this stuff, we end up giving Microsoft even more crap for "releasing half-baked product".

Silverlight 2.0 kicks ass and I can't wait to start dropping more hardcore blog posts regarding it. Scott Guthrie's tutorials are a fantastic place to start. The issue I have, however, is that all of the tutorials assume you have installed Silverlight 2.0 tools for VS 2008. There is a small issue with that and I'm not sure everyone's aware of it.

First, you must not install the SDK or Silverlight 2.0 runtime if you plan on installing the VS 2008 tools. The VS 2008 tool installer is a chain install that gives you everything, and actually requires that nothing be previously installed. Second, the Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 tools for VS 2008 installer requires the presence of your original VS 2008 installation media! This might have easily been overlooked in testing. When you are installing the VS 2008 tools for Silverlight, it actually looks for the file vs_install.msi. If you don't have this, you're screwed. Thankfully I keep expanded ISO images on a spare USB hard drive for just such an occasion, but it was damn frustrating until I figured out what was going on.

So, if you make sure you're working off a clean system that has nothing Silverlight-related installed, and you've got VS 2008 installed and the "Visual Web Developer" option for VS 2008, then you're good to go. Also, I believe these tools will not work on the Express editions of VS 2008 - you need the full-blown Pro or better edition.

I'll be posting more on Silverlight 2.0 in the coming days and weeks, provided I can find enough spare time to squeeze it in between all the other stuff I'm doing. I am very excited about finally getting my hands on this release and I hope everyone else is too!

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More Stories By Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.

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Most Recent Comments
Karel 05/30/08 06:46:24 AM EDT

You [REDACTED] stupid! Have you heard about moonlight?

Chris 04/24/08 10:11:22 AM EDT

Hey DirkDiggler:

I'd respond to your post, but I'm too busy converting all my ColdFusion and Flex apps to Adobe AIR.

Erik 04/24/08 10:04:39 AM EDT

This is like a drug commercial - one claim (kicks ass!) and a whole page of disclaimers about how you're screwed if you don't install it correctly. Silverlight is misnamed - nothing Microsoft puts out is compatible with them term "light" - should be call SilverHeavy, or maybe Silverlight is a code word for SilverVaporware...

DirkDiggler 04/15/08 08:12:37 PM EDT

RIA's - be they Silverlight or Flex - aren't poised to take over now or anytime in the foreseeable future...Unless you're a multi-media company, there's no real business reason for re-writing well-designed web apps on proven technologies. Just hype to sell products by both MS and Adobe alike.

Tom Van den Eynde 04/13/08 05:17:00 PM EDT

What a lousy article. There's nothing in there that tells the reader WHY Silverlight would be the Adobe Flex killer. Just more FUD from a Microsoftie.

echo7 04/10/08 03:48:19 PM EDT

The reason why Silverlight is better then the old flash/flex is in the XAML. The fact that you can write your own animation or RIA application with simple notepad is in itself awesome. Instead of having the overbloated flash app to develop you can use a variaty of application to write XAML. My pridiction is that Adobe will fold and create the abilty to create XAML from within their own applications. FLASH is just too closed in.

Christopher 04/10/08 03:06:25 PM EDT

jimm, you socialists are all the same.

BTW, Barack Obama is a looser and you know it.

jimm 04/10/08 03:02:52 PM EDT

How do you make technology available to everyone? and, deliver its promise!? STOP using M$oft! Period! Now! They are holding back tech adoption (benefit) world wide!

Ali Abuzayyad 04/09/08 04:20:50 PM EDT

.net will be available on all platforms in time. especially on linux, when the bsd/linux community at yahoo starts working for microsoft.

Tommy B 04/09/08 03:55:14 AM EDT

This article is just friggin lame. To use a title like "Adobe Flex Killer is on Its Way!" I was expecting to see some actual facts or at least some good points that would even give Silverlight a chance of doing what the title said. Nothing. Just some M$ nuthugger who wants to hang on to his ancient code with both hands and is just so excited that M$ is just trying to come up with a way for him to do that. I would love to see some actual Flex apps this tool has done. AND LMFAO at you hopers and dreamers that think Silverlight WILL EVER reach the number of machines flex and flash do.

HAHAHAHAA 04/08/08 01:17:05 PM EDT

Adobe Flex killer? ROFLMAO

Not only is that completely retarded - but why the hate for Flex? Is your hate for Flex based on, oh I dunno, any sort of facts, shortcomings, or flaws... or just because you're a Microsoft fanboy? I've yet to hear something from a "Silverlight developer" that makes me say, "Oh wow, I wish Flex could do that!"


.net 03/31/08 02:30:55 PM EDT

.net clr in the browser is huge!!! This means developers can create enterprise applications with silverlight and have all of the .net classes (ie System.Threading, System.Linq, Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.Data;
Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.Data.Sql, etc., etc., .......)

This is huge. Savvy!

anthony 03/19/08 09:02:20 PM EDT

ah please. right now silverlight is so yesterday.

Chris 03/17/08 02:43:30 PM EDT

"Siverlight, I fart in your general direction."

diesel 03/16/08 05:13:25 PM EDT

I have got a good list for all SilverLight haters: Netscape, Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, MacOS, Borland IDE etc... Just b/c Flash appeared earlier in the market doesn't mean nothing in front of M$. Flash doesn't have outstanding stuff in its sleeves, and that Action Script is a turbo charged javascript that sux big time. Adobe is not famous for having the best language designers, compiler writers or virtual machine builders. Flash/Flex will be going down and eventually ends up as another member of that list.

Chris Walker 03/15/08 08:29:53 PM EDT

There is a lot to say about first to market. Flex 3.0 and LiveCycle ES will own Silverlight. I love Microsoft, but they aren't going to undo 15 years of Flash technology.

C. Walker

Director, Adobe RIA Competency Labs

BBL Leasing
Bridgeville, PA

Chris 03/12/08 09:30:07 AM EDT

You guys are all MS haters and wouldn't know great technology if it smacked you in the head. Come on now
- Cross platform support
- Fast RIA development (without Javascript)
- CLR in the browser (did you just hear what I just said..CLR in the browser) This is probably the best thing about Silverlight.

Reguardless of how much you guys hate you can't stop this train... Silverlight will succeed on its own merit with or without you haters. Ms has a home run with this one and your mad because you never saw it coming.

C# Fan

Nick 03/12/08 06:34:03 AM EDT

It's not cross-platform - it's Windows mainly, Apple secondarily, Unix never, Linux never. I'm interested only in tools that are fully cross-platform. This crap will never "kill" anything.

Ralf 03/11/08 06:06:53 PM EDT

Actually I did not need the VS 2008 installation media when using the Chainer to install all the tools to develope Silverlight 2.0 applications. Maybe it depends on prerequisites which were not available on your specific machine?

Tony C 03/11/08 05:05:18 PM EDT

What a stupid article. It is clear the autjor has no idea about Adobe Flex. Siverlight is a Jonny come later product that will only be used by people in pure windows enviornment which is nobody in Corporate America

dinter 03/11/08 11:10:40 AM EDT

Hey, John. Did you see the part saying "running C# in Safari" and you laughed at it cross-platform ability? SilverLight is going to whip Flex or any other silly HTML-oriented Web Apps. M$ is positioned to hit a grand slam here.

John 03/10/08 07:14:29 PM EDT

What an idiot! "Flex Killer"??? Right. Hey Kev...you ever heard the word "cross-platform"?

Silverlight News Desk 03/06/08 01:10:14 PM EST

Silverlight 2.0 kicks ass and I can't wait to start dropping more hardcore blog posts regarding it. Scott Guthrie's tutorials are a fantastic place to start. The issue I have, however, is that all of the tutorials assume you have installed Silverlight 2.0 tools for VS 2008. There is a small issue with that and I'm not sure everyone's aware of it.

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