Silverlight is a plugin that can be used for multiple platforms and browsers, and it is designed to offer state of the art media experiences which are based on .NET.
Additionally, Silverlight provides a programming model which is highly adaptable, and which offers support for many different languages such as Ajax, Ruby, and Python. It can be integrated well with web applications that already exist, and some of its capabilities include rapid and affordable delivery of audio which is high in quality.
Through the use of Visual Studio along with Expression Studio, designers can work together to create high end Silverlight tools for the web. At the same time, it is important to understand the architecture which underlies Silverlight.
Many users today are looking for applications and web experiences where they can not only meet their needs, but also gain a high level of satisfaction from the tools they use.
In many cases, this satisfaction will have a strong emotional effect on the user, and will generate their perceptions of the company they are dealing with.
Microsoft has been one of the first companies to acknowledge this issue, and has begin emphasizing UX, or the user experience as one portion for the end-to-end experience.
One thing that needs to be emphasized is that UX is more than simply a pretty user interface. Instead, it is the collection of the interactive points for the user through the program. Therefore, the goal of Silverlight is to generate a powerful user experience wherever it is needed, and this could include the web, portable devices, or Windows.
Two good examples of UX in action are Windows Vista and Office 2007. Both of these software applications place a high emphasis on UX, and major changes were added to both tools to not only deal with productivity, but satisfaction as well.
For Windows Vista in particular, new ways are offered for organizing and visualizing files, as well as media. When it comes to the UX, a high emphasis has been made on user tasks.
With the release of Office 2007, the "Ribbon" feature was offered as the replacement for the standard toolbars. As a powerful extension, the ribbon lowers the time that is needed to find various features within in Office, and finding the features can be done in as little as 10 seconds.
Both designers and developers played an important role in the evolution of these tools. The UX feature is only enhanced further in Silverlight.
UX and Silverlight
As far as platforms are concerned, Microsoft offers powerful tools that can be used to deal with the various application interactive surfaces which are available.
ASP.NET AJAX provides the advantage of basic MS support such as 24 hour customer service for Ajax applications which are built for the web. This allows the web applications to be much more effective when it comes to enhancing the interaction parameters for the application, and this includes navigation and the uses of resources.
When web applications need 2-D animation, or even vector graphics, Silverlight can be used to enhance the capabilities of the browsers, allowing them to actually render XAML, along with HTML.
Through the utilization of the web architecture for the development, which involves the industry standard pages, along with XAML, Microsoft has sought to introduce highly interactive elements to websites, breaking them free of the bland structure which is present today.
As an additional advantage, the content which is created via Silverlight or ASP.NET AJAX may be more discovered without the need to provide the advantage of being a cross platform tool.
In a nutshell, Silverlight is a technology which complements ASP.NET AJAX. In a larger sense, Silverlight also has the option of interacting with any software application that is based on AJAX, whether it is server or client based.
Some of the applications which Silverlight can interact with include rich presentation and mapping tools. For applications which are connected via Windows, Microsoft offers the .NET Framework programming layer, and included within this is the WPF, or Windows Presentation Foundation.
Through the use of WPF, it is possible for developers and designers to generate applications that are not only rich and connected, but immersive as well. These tools can take advantage of Windows, and this includes its document support, media, and UI.
The superset which WPF uses is identical to that which is utilized by Silverlight. There are a number of key properties which are associated with the Silverlight architecture.
Silverlight Architecture Properties
One property which is commonly associated with Silverlight is its ability to be integrated within browsers that are used with both Mac OS and Windows.
It allows for the rendering of impressive user experiences which are designated through XAML. It is also capable of rendering various forms of media, which include video and music.
An additional property of the Silverlight architecture is that it allows for a level of programming which is closely related to the Web programming system, and last but not least, it is quite small. When it comes to the actual architecture for Silverlight, it makes use of Windows and Mac OS modules that are made for IE, Firefox, and Safari.
Silverlight also makes use of what is known as the Native presentation runtime. This basically refers to the browser enhancement which provides for XAML rendering of 2-D graphics, as well as media and text. It will render this in addition to HTML. XAML can be used in three forms, and this is at an inline, package, or file.
Another thing which makes Silverlight useful is that an interactive audio and video is available. It is cross platform, and can render WMA and WMV files, along with MP3s.
Video and audio are processed in XAML in the form of media elements, and this offers flexibility to the presentation they offer.
Additionally, the support for media leverages the Windows Media system will, and allows for high quality media delivery at a low cost.
The flexibility of an application, as well as its consistency with web standards will generate more chances for enhancing the effectiveness and impact of web applications. This will allow them to be much more scalable, as well as dynamic and fault tolerant.
This basically means that their markup can be changed very quickly, and this means that it is easier to make content discoverable. Web pages which make use of Silverlight must be able to determine whether or not Silverlight is installed, and it can direct the users to download and install it, through either the object tag or redirect tag.
Silverlight can be used for a number of different applications, and some of them include Rich islands on a page, web media, and web visualization.
Rich islands can be used for more casual games, and web visualization refers to various navigation properties or ads. Web media involves anything which is connected to playback or events.