A day earlier than expected, Microsoft has released version 3 of its Flash alternative Silverlight, including a number of related tools to aid in Silverlight development. It comes with a whole lot of new features.
Microsoft’s main Silverlight web page has not yet been updated, but the release is really there, and you can get it here. Silverlight 3 runs on Windows and Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher, both PowerPC and Intel machines. Officially, the plug-in supports Internet Explorer 6/7/8, Firefox 2/3, and Safari 3/4, but I noticed that my Chrome 3.x installation on Windows 7 works with Silverlight content just fine as well.
There are lots of new features, and Ars Technica summed up the most important ones very nicely:
- Media: GPU hardware acceleration, new codec support (H.264, AAC, MPEG-4), raw bitstream Audio/Video API, and improved logging for media analytics
- Graphics: GPU Acceleration and hardware compositing, perspective 3D, bitmap and pixel API, pixel shader effects, and Deep Zoom improvements
- Application development: Deep linking, navigation and SEO, improved text quality, multi-touch support, 60+ controls available, and library caching support
- Data: Data-binding improvements, validation error templates, server data push improvements, binary XML networking support, and multi-tier REST data support