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Programming .NET 3.5 by Jesse Liberty, Alex Horovitz

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Chapter 7. Introducing Silverlight: A Richer Web UI Platform

Microsoft has recently added another option in the spectrum running from ASP.NET (server-only) through AJAX (client code running JavaScript) to WPF (Windows-only). This new option is Silverlight, which offers two important improvements:

  • Rich client-side controls running in a browser

  • Cross-platform and cross-browser operation

Silverlight also incorporates a subset of the CLR and thus is able to run managed code and a carefully chosen subset of the .NET 3.5 Framework.

Silverlight leverages many of the advantages of .NET 3.5. However, it provides this power through the browser, allowing for all the deployment and platform-agnostic benefits that come with a browser-deployed application without giving up the rich interactivity of WPF.

In fact, Silverlight 2 (in beta at the time of this writing) is built on a subset of the WPF control model and uses the same markup language as WPF and WF (XAML).

Silverlight in One Chapter

Silverlight cannot be fully covered in one chapter; a comprehensive discussion would take a whole book. (In fact, it does—see the forthcoming book Programming Silverlight 2 by Jesse Liberty and Tim Heuer, also from O’Reilly.) There are two possible approaches to providing an introduction in a single chapter: we can give you an overview of its myriad features, or we can show you how to code the most fundamental features. Neither is entirely satisfactory, so we’ll do a bit of both.

The next section lists, extremely briefly, ...

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