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How to Build a Real World Silverlight 5 Application

by Gill Cleeren

With the introduction of Silverlight, Microsoft made its entry in the Rich Internet Applications (RIA) space. Previously, this market segment was dominated by technologies such as Adobe Flash. After being announced in 2007, Silverlight quickly evolved from a pure JavaScript-oriented development model in version 1, over a .NET-based model since version 2, into a rich platform ready for line-of-business (LOB) application development in versions 3 to 5. Today, Silverlight is installed on more than 70 percent (according to www.riastats.com) of all PCs, and this adoption keeps climbing. Not only is it a framework to build RIAs, it also has become the de facto framework for building applications for Windows Phone 7.

As mentioned, since version 2, Silverlight applications can be built using .NET. Both C# and VB.NET can be used as development language. On the other hand, XAML is used to create (in a declarative manner) the user interface. The XAML language was introduced with WPF at the time of .NET 3.0. Therefore, the learning curve for Silverlight for most .NET developers is not steep — you can leverage a lot of your knowledge.

Although you can fall back on many things you already know from “regular” .NET, Silverlight applications have their peculiarities. This chapter provides an overview of some issues you'll face when you leave the paved road of “demoware” (although this is not a real word, it is used here to reference ...

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