As we mentioned yesterday, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Microsoft .NET Developer Platform announced several offerings during his keynote at the MIX11 show in Las Vegas that are designed to make web development easier and more seamless, while giving developers the flexibility and freedom to use the tools they choose across cloud, web, and phone development.

Today, announcements from Scott's Day 2 keynote focused on Silverlight (watch it: live.visitmix.com). Following up on the announcement of Silverlight 5 last December, Guthrie announced the immediate availability of Silverlight 5 beta with tooling support in Visual Studio and Expression Blend. Silverlight 5 makes further advances in media, application development, and user experience. The Silverlight 5 beta is available for download at www.silverlight.net. Beta highlights include:

  • Media improvements: High-definition video playback is made possible on lower-power devices using GPU accelerated hardware decode to render H.264 content. Another new capability, "TrickPlay" allows video to be played at different speeds and supports fast-forward and rewind, a common requirement for online company training.
  • Easier Application Development: A range of improvements for application development includes support for XAML databinding debugging which enables developers to rapidly identify issues in how their UI design connects to their code.
  • Faster performance: Many areas of Silverlight 5 are faster resulting in better user experience for application startup and runtime. Areas seeing improved performance include XAML parsing, multicore JIT compiler optimization, text layout and reduced network latency.
  • Rich User Experiences: The built-in XNA 3D graphics API lets developers build rich, GPU accelerated visualizations and rich user experiences around full 3D models. This includes a new 3D drawing surface control, as well as immediate mode GPU access, shaders, and effects.

A full list of beta features is available at www.silverlight.net.

As we mentioned yesterday, here are the Day 1 keynote highlights:

Windows Azure: With new Windows Azure platform services and capabilities, developers can take advantage of skills they already know in order to build and scale web applications that can be hosted in the cloud. For example, the new version of Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control helps developers build federated authorization into applications. In addition, Windows Azure AppFabric Caching improves high-speed access and scalability for Windows Azure applications. You can sign up for these at the Windows Azure Portal.

For developers that want built-in media streaming capabilities via encrypted channels, the new Windows Azure Content Delivery Network for IIS Smooth Streaming is also being announced. The CTP of Windows Azure Content Delivery Network for IIS Smooth Streaming will be released in Q2 of this calendar year. To learn how to access the CTP, visit Windows Azure Portal.

Developers who need to balance application performance across multiple geographies will want to learn about the CTP of Windows Azure Traffic Manager CTP, which is available now. Information on applying for the CTP will be available on the Beta Programs section of the Windows Azure platform Management Portal.


Microsoft Web Platform: A number of new updates to the Microsoft Web Platform are now available, including a refresh of ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools Update, which gives web developers an array of newly built-in features, such as Entity Framework 4.1 with Code First; Scaffolding that automatically writes the Controller and database code; new HTML 5 markup support that lets developers style HTML5 elements in browser versions prior to Internet Explorer 8; and jQuery project templates. In addition, developers can easily access the latest versions of project templates by means of the NuGet feed.

Underscoring Microsoft's commitment to sponsoring open source projects, the latest release of Orchard 1.1 is also available. Orchard is a free open source content management system in the Outercurve Foundation's ASP.NET Open Source Gallery. To download the latest Microsoft Web Platform updates, including the latest release of Orchard, visit www.microsoft.com/web.

For more information, check out the MIX Virtual Press Room.