So today at TechEd, Soma Somasegar and Bill Gates will announce that Silverlight 2 Beta 2 will be publicly available later this week.

So what is new:

· UI Framework: Beta 2 includes improvements in animation support, error handling and reporting, automation and accessibility support, keyboard input support, and general performance.  This release also provides more compatibility between Silverlight and WPF.

· Rich Controls: Beta 2 includes a new templating model called Visual State Manager that allows for easier templating for controls. Other features include the introduction of TabControl, text wrapping and scrollbars for TextBox, and for DataGrid additions include Autosize, Reorder, Sort, performance increases and more.  Controls are now in the runtime instead of packaged with the application.

· Networking Support: Beta 2 includes improved Cross Domain support and security enhancements, upload support for WebClient, and duplex communications (“push” from server to Silverlight client).

· Rich Base Class Library: Beta 2 includes improved threading abilities, LINQ-to-JSON, ADO.NET Data Services support, better support for SOAP, and various other improvements to make networking and data handling easier.

· Deep Zoom: Beta 2 introduces a new XML-based file format for Deep Zoom image tiles, as well as a new MultiScaleTileSource that enables existing tile databases to utilize Deep Zoom. Better notification for sub-images enter the view is another improvement in Silverlight 2 Beta 2.

So why is this cool?  For those at the AIC 2008 in the UK.  You remember the demo and introduction I did that was built on Deep Zoom (Basically, the presentation running in a Data centre that was embedded in by business card on my laptop bag)  For a great example of the power of Silverlight then check out the Hard Rock site

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