It’s official. The newest and coolest version of Silverlight has just hit the Microsoft servers. This highly anticipated second beta for Silverlight 2 is the best release so far of Microsoft’s RIA framework.
I’ve seen many of the interim builds the last couple of months and I’m happy with the progress Microsoft has made. Overall the changes have been useful and timely. Not everything is rosy however. I’m still trying to determine if I like the new trigger replacement (Visual State Manager ). I guess time will tell.
When Silverlight 1 shipped it had no UI controls. That fact disappointed many developers. Microsoft is making up for that oversight with the rich support for controls in Silverlight 2. The plan is to ship ~100 controls in the final version. Let’s see what in the box for this week.
The first thing you need to understand about the Silverlight controls is that they are packaged into multiple assemblies (DLLs). Microsoft is trying hard to keep the CoreCLR small and lean. The smaller the runtime, the faster the initial install. There are trade-off however with this approach. If you want to add functionality to your app that is not in the CoreCLR, you have to download additional assemblies to the client machine with your Silverlight page. That, of course, will impact the download speed of YOUR app.
In Beta2 the thirty most common controls are packaged with the initial Silverlight install. The other seventy controls will ship in additional libraries.
Many New and Improved Controls
Here are a few of the changes in Beta2
There are few changes to the TextBox. First, it supports multi-line content. There is a new property called TextWrapping, and another named AcceptsReturn. Together, these two properties enable support for multi-lines. Rumors are circulating that it might support password chars and watermarks soon. BTW the WatermarkTextbox has disappeared from the framework.
This is new to Beta2. Works similar to it’s Windows and WPF cousins.
Yes, yes, yes… There will be a datagrid control in Silverlight. It now has support for column resize, data sorting and better perf.