Microsoft has announced Silverlight 4 here at PDC in Los Angeles. The gist of it I was expecting – device support, an option for fuller system access out of the browser – but the extent of the new features is remarkable. Here’s a few highlights:
- Improved Just-in-time compilation gives 30% faster start-up, up to 100% performance increase
- COM automation support on Windows when out of browser with full trust
- Access to local file system, cross-site Internet access, custom window chrome when in full trust out of browser
- Notification pop-up support even when sandboxed
- Drag and drop target even when sandboxed
- HTML control (only works out of browser), supports plug-ins
- Rich text control with right-to-left text support
- Printing support
- Clipboard, right-click and mouse wheel support
- Web cam and microphone support
Of course there are a few unanswered questions, such as what level of HTML support is available, or how Microsoft is protecting users from malicious Silverlight applets; I’ll be exploring these later today.
It’s clear though that Microsoft wants to compete fully with Adobe AIR, and that its energetic Silverlight development is continuing at full pace.
The beta is available now; full release is promised for the first half of 2010.
So where is Microsoft going with this? Why would anyone develop for WPF and Windows, if good enough features, cross-platform, and zero install is available through Silverlight?
Interesting times for .NET developers.