Silverlight 5 announced. Tons of new features. Beta next year

The Silverlight Firestarter-Event The Keynote of the Silverlight Firestarter Event has just ended. It started with a great business-application built by SAP, before Scott Guthrie mentioned Silverlight 5 the first time. Scott said Microsoft has implemented about 70% of the uservoice features requested by the community here

After all the “Silverlight is dead” debacle, Scott mentioned that Silverlight is a key technology for Microsoft. Microsoft thinks that HTML5, Silverlight and WPF are the technologies for buildung apps of the future. After a fantastic doctor demo in 3D where a 3D-Scott was used, Scott said, there are two things to remember after the Firestarter-Event: “”I’m really ripped and Silverlight 5 is too ;)”.

Silverlight 5 Beta will be released in the first half of 2011 (Source: Final Release will be shipped at the end of 2011 (PDC 2011? Maybe as compensation for PDC10 for the silverlight-community :-)).

Silverlight 5 contains tons of new features. Here are the features for media and applications mentioned in the keynote. Let’s start with media.


  • Hardware Decode – Videos can now be decoded by using the GPU. So your CPU can do other stuff in the meanwhile.
  • TrickPlay – You can speed up the videos you look with silverlight. Especially good for watching webcasts faster.
  • Powermanagement – Less battery is used when you’re watching a video. Also no more screensavers can jump into when the video runs
  • Remote Control – support for remote control devices to control videos from your couch.
  • IIS Media Services 4.0
    • Smooth Streaming for Silverlight, iPhone and iPad. There’s a new feature that allows streaming to any platform via the browser. So a video can streamed to Silverlight or to e.g. iPhone or iPad.
    • Low Latency Live Streaming


  • Data Binding Debugging – set breakpoints on Data Bindings directly in XAML. The debugger stops there and you can watch the locals
  • Custom Markup Extensions – create your own Markup Extension. Especially good for MVVM
  • RelativeSource now has FindAncestor-functionality from WPF – Load data e.g. from your UserControl out of a Binding in a DataTemplate.
  • Binding in Setters of Styles – allows you easy skinning of your application.
  • WCF & RIA Services
    • WS-Trust Support
    • Windows Azure Support – you can use Azure Tablestorage via WCF RIA Services
    • MVVM-friendly DataSource
    • End-to-End support for Complex Types – you can now create complex types in your Entity Data Model and use them via WCF RIA Services
    • Low latency Networking
  • Text and Printing
    • Text Clarity has been improved
    • Multicolumn Text Flow
    • Character tracking and Leading
    • Full OpenType support
    • Vector PostScript printing – yeah, that seems to be a fantastic feature for business-applications. Printing in Silverlight 4 is bitmap-based and so very slow. I’m sure the vector-based PostScript-printing will be faster and allows you to create larger documents on client-side.
  • Pivot-Element – special element that allows you a fantastic view of data in your business application. Drill down the results and have quickly and animated views. Awesome feature. Works fantastic with Sharepoint and can already be downloaded for Silverlight 4 from
  • Graphics
    • Fluid Layout Transitions
    • 3D Support – there’s a complete 3D-API in Silverlight 5 allows you to do 3D-stuff in the browser.
    • Immediate mode graphics api. Allows you to directly draw to the screen
  • Out of Browser
    • Multi Window Support
    • P/Invoke – call
    • Enterprise Group Policy Support – have in-browser-applications talking to office etc. Inside browser apps are trusted by an enterprise group policy.
  • Test and Perf-Tools
    • Automated UI Testing – simulate what the user does in the app. Coded UI to generate, record and execute a test. Already available with Feature Pack 2 (
    • Improved Profiling support
      • Memory
      • CPU
      • Thread contention

There will also be a 64bit runtime of Silverlight.

Find more to the new features on


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