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Silverlight 5 Lives On

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Microsoft has recently released its fully functional update to the Silverlight browser plug-in.
The newest version is the fifth official update.
Along with its release come unbounded and unsubstantiated rumors from every corner of the software development and programming universe.
Most of the chatter on blogs and forums surrounding Silverlight 5 is focused on the long-term future of the entire Silverlight framework.
One of the possible outcomes being predicted for Silverlight would be similar to the recent surrender of the Flash plug-in to the powerful HTML 5 framework.
If Silverlight does indeed begin to wane in popularity as did Flash it would mark the end of a truly important technology.
It would be unfortunate if Microsoft ended support of Silverlight so soon.
Thankfully what has not accompanied the release of Silverlight 5 is any confirmation from Microsoft that the rumors describing the death of its browser plug-in are true.
There are new features in Silverlight 5 which indicate the opposite might be true.
Some of the new features in Silverlight are not a surprise to programmers already familiar with the widespread beta version which was released earlier this year.
Included in the official update is one particular improvement I find interesting and potential useful.
The Variable speed playback or "trick play" feature which allows users to speed up the playback of video by a factor of up to 2.
0 (the feature is most effective at factors around 1.
5) without giving the voices the sped up chipmunk sound with which you are undoubtedly familiar.
With this feature you can watch videos in less time without losing the quality of the audio.
Additional support for H.
264 media means significant performance improvements as well.
Graphics capabilities have also increased and as a result Silverlight 5 offers more support for independent animations on separate threads among other optimizations.
3D graphics in Silverlight 5 will be easier to utilize thanks to full project templates with starter architecture which are included in the Silverlight toolkit.
Many other bugs have been fixed and tweaks made to improve the user experience.
While all the rumors suggesting Silverlight plug-in technology is possibly coming to an end are not entirely unsubstantiated considering the recent Flash plug-in demise and the growing popularity of cross device framework HTML, Microsoft is investing plenty of time and money in supporting Silverlight as its mobile development platform at least through 2021.
By focusing on Silverlight as the present and future of their mobile platform developers can trust that Silverlight will be not merely supported by Microsoft for the foreseeable future but also deeply intertwined with its top priorities from web applications to business solutions and beyond.
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