What is Microsoft Silverlight?


Microsoft Silverlight is an application framework used for running rich Internet applications similar to Adobe Flash. Running as a plugin on most browsers, Microsoft Silverlight provides multiple media streams and visual effects.

Silverlight made its debut in 2007 to great fanfare; NBC used it to stream the 2008 Olympics, while Netflix and Amazon video both supported it. But quickly afterward it was overtaken by HTML5, an cross-platform platform which does not require separate plugins for each platform.

It’s a browser plugin

Microsoft Silverlight is a proprietary Web browser plugin developed by Microsoft that enables multimedia products like slideshows, streamed video and interactive games to be displayed online. The plugin runs on various platforms and browsers for desktop Windows as well as various mobile operating systems and supports many media formats including Windows Media Audio (WMA), H.264 video and Advanced Audio Coding.

Microsoft originally released SilverLight as an alternative to Adobe Flash, but it did not gain enough market share to become viable and was soon superseded by HTML5. HTML5 is a rich media platform integrated directly into web browsers – eliminating the need for plugins – that works across platforms and browsers such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android.

Although Microsoft and many of its major online partners have moved on from Silverlight, you can still download it for free until 2021. Note, however, that Silverlight won’t work with Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 or later or Chrome or Firefox browsers; therefore if you plan on installing and using this plugin it would be wise to do it only on trusted websites.

Silverlight SDKs, which allow developers to build applications for the plugin, are free and readily available to all. While intended to work with Visual Studio, other IDEs may also be suitable. Silverlight uses Windows Presentation Foundation – an extension of the full.NET Framework class library – as its user interface; therefore if you’re familiar with WPF, Silverlight should prove very straightforward for use.

Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin does not run on Linux, but the Mono open source project offers an offshoot called Moonlight which does. Though less feature-rich than Silverlight, Moonlight can still be used to build complex Web applications or embedded into HTML for added functionality. Silk Test Classic includes built-in support for testing Silverlight applications using Open Agent; it records and replays all Silverlight controls while providing locator keywords to facilitate dynamic object recognition scripts.

It’s free

Microsoft Silverlight is a browser plugin developed by Microsoft that makes it possible to stream video, animation and live streams on web pages. As an alternative to Adobe Flash’s heavyweight multimedia container approach that requires plug-in players for playback, Silverlight uses Microsoft’s.NET Framework technology and can run across a range of browsers and devices – plus support features such as IIS Smooth Streaming, PivotViewer and 3D Graphics support!

Silverlight stands apart from Adobe Flash as a cross-platform development framework, enabling programmers to more easily build applications across various platforms using various programming languages such as C# and Visual Basic.NET; it is then interpreted by an interpreter running across all supported operating systems, making creation much simpler for programmers who use multiple operating systems; additionally it also offers many additional benefits including creating advanced user interfaces and graphics components while integrating data from other services.

Silverlight used to be an increasingly popular platform for streaming media online, but as HTML5 became the industry standard it has fallen out of favor with major partners including Netflix and Amazon Prime switching over. Google Chrome abandoned support in 2015 while Firefox followed suit in 2017. Virtually no browser supports Silverlight now while Microsoft will cease providing updates in 2021.

Microsoft Silverlight was an extremely capable and flexible tool for building rich internet applications during its prime, although not nearly as widely adopted as Adobe’s Flash. Microsoft eventually discontinued support for Silverlight and advised its users to consider other technologies.

Though Flash no longer reigns supreme as the go-to solution for streaming media on the Web, it remains a viable choice for certain sites and can provide an alternative to JavaScript. Flash also makes an excellent way of adding rich media experiences on both desktops and mobile devices alike and supports numerous formats including H.264, WMV, VC-1 and MP3. Plus it comes complete with developer tools for developers!

It’s a platform

Microsoft Silverlight is a browser plugin designed to run Web applications within any web browser, creating interactive multimedia and rich media experiences. It’s available across a range of web browsers, operating systems and device types and includes features to provide more accessible experiences for people living with disabilities – these features can be implemented either through programming specific accessibility actions or the Silverlight WCAG techniques.

Microsoft introduced Silverlight, its answer to Adobe Flash player, in 2007. Silverlight is an application framework designed to run rich Internet applications similar to Adobe’s Flash. Silverlight provides a more complete media experience than traditional HTML, including support for XAML markup languages such as hardware accelerated 3D graphics, HD video, vector animations, etc.

However, as HTML5’s popularity grew, Microsoft switched their attention from Silverlight to the Universal Windows Platform, designed for desktops, mobile devices, and the Xbox One console – an advanced and flexible alternative that will eventually replace Silverlight which was discontinued by 2021.

Though still accessible, its technology hasn’t been updated in years – leaving security vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit open. While most have been fixed over time, to protect yourself from potential risks it may be wise to uninstall this plugin altogether.

Over the past several years, online partners have increasingly turned to HTML5 and other portable platforms instead of Silverlight for cross-platform video streaming apps, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Unfortunately, some popular apps still rely on Silverlight; Netflix and Amazon Prime Video among them are some examples. Please be aware that should this plugin be removed from your computer, these applications will no longer function correctly.

After Microsoft stopped updating Silverlight, there have been various alternatives that provide similar capabilities. One such reimplementation, OpenSilver, uses WebAssembly to convert Silverlight projects to formats compatible with modern browsers – giving developers an edge and expanding customer bases by making web applications accessible across many devices and browsers. While not ideal, developers still gain an edge while expanding customer bases through this method.

It’s a tool

Microsoft Silverlight is a free plugin that enables developers to build cross-browser and device applications using the Microsoft XAML framework. It can display high-quality videos, live streams, vibrant graphics and animations – it can even be used to develop line-of-business applications – but Microsoft will soon no longer support Silverlight after October 12, 2021; until then it would be best to explore alternative tools for cross-platform application development.

Silverlight user interfaces (UIs) are created using XAML, which is parsed dynamically by its engine at runtime compared to HTML which must be precompiled at compile time before being presented by web browsers. It features a hierarchy used to determine default reading order and tab order of its content as well as support accessibility through UI Automation Accessibility Framework (UIA), providing information about itself and its content directly to assistive technologies subscribed to UI Automation Accessibility Framework.

Microsoft Silverlight’s decline can be attributed to several factors, including limited adoption and competition from HTML5. Once popular for streaming media and rich Internet applications, its initial popularity quickly faded due to rival platforms like the Universal Windows Platform – offering more flexible features compatible with mobile devices – becoming more viable and compelling to developers. As a result, more developers are shifting their development efforts away from Silverlight toward this more flexible alternative platform.

Microsoft no longer updates Silverlight security updates, leaving it more susceptible to exploits and attacks than previously. Because of this, using Silverlight for new projects may no longer be advised; other solutions offer greater security may be preferable instead.

Silverlight remains an invaluable tool for designers and developers who aim to craft user-friendly experiences in business applications, websites, mobile apps and media experiences. Easy to deploy and ideal for users requiring rich media experiences – Silverlight also represents an affordable means of developing interactive apps and videos.

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