A Short History of Silverlight
The development of Silverlight has been consistently incremental. Silverlight 4 is a superset
of Silverlight 3, which is a superset of Silverlight 2. Some of the code might not be
completely compatible between versions, mostly because when some things were missing
developers had to use workarounds. After a feature has been added in a later version,
however, the workarounds might not work properly anymore, and it is time to upgrade
the code to the proper implementation.
In some rare cases, the interface to some functionality might have changed because the
team came up with a better implementation. These occurrences are rare, however, and
upgrading an application to a newer version of Silverlight should be easy enough.
XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language), the language used to define
the user interface of Silverlight applications.
For a very short time, this version was named Silverlight 1.1, but considering the major
changes implemented (and also to simplify the versioning process), it made sense to
change the version number to a full digit instead.
Silverlight 2 (released shortly before the Professional Developer Conference in October
2008) was revolutionary because it brought for the very first time the .NET framework (as
a subset) to other platforms than Windows. It also included a rich set of controls,
enhanced video, new tool support, and many other exciting features
This version (again a full-digit increment) was released in July 2009, a mere nine months
after Silverlight 2. In this short time, the team managed to bring Silverlight to a more
And Silverlight 4…
And here we are! Silverlight 4 will not be the final version of this technology, but one
thing is sure: If you were still hesitating to invest in Silverlight, now is a great time to
start. We know a lot about what Silverlight is, what it can do and cannot do, and we have
a quite clear vision of what will happen in the near future. We also have Silverlight
experts with (in some cases) two or three years of experience with this technology.
Silverlight 4 is a very stable release. What we predicted when Silverlight 2 was published is
proven true today: Silverlight is here to stay, and Microsoft is betting a lot on this technology.
In these three years, it went from “Flash contender” to major user interface technology.
According to recent numbers, the Silverlight installation basis grew very fast since
Silverlight 2 was released, and you can count on approximately 60% of all the connected
computers having Silverlight 3 or Silverlight 4 already installed