Becoming an ever-more dangerous rival to Flash.
Watch out Adobe: Microsoft Silverlight 3 has launched and boy is its feature list something for Flash’s makers to pay just a little attention to. Foremost in the feature set: the addition of GPU-acceleration; though codec support has been improved, too.
The latest codecs to be added to Silverlight are H.264 are MPEG-4 video and AAC audio as well as a raw bitstream audio/video API. It’s not hard to guess what GPU-acceleration of Silverlight will mean for consumers with PCs able to take advantage of it.
Multi-touch support is touted, alongside less inspiring upgrades such as improved deep linking, navigation, SEO and library caching support – thrilling stuff I’m sure all you non-developers will agree.
Silverlight 3 also brings persistency outside of the browser to Silverlight-based applications. Or, in other words, you can open a Silverlight app from, say, Firefox into a new Window and it will carry on running if Firefox is closed.
I highly recommend checking out Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming demo if you want to see what Silverlight can offer. Sure, on an ideal web where stable high-bandwidth connections are prevalent such dynamic bandwidth adaptation would be unnecessary, but those of us not living in Cloud Cuckoo Land will no doubt appreciate how cool it is flicking through a web-based high definition video without constant pauses and only short drops in quality. And remember, things can only get better as more developers get on board.