Silverlight is a framework for building rich internet applications (RIAs) that can run on various operating systems. Implemented as a free cross-browser plug-in, Silverlight provides a subset of the features within WPF in a cross-platform version of the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR).
The reason that Silverlight supports only a subset of the XAML markup that is available to a WPF application is that the primary aim of Silverlight is to maintain a small deployment file size. Therefore, to minimize the size of the plug-in, Silverlight includes only the classes necessary to develop compelling applications for deployment to a web browser.
Advantages of Silverlight Over ASP.NET
Silverlight has a number of features that you can benefit from when developing your applications. The core advantages of Silverlight are explained as follows:
- Cross Platform Support
One of the key features for Silverlight is that it runs in the browser across multiple platforms. With Silverlight applications, the developer is not tied to the Windows operating system because there are Silverlight versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Silverlight is also the key development environment for Windows Phone 7, and other phones and devices also support Silverlight.
- Vector Graphics
Silverlight offers a rich user interface that includes support for vector graphics. Vector graphics allow image assets to be scaled in the interface with no loss of quality.
The animation capabilities in Silverlight offer developers the chance to build Rich Internet Applications that far exceed the animations that can be implemented with current versions of HTML.
- Multimedia Support
The first versions of Silverlight focused on media support and Silverlight continues to provide playback support for a range of video standards as well as support for digital rights management (DRM). This makes Silverlight a very powerful media player for the Internet.
- Data Binding
The core Data Binding capabilities that are found within WPF are also available in Silverlight. This offers the capability to build a much broader range of applications as Silverlight is equally suited to the delivery of business applications as it is to animations or multimedia
- Out-Of Browser
Silverlight version 4 offers an out-of-browser option that enables an application to be installed by the user and then accessed from the user’s machine without having to browse to a web page. Out-of-browser applications are copied to the user’s hard disk and do not require registry changes to the user’s machine. The Silverlight out-of-browser option enables you to create desktop applications.