Silverlight 2: Size Matters

silverlight-120x240.jpg Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie has posted details on the forthcoming beta release of Silverlight 2 which, it appears, is relatively imminent (very likely in conjunction with Microsoft’s MIX conference March 5 – 7).

Silverlight 1.0 focused largely on rich media — primarily Web-based video — and used JavaScript as its programming model. It was, to a large extent, Microsoft’s reaction to the rapid proliferation of Flash video in Web-based advertising and on popular sites like YouTube and MySpace.

Silverlight 2 is targeted at “rich Internet applications” (RIAs) and allows development in any .NET language including Visual Basic, C#, JavaScript and others.

With version 2 Silverlight is poised to more broadly complete with Adobe’s Flash platform and the kinds of RIAs people are building with tools like Adobe’s Flex. Silverlight 2 will include controls for forms, layout management, data manipulation, and much more. See Guthrie’s post for the details.

One key fact — long presumed but good to have confirmed — is that “Silverlight 2 does not require the .NET Framework to be installed on a computer in order to run.  The Silverlight setup download includes everything necessary to enable all the [listed] features … on a vanilla Mac OSX or Windows machine.”

And one long-awaited tidbit regarding the size of Silverlight 2: “The Beta1 release of Silverlight 2 is 4.3MB.”

Silverlight 2 is, in Guthrie’s words, “a cross-platform, cross-browser version of the .NET Framework, and enables a rich .NET development platform that runs in the browser” with “.NET APIs [that] are a compatible subset of the full .NET Framework.”

And this is why the file size data is so interesting. Based on a quick survey, it looks like the redistributable packages of previous versions of the .NET framework for x86 processors are as follows:

  • .NET Framework 3.0: 50.3 Mb (the 2.8 Mb download listed is a bootstrap loader for the full download)

It will be interesting to see how much of this functionality Microsoft will be able to get into a 4.3 Mb runtime.

And, in case you were wondering, the current download of Flash Player 9 (version 9,0,115,0) is just under 1.5 Mb (1,457 Kb).

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