Out from the dark of the lab and into the silver light

18 January 2008

We're in Nevada, so what else are we going to call our super-duper secret research center? Meet Area 51.

Today, we've unveiled some of what we've been working on over the past two or three months with regard to Silverlight 1.1. Er, sorry, that's now Silverlight 2.0. Got to keep my facts straight. I've been dropping hints about it for a little while, especially after DevConnections in Las Vegas last November when we showed it off to a couple of interested people, but this is the first time we're uncovering it for the general public.

Area 51 (I'll give the real URL in a moment...) is our web page for showing off our prototypical work with Silverlight 1.1 Alpha release. It shows three layout controls, used for displaying many items that are similar. Rather than me describe it all here, I'd recommend you go take a look.

But before I give you the URL, I have to give a few points of order.

1. Download the Refresh version of Silverlight 1.1 Alpha from Microsoft. The easiest way to get it is to go to silverlight.net and click on the links. Do not navigate to our web page first and hope that Silverlight 1.1 Alpha will be installed automatically. For reasons that are too tedious to relate, Silverlight 1.0 will be installed instead and Area 51 won't work. The Silverlight version of the Refresh is 1.1.20926.0.

2. Silverlight 1.1 Alpha is, well, an alpha release. Duh. Apart from the Silverlight team at MS, who knows what will be appearing in the next (an actual beta?) release. Our layout controls are therefore a very pre-alpha release. They will be changing. Do not assume that what you see is what you will eventually get when we release way off in the future.

3a. Talking of releasing, no, there is no release at this time. Area 51 is "just" a demo. There is no source to be had. I'm calling our layout controls a pre-alpha to emphasize that we're only showing them off now to disclose to you, our customers, what we're up to. Similarly there is no pre-compiled assemblies to be had, or documentation, or help, etc. What you see in Area 51 is all there is at the moment. Remember: things will change, and probably quite drastically as MS go through the implementation of Silverlight.

3b. And also talking of releasing, no, we don't have any concrete release date, either for the final thing or for an actual get-your-hands-on-our-bits beta. Do not assume that we would be releasing anything the same day as Silverlight 2.0 (whenever that is) or the following week or anything like that. I hate to be pedantic and boring and to have to say these things, but, even now, we get customers who make firm commitments based on some comment that we may let out inadvertently and then are upset that we let them down.

4. I can personally vouch that Area 51 works with IE7 (7.0.5730.11) and Firefox 2 (, since that's what I run on my machine. And as I said, you must make sure you have installed Silverlight 1.1 Alpha Refresh (1.1.20926.0) manually.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for. Ladies and gentlemen, behold Area 51.

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