My first look at developing Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1

Last night, I got my first look at the Silverlight 2.0 (beta1) development experience. I downloaded and installed the Silverlight tools for VS 2008 and dove right in.

Overall, I’m very impressed with Silverlight. I read through the first bit of the help files to learn the architecture and basic concepts. For the most part everything makes sense.

There were a couple of things that caught me off guard. These aren’t show stoppers by any means. Just things that I didn’t expect:

1) Silverlight 2.0 does not support synchronous calls to web services. You can add a WCF service reference, just like you would for a normal app, but the proxy only supports async operations. This is ok, but it requires changes to the way that you write your app. I think we’ll need to figure out the best model for doing this.

2) The graphical designer isn’t quite full WYSIWYG. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that it’s still in beta. At any rate, the VS 2008 design experience requires that you work with the XAML directly. It does give you good intellisense and you can drag things from the toolbox to the XAML window, but you have to understand XAML if you use VS 2008. I’m guessing that there are some alternatives to this, like using Expression to design UI, or possibly designing the UI within a standard WPF app and then porting the XAML into the Silverlight app. We’ll see.

Otherwise, the technology is very cool! It’s great to be able to write rich client type behavior for a runtime that will literally run almost anywhere (Windows, Max, Linux, etc)

I hope to share more experiences very soon!

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