Microsoft has recently announced Silverlight version 5. Silverlight has come a long way since 2007, when it was released for the first time and was presented yet another layer on top of the web, like Flash. Flash has always attracted negative sentiments, and in competing with Flash, Silverlight too has shared some of that negativity. However, Silverlight has never been aggressive about promoting itself, this might be the last version of Silverlight.
Silverlight 5 was announced on the MSDN Silverlight blog.
Today, we’re happy to announce the release of Silverlight 5. Silverlight is part of a rich offering of technologies from Microsoft helping developers deliver applications for the web, desktop and mobile devices. Download Silverlight 5, a free plug-in less than 7 MB in size that can be installed in less than 10 seconds.
Silverlight 5 will allow hardware H.264 decoding, adapting it better for video content. It also sports an improved graphics stack with 3D support, using the XNA API. This makes Silverlight 5 a more mature and capable platform for developing rich internet application.
However, the big changes in Silverlight 5 are probably the P/Invoke (platform invocation) support for native code, (allowing developers to call dll files) and a “Trusted Applicationfeature, which allows the application to move out of the Silverlight plugin sandbox.
Silverlight 5 will make more sense for development on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 apps, and Microsoft already has that in mind. You can download Silverlight 5 at this page.
You might also be interested in Moonlight, an open-source alternative to Silverlight.