Announcing Silverlight 5

Today at the Silverlight FireStarter event we unveiled the next release of Silverlight. 

Silverlight 5 adds significant new features and capabilities, and enables developers to create premium media experiences and deliver rich applications across browsers, desktops and devices.  In my keynote this morning we demonstrated a number of them, and highlighted both the developer productivity Silverlight 5 provides and the great new user experiences it enables.  You can watch my keynote here.

A Silverlight 5 beta will be available in the first half of next year, and the final release will ship in the second half of 2011.

Premium Media Experiences

We are seeing great adoption of Silverlight for premium media solutions. In the last few months we’ve seen companies like Canal+, TV2, and Maximum TV launch both live and on-demand Silverlight solutions.

Silverlight 5 will enable media experiences to go even further by adding:

  • Hardware video decode: Silverlight 5 now supports GPU accelerated video decode, which significantly reduces CPU load for HD video.  Using Silverlight 5, even low powered Netbooks will be able to play back 1080p HD content

  • Trickplay: Silverlight 5 now enables variable speed playback of media content on the client with automatic audio pitch correction. This is great for training videos where you want to speed up the trainer while still understanding what he’s saying

  • Improved power awareness will prevent screensavers from kicking in while you’re watching movies while allowing the computer to sleep when video is not playing.

  • Remote-control support is now built-into Silverlight 5 - allowing users to control media playback with remote control devices.

Application Development

Silverlight provides a rich application development environment that enables you to build great web delivered applications. 

Silverlight 5 delivers significant improvements for application development including:

  • Databinding and MVVM: Silverlight 5 delivers significant data-binding improvements that improve developer productivity and provide better Silverlight/WPF feature convergence.  Developers can now debug data-binding expressions, set breakpoints on bindings, and more easily determine errors.  Implicit DataTemplates now allow templates to be created across an application to support a particular type by default.  Ancestor RelativeSource bindings makes it easier for a DataTemplate to bind to a property on a container control. Binding in style setters allows bindings to be used within styles to reference other properties.  And a new DataContextChanged event is being introduced to make handling changes easier. Markup extensions are also now support and allow code to be run at XAML parse time for both properties and event handlers, enabling cutting-edge MVVM support.
  • WCF and RIA Services: Silverlight 5 now includes WS-Trust support.  WCF RIA Services improvements include complex type support, better MVVM support, and improved customization of code generation.  Silverlight 5’s networking stack also now supports low-latency network scenarios that enable more responsive application scenarios.
  • Text and Printing: Silverlight 5 delivers improved text clarity that enables crisper and cleaner text rendering, multi-column text flow and linked text containers, character and leading support, and full OpenType font support.  Silverlight 5 also includes a new Postscript Vector Printing API that provides programmatic control over what you print, and enables printing richer reports and documents.  Pivot functionality – which enables developers to build amazing information visualization experiences – will also be provided built-into the Silverlight 5 SDK.
  • Graphics: Silverlight 5 includes immediate mode graphics support that enables developers to take full advantage of the GPU (graphics processing unit) and enables accelerated 3-D graphics support.  This new support facilitates much richer data visualization scenarios (make sure to watch the keynote to see some really eye-popping ones). 
  • Out of Browser: Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5.  Out of browser applications can now create and manage child windows.  Trusted out of browser applications can now also use P/Invoke capabilities to call unmanaged libraries and Win32 APIs.  Enhanced group policy support enables enterprises to both lock down and open up security sandbox capabilities of Silverlight 5 applications.
  • Testing Tools: We are adding automated UI testing support for Silverlight applications with Visual Studio 2010.  This makes it easy to test Silverlight applications, and automate the functionality of them.
  • Performance: Silverlight 5 support faster application startup, and provides 64-bit browser support.  Silverlight 5 also integrates with the new Hardware Acceleration capabilities of IE9, and enables hardware acceleration in windowsless mode.  


We are really excited about the great new capabilities that Silverlight 5 will deliver, and look forward to getting your feedback.  My keynote is available to watch online here if you want to see the new release in action and more information can be found on the Silverlight Website.
Hope this helps,




    • Great to see the future in action!
      Can you clarify the immediate mode rendering / hardware acceleration part?
      We are really hoping to get some 2D hardware acceleration in Silverlight 5.

      In SL4, rendering a big amount of shapes in a canvas (big diagrams) really makes performance crawl..

    • Amazing is there any feature to use windows class libraries inside SL5..

    • Thank you very much. I didn't have much time to watch it online, will it be available for download soon?

    • Wow... Great Keynote Scott !

    • Congrats on the launch.

      Typo here:
      > Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5.

    • Hi Scott,
      will the immediate mode graphics and hardware 3d features be cross platform (mac and windows) or just windows ?

    • A lot of great news.
      The words where true: The death of Silverlight was exaggerated!

      I do understand what a lot of the new features mean, but I do not understand what "a new Postscript Vector Printing API" means. I know that the bitmap printing in Silverlight 4 is not great, but what does the PostScript word imply?

    • What happened to the rapid release pace that bragged about in the SL4 announcement? Pretty disappointing to hear about all of these great new features and find out we can't use them for at least 6 months.

    • This is awesome and I am excited as well.

    • This is really great!! Thanks for your hard working!

    • Please include a high precision timer in this release! =)

    • Very good to see news about Silverlight after PDC10.

    • "Implicit DataTemplates now allow templates to be created across an application to support a particular type by default."
      As in the DataType property for DataTemplate? I have been asking for this for a long time.

    • Thank you so much. Looking very forward for Silverlight 5

    • Great to see Silverlight is still going strong.
      Will we ever see cross mobile support in the future (Android?)

    • Thank you so much. Looking very forward for Silverlight 5.0

    • Hi Scott, very good news for Silverlight 5! I was waiting so long for 3D API! Now games will rock!
      Just one thing i was expecting:
      Are there any real possibilities to see the Silverlight 5 plugin at least run on IE mobile (WP7) and Android?

    • Nice. Hopefully SaveFileDialog will get a writable FileName property this time around ;)

    • Great news! Thank you, Scott! Silverlight is clearly best web application platform at the moment! Can't wait to see more detailed info on API's.
      What is 3D api, is it same as in WPF?
      What do you mean by "immediate mode graphics"? Is it some new way to draw graphics or acceleration of existing rendering?
      Will Silverlight 5 support animation in background thread (as WP7 version of silverlight do)?

    • Scott - typo on the Out Of Browser bullet. Should read 'Silverlight 4'.

      Also, any plans on any HTML5 leverage. Rendering to it? Or at least reusing some resources between HTML and Silverlight. What happened to Volta's goals in this area?

    • Nice work.......Ship It!!!!!!

    • Does any of this apply to Windows Phone 7? Do the WP7 and desktop Silverlight teams have separate codebases from which they develop new features? Any info on how these teams work together as it involves Silverlight would be appreciated.


    • Incredible! The Silverlight team is amazing. It's magic unicorn day at Microsoft.

    • Nice Work... SL5 Amazing!!

    • Thanks, Scott.

    • I hope we'll see Silverlight 5 on the phone in January...

    • Interesting that there is no mention of the obvious use of 3D in Silverlight - games. Why is that? Are the 3D features good enough for developing 3D games both performance in terms of performance and in terms of suitable API? Are you targeting games or you expect the 3D features to be used only in applications like the ones in the demo (very impressive indeed).

    • awesome.

      Thanks, Scott

    • Cool. Looking forward to using some of these features in my SL apps.

    • Yayyy !!! Thanks for another Great Presentation and Feature Unveilment !!!


    • Silverlight 5 feature miss.

      When will there be a open Kinect API to use on a PC with Silverlight and WPF? ;)

    • Hi Scott,

      This is great! In regards to the ability to call Win32 API's, will this also enable OS level access? For example, I'd like to build a Learning Management System which runs multi-platform; however, I need to block out system level features like ctrl+alt+delete and the like for Mac's as well? Can you help elaborate on if this will be possible with SL5? If so, this opens a tremendous opportunity for out of browser capabilities for these types of applications.


    • The announced features of Silverlight 5 sound great! And if SL5 contains async/await (which I expect for a end-of-2011 release), this is gonna be some serious killer release!

    • Hi Scott, the keynote was great.

      I am wondering how much of the stuff will gonna work from Mac.
      I am asking specifically about: the 3D support, the HTML hosting in in browser mode, multiple window support in OOB mode.

      Can you share some thoughts on that?

      Also, when do you think we can see some samples(screenshots) of how much the new text rendering is improved


    • I am also wondering:
      - how much of the stuff will gonna work from Mac. I am asking specifically about the 3D support, the HTML hosting in in browser mode, multiple window support in OOB mode

    • So, when is SL5 coming to Windows Phone?

    • "Out of Browser: Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5" - something is not right here... maybe Silverlight 4?

    • An other amazing new SL version !
      That's a very good christmas gift !

    • That's great that it can take full advantage of GPU.

      What about the WP7? Is there any new changes in Silverlight 5 targeted Windows Phone 7?

    • I hope DataTriggers, IsMouseOver dependency property, read only DP's and ReadOnly attached DP's make it into this release.

    • Here is my notes about new features of Silverlight 5 and screenshot of 3D medical demo where some internals of ScottGu are shown :)

    • I have to make a decision about tablet development and whether to 'bet the farm' on an MS Windows framework or a Mac iPad one. My repeated question to MS: why still WPF and SL and all this talk of 'better convergence'. I just want to focus on a single technology and not what I perceive to be two frameworks from two teams at MS. It's been a real pain point in the past sweating over windows vs web (rich vs reach), but now we have an even greater divide over rich (not to mention separate data access technologies, something else that wasn't in .NET 1.0). I'm a bit weary of hearing it doesn't matter because both will be supported. I know businesses like selling different products that each on their own don't quite do the job but it sounds like MS aren't really sure on this one. The iPad seems to offer such a simple and compelling development route, but tell me I'm wrong! In short, tell me, what will be the best development platform for Windows tablets will be?

    • Thanks for this info!

      I used to be the Dev Manager for the Webroot desktop security products. We took Silverlight as our out of browser client UI framework back in Silverlight 2 days.

      Nice to see Silverlight is going strong. Having alternatives (Flash, HTML5, Silverlight) is important and drives the industry forward.

    • I hope it won't be too late to add
      ReportViewer and SqlCe support to its plan.
      These are only my crucials.
      Thanks anyway for our future.

    • This post here made me very happy... :D

    • Since COM and P/Invoke are supported in CoreCLR I hope I can compile C++/CLI assemblies targeting CoreCLR and call them in Trusted OOB SL apps, dynamically loaded maybe, is that possible ??

    • could not wait longer to see this product on the market :-)

    • And, it looks like CoreCLR is going to have full native interop capabilities, then why not merge CoreCLR and DeskopCLR ? whats the main difference now ??

    • this product will be fully supported by soon!

    • No word on Android ? No clear direction on cross platform announcement.

      Yes.. GPU, and some other nice features..

      But Mid 2011 and no word on support for other devices...

      Too little, too late..


      Time to start looking at HTML5/javascript based solutions that WILL work on all platforms.

      Scott... Can SOMEONE give a YES/NO on Microsoft supporting Android or other platforms in 2011.

    • Awesome news, can't wait to have the new tools

    • P/Invoke is a great addition, but obviously to be of any cross-platform use we'd like to see on the Mac too. Thanks.

    • Scott, thanks forbthe concise summary. Can't wait to start working with these new features.

    • Infinite loop detected:

      "Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5."

    • Scott:

      I attended in person this morning and I was really disappointed to see that you didn't address how Silverlight5 aligns with the Windows Phone market strategy. There wasn't really any mention on how you plan on having Silverlight 5 used on the Windows Phone, if at all. This really seems to be the elephant in the room and it was very surprising that you didn't address it. Silverlight/WPF is obviously a much more superior presentation technology to HTML5 and IMO Microsoft should do whatever it takes to ensure we have this environment for mobile devices for the years to come.

      I was really hoping to hear an announcement of a Mono-like strategy/vision where you can create adapter projects to easily compile your Silverlight applications for Droid, iPhone, and Blackberry. But I suppose that will have to wait for another parallel universe. :)

      Silverlight/WPF's architecture should be preserved at all costs. I'd hate to see it become the Beta to HTML5's VHS...

    • Linux support? and don't say moonlight, that's a joke, its so far behind they just don't count.

    • so exciting for this great news!
      could not wait!

    • awesome, can't wait to see some implementation soon :D

    • What about phone support for Sockets?

    • Hi Scott,

      as a passionated WPF developer I really like to see, how Silverlight and WPF converge. The new features in SL5 are really valuable and surely will bring Silverlight another huge step forward!

      Good Job!

      Greetings from Switzerland
      Christian Moser

    • Please plug the remaining memory leaks and make sure that we don't hit the same memory problems with SL 5 as we did (still do...) with SL4.


    • Please clarify the future relationship of WPF and Silverlight.

    • Thanks from Germany.

    • Really great presentation - as always thanks for making it clear Scott. But was hoping to get some kind of guidance on HTML5 versus Silverlight. If I was going to develop a business application now, for deployment in the next say 12 months, and it had to run on Mac & Windows, would I use HTML5 or Silverlight? Rich versus reach is just too simplistic I think.
      Lastly, is silverlight 5 for both Mac & Windows?

    • Scott. One question will it be able to render html? one of biggest problems with SL is that fact it is a web based technology but I have to use iframes to render html content.

      This is a real challenge in a content creation and presentation use case.


    • Scott thanks for the update . This is great stuff:)
      Now that silverlight is more focused on developing client applications what's going to happen to WPF? What's microsoft's vision for WPF?

    • "immediate mode graphics support"

      Could we please, finally, have this in standard WPF too, so we don't need to go through the D3DImage kludge for reasonably fast graphics? I'm frankly rather shocked that this is announced for Silverlight before WPF. We've been clamoring for this ever since the first WPF release.

    • Hi,
      I would like to have a silverlight out of browser which has support for Client Ceritificates. (client certificate to use to sign documents and upload them on the application) but is seems SL 5 missing it.

    • WOW great news. Finally I can see that Microsoft is not killing silverlight. My Clients can take a breath of relief .. :)

    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for the keynote - Silverlight 5 looks awesome!

      However, it does not matter how awesome Silverlight is if it is not installed on the user's machine.

      Microsoft will embed HTML in IE9 - why not also install the current version of Silverlight at the same time and level the playing field.

      All the Microsoft voices continue to talk about how great Silverlight is but no one seems willing to discuss Microsoft's plans to insure a high market penetration of Windows desktop browsers - so Microsoft is saying going ahead and invest in Silverlight and maybe it will be on your customer's machine and maybe it will not.

      Very disappointing to not hear this issue addressed after all that has happened since the last PDC.


    • ...the future looks very promising I must say.

    • Would have loved to hear about the future cross-platform strategy of Silverlight. Without knowing this decisions are hard to make which leaves Silverlight in an unclear position. I'm sure this was made aware by all the fuss made on the web recently yet not one mention of any other platforms or vision other than new features.

      Xbox? Kinect API? Xbox app store? Hellloooo.....big opportunity there could be lost while Apple/Google TV continue to move forward.

    • Thanks for sharing the details Scott, and it is great to see Silverlight moving forward. Could you give us a view on what the new SL5 features mean to WPF? E.g. will we see text rendering improvements or immediate mode graphics in WPF as well? I was getting the impression that the two frameworks were converging but it is still hard to understand the vision here.

    • I am completely confused by the announcement of Silverlight 5. The message I got was: we will make heavy investments in SL5 to make SL5 look like WPF. What a waste of effort. Isn't better to make heavy investments into WPF5 and to get WPF5 working properly on the smartphone, tablet and Windows 7 desktop. Microsoft acts like IBM 20-30 years ago: unable to make the right product choice and make 3 look-alike products for the same functionality. May the best product win. In that time people avoided IBM and went to buy Microsoft products. The history repeats itself, but now Google's Android is the answer.

    • Great to hear that you are going to continue to put significant investment into Silverlight...

    • +1 for official Android suppport

    • It should be 4.0.1

    • Any deal-breaker/shockers like no XP support or something silly but not announced like that?

    • Scott, it's a nice feature set, I think that everyone who thought that SL has no future has no doubt now :-) (I was not one of them ;-)))

      What I was missing is the feature of WebCam video streaming to a IIS, Flash or other x264 compatible media server...what are the plans for this?


    • So with SL5 going deeper into the platform P Invoke and Graphice processor, does this mean that Silverlight 5 is destined to IE on Windows ? How will Pinvoke works on a Mac, or what GPU can we assume on Android, Linux and IPads etc?

      Do we read this as being the Silverlight vs HTML5 divide. HTMLS for wider reach across platforms and devices (inc Phones) and SL5 for the superior/ deeper exeprience but with breadth limited to Windows and possibly Mac.

    • Waiting it soon! Some interesting features that we need trying to!

    • Great new features!
      But I hope the file system access trusted application limitations will be removed. It is already possible to workaround it (for instance with the FileSystemObject script runtime library), and the new P/Invoke feature will maybe make the workaround easier. It shows that this security seems to be not efficient if I really want to do "bad things" on the customer computer, but it is a big developpment constraint for a "normal" business application (many business applications needs to have a full access to all file system information, to propose directly the right directory, for instance).
      I don't understand this limitation...

    • Continuing to leave us lame and crippled in IE and Silverlight with regard to SMIL leaves us out of the best parts of the emerging markets to develop for HDTV, digital signage and set-top boxes.

    • Regarding the 3D APIs. Does this effectively merge Desktop/Browser Silverlight with XNA? Seems like that would be the best way to maintain a semblance of portability between Silverlight for Desktop/Web and Silverlight for WP7.

      Or will this bring in WPF-3D and fragment the portability of SL to the mobile platform...

    • Is there a possibility to give us (Silverlight Developers) Binding mechanism improvements earlier then before introducing Silverlight 5 RTM ?
      As we saw, John Papa shown us that SL team have finished this part of feature and we use Binding mechanism all the time so I think everyone would be very very very grateful if they could get this feature earlier (for ex. next minor version of Silverlight 4)

    • I like the news. Quite useful feature... :-)

    • Interesting, but I am reading this as being that Silverlight is now focused on deep User experiences, but only for IE and Windows, where PInvoke, OOB and GPU support can be provided. It was noted that there was not any mention of Silverlight being ported onto other browsers and platforms, so the rumours are in fact correct.

      However for Apps Targeted at Android, Mac and Mobile HTML 5 is the only answer as Silverlight will not be providing that reach across so many platfroms. I suspect we will see HTML 5 on WM7 a long time before we see any SL5.

    • Hi ScottGu;

      I would like being a Silverlight 5 tester, so that i can provide some feedback on the features etc.

      Any ideas how i can do that?

    • Scott, got a question. While everyone is converging towards HTML5 how do you see silverlight and flash in future?

    • Typo: "Out of Browser: Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5."

      Second 1 should be Silverlight 4 of course. ;)

    • Thats really great!

    • Imagine if Microsoft put IE (Internet Explorer) on Linux and Apple...then all the great Silverlight stuff is available on all platforms!!! It ends the cross-platform story once and for all!!! So simple really. Has someone not thought about this ?

      I fail to see how HTML 5 can compare to Silverlight in terms of richness and functionality.

    • Very interesting presentation on Silverlight 5.

      However, you and Microsoft have completely failed to address ANY of the real issues that have come up since Bob Muglia's marketing disaster - Very.. disappointing!

    • Wow, in the linked video sound stops for 10 secs in the beginning for me. I didn't thought Silverlight will sux in version 5 and I'm pro MS guy... I'm WELL disappointed with Silverlight and his cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility. Big boo

    • Hi Scottgu
      I'm a chinese develper.When I use windowless model,it doesn't allow me input Chinese character in some controls like TextBox.Does SilverLight 5 change something for this?

    • Already version 5... Anyone else feeling like it's going a bit too fast?

    • I'm just missing the cross device. The day Silverlight runs on PhoneOS and Android the Vole will have gladly face another monopoly issue.

    • The low level hardware accelerated graphics could be a big step forward, but if it isn't going to be crossplatform, I think I'll stick with flash. (Although as a developer I prefer the rich dev experience with visual studio + c#, etc...)

    • Should Microsoft build an abstraction layer on top of html5 to support a cross-even-more-platform Silverlight 5? I would vote yes.

    • I Hope you'll release "Silverlight 5 in action" so we can download it ( oops i mean buy it ) ,
      thanks :P

    • Is there a public development preview of SL5 that can be tried and played?

    • 'Scott Guthrie lives in Seattle and builds a few products for Microsoft'

      Hey Scott, I'm sure other people help you build the products too. How about:

      'Scott Guthrie lives in Seattle and helps builds a few products for Microsoft with his team!'

    • The development is so quick that I forgot there was version 4 of SL!

    • Scott,

      I watched the firestarter keynote and I am still confused as to the technology direction for silverlight. Silverlight will support GPU and 64 bit support. But why use the browser as a facade for windows centric features p/invoke os calls.

      The message is still confusing. A meeting that took place between the microsoft federal team and our project declared wpf dead and silverlight the future for applications that run on windows only. The central question that we had was why would you ever use silverlight over wpf if only deploying on a windows platform?

    • Any chance we will finally see a real implementation of TileBrush in SL5?

    • Will there be support for future Windows tablets? Orientation, gestures, virtual keyboard, marketplace, ...?

    • Fantastic news--I'm so glad Silverlight is alive and well; I'm especially looking forward to the 3D and fully-integrated testing tools. Sick of dealing with HTML5 because of all the bickering and delays--especially when Silverlight currently has all of the proposed HTML5 features and more.

      Keep up the great work

    • scott, its great , but what about reporting , can't microsoft give the reporting tool with silverlight or should we live with ssrs or any other reporting tool

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