Microsoft releases Silverlight 2


Microsoft late last night announced a new version of its Silverlight technology.

The new version of Silverlight, which is available for download from today, is seen as a rival to Adobe's Flash technology and AIR platform, which allow developers to add media and graphically rich interfaces and delivery mechanisms to web sites.

New features include deep zooming capabilities for high-resolution images, improved digital rights management (DRM) controls, better user interface customisation options and expanded .NET Framework language support.

"We launched Silverlight just over a year ago, and already one in four consumers worldwide has access to a computer with Silverlight already installed," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET developer division at Microsoft.

Microsoft has also announced further support for open source integration with Silverlight. It intends to providing funding to Soyatec, a France-based IT solutions provider and Eclipse Foundation member, to lead a project to integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the Eclipse open source Java-based developer environment.

Earlier this year, web services vendor Tibco announced plans to create development interfaces using Silverlight.

Since it launched in September last year, Silverlight has been growing in popularity despite concerns about proprietary formats, particularly among media companies and broadcasters looking to stream content on the web.

US broadcaster NBC used Silverlight to deliver multiple video streams of Olympics coverage online during the summer, while the DRM features ensured that only US viewers could access the service, in order to comply with broadcasting rights restrictions.