I’ve been alerted that some of the release information listed for Silverlight 2 needs to be updated. Silverlight 2 and RTW is slated for Fall.

 

Silverlight is about 7 month old kid but it is already making such a big buzz. One of my colleague Rahul did excellent job in terms of putting up a FAQ regarding the roadmap

 

1.       When exactly will Silverlight support all the codecs that a standard Windows Media Player support? How about supporting .flv since most of the video on internet currently is using this format?

Silverlight isn’t designed with an extensible codec model in mind, so there is no date/version announced for this.

Silverlight supports playing VC-1, WMV, MP3 and WMA content.  It doesn't support arbitrary codecs since those get complicated from a licensing perspective (Microsoft needs to pay the owners of those formats royalties), and they also dramatically increase the size of the download (which we want to keep small to enable really easy deployment).

Currently the alternative to this is Expression Media Encoder. It will have support for taking different formats like flv and converting them into Silverlight supported formats.

 

2.       Which streaming server protocols does Silverlight support currently and which will be supported in near future?

MMS now and future.
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc189080(VS.95).aspx#anchor_mediaformats_streaming

 

 

3.        Why the support for displaying a .gif image is is missing? When it will be added?

We don’t want to take the hit for another codec. It may only be a little bit of download time—but our mandate is small and fast and every little bit counts. We are also hesitant to support .gif because it implies support for animated .gif, which we decided would have to be integrated into our animation scheme somehow—and that will be a lot of work.

Looking from Flash perspective, Flash does not support .gif either. However, as of present, this is something being evaluated, but no date has been announced

 

4.       Is the size of Silverlight 2 Beta plug-in expected to increase by the time of final release? Which namespaces Microsoft is planning to add in final release.

 

It may increase a little, but the size is not known at this time. Beta 2 will contain the full set of namespaces. To see the list of namespaces in Beta2 you will have to wait.

 

5.       What would be the full and final set of controls that are expected to be included with Silverlight 2 - final release?

The controls in Beta 2 will be the full set in the final release. You will be able to see that once Beta 2 comes out.

 

6.       When is Silverlight 2 - final version expected to be released?

We are targeting late Summer

Here is a rough timeline:
Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 (Q1CY08 with limited (non commercial) Go-Live)
Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2 (Q2CY08 with Go-Live)
Silverlight 2.0 RTM (Summer 2008) – Exact timing TBD

Silverlight v.next – We are working on a v.Next plan and have nothing to announce at this time

Silverlight for mobile – No date available

7.       Is there going to be a big difference in terms of features/component model etc. in Silverlight 2 beta and final release (just like it is the case with 1.1 Alpha and 2.0 Beta)?
There will be breaking changes between Beta 1 and Beta2 of Silverlight 2 but the changes will not be drastic between Beta2 and Final Release. You can expect almost similar feature set as with Beta2 which is expected to come out in the Month of May 2008.
Also, if you develop your websites using 1.0 it will be compatible when 2.0 comes out. Then you simply have to update your skill set capabilities.
Silverlight 1.0 is shipping separately so we can provide key customers the stability and support they need to begin delivering fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality media experiences to all major browsers running on Mac OS or Windows and soon Linux. There is only one Silverlight so all the capabilities of 1.0 will be unified in the 2.0 release.

 

8.       Will Silverlight 2 final release offer some local Caching API (with automatic expiration, notifications etc.) just like System.Web.Cache API in ASP.Net 2.0/3.5?
It’s already in the Beta and called ‘Isolated Storage’

Isolated storage can solve some of the requirements of caching APIs (but without the notification), the browser cache can handle others (again, without notification).

9.       In order to call a WCF Service from Silverlight 2 Beta, you have to use “basicHttpBinding” currently. Will Silverlight support additional bindings in near future like MSMQBinding and others?

We have not planned for this feature as of yet. So I would personally say ‘probably not’. However this is an interesting feedback 

 

10.   Does Microsoft have any authentic estimates of Silverlight usage by the end users? Adobe claims 90% coverage of Flash, We know Silverlight is new but would like to know the current coverage, estimated coverage in next 1 year and Microsoft’s plans to increase its coverage, to move forward with our development efforts with even more confidence J

We’ve announced that we’re at about 1.5 million downloads per day at the moment. The problem with putting out some % values like Adobe do is that it is hard to be accurate and hard to verify.

Since the launch of Silverlight 1.0, the number of partners participating in the Microsoft Silverlight Partner Initiative has already grown to more than 60 organizations, and new customers have delivered Silverlight applications. Most recently UVNTV.com and NBA.com have committed to going live on Silverlight. We are very excited about success of Silverlight 1.0, download numbers continue to be in line with expectations to date.

You can get an idea about the future of Silverlight with the amount of efforts that are being put on this technology. Have a look at the partner initiatives that would attract hardware/software developers, solution providers etc.
http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/partners/default.aspx

I would recommend you to visit the news and announcements section frequently to remain updated about technology.
http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/news/default.aspx
http://silverlight.net/Community