Silverlight, Microsoft’s plug-in for delivering cross-platform Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and experiences has been out for a while now.  The first, JavaScript-only version was released at Microsoft’s MIX07 conference in May of 2007.  Subsequently, Silverlight 2 (the first .NET-enabled version) was released as a go-live technology shortly following the 2008 Beijing Olympics where the beta version of Silverlight 2 had a stellar performance providing a truly immersive experience for viewing the Olympics online.  Silverlight 3, the newly announced next version of the plug-in was introduced in beta version at MIX09 back in March of this year has provided increased buzz and is looking like a very promising, forward-looking platform for RIA experiences.

Given the amount of time the platform has now been available, we’re starting to see some incredible creativity and very focused, user-centric applications being built for Silverlight.  I’m very excited about many of these applications and solutions for both business and consumer scenarios and I want to share some of these great experiences with you.  This first post will be about business-oriented Silverlight applications and a subsequent post will highlight some consumer-oriented applications.

It used to be that most rich experiences on the web were focused on public-facing or consumer-based applications.  It makes sense; we often see user-centric innovation outside the firewall before we see it inside due to the cost of re-vamping existing line of business applications as well as focusing investment on activities that directly impact customers positively.  While that is certainly still true, we are seeing business from all sorts of industries adopting user-centric software platforms for internal applications as well as customer-facing business applications.  Below are examples of how you could implement some business-oriented experiences in Silverlight:

The Patient Journey Demonstrator 

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Industry Vertical:  Healthcare
Focus:  Internal LOB Application


The Patient Journey Demonstrator is a Silverlight 2 application built by the Microsoft Common User Interface team to demonstrate how Silverlight can positively enable patient management in healthcare scenarios.
Industry Vertical:  Financial Services
Focus:  Customer-Facing Application


The Woodgrove Financial demo application (built by Infusion)was built to provide inspiration as to how you might be able to deliver a rich experience to customers using an online banking system.  While it is likely that an online banking site would not be built entirely in Silverlight, it is very interesting to see how a bank might implement important pieces of functionality with Silverlight to create a customer-focused experience.
Woodgrove Financial

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Stock Trader Reference Application

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Industry Vertical:  Financial Services
Focus:  Customer & Internal LOB Application


The Stock Trader Reference Application is included in the Microsoft Patterns & Practices team’s Composite Application Guidance for WPF and Silverlight.  This application is meant to be a demonstration of the types of applications you can build using a composite architecture (i.e.:  modularizing your UI into components to make it more manageable, maintainable and reusable).
Industry Vertical:  Manufacturing
Focus:  Internal LOB Application


The Factories Map application demo built by ComponentOne is a mashup using Virtual Earth, Silverlight (via the Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control) and internal data to provide a visualization of where a company’s assets are located worldwide as well as provide efficiency and productivity data for its factories.  The power of this demo is in the ability for solution providers to provide effective data visualization solutions at the fingertips of employees.
Factories Map

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Stock Portfolio

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Industry Vertical:  Financial Services
Focus:  Customer & Internal LOB Application


Another demo application delivered by ComponentOne is the Stock Portfolio application.  The scenario to this application is similar to that of the Stock Trader Reference Application above, but the implementation is different and shows how you can deliver an effective user interface for stock traders through data visualization and UI customization through various different and disparate data feeds.

These are just a few of the LOB-focused applications we are seeing built in Silverlight.  If you have an LOB application built in Silverlight that you would like to share, please let me know by commenting!

Paul