Silverlight 2 is Released to Web (RTW). This is great news for our RIA scenarios. But wait, there’s more.

Microsoft announced the launch of the Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight (eclipse4SL.org): an opensource project lead by Soyatec and funded by Microsoft. Here is what the eclipse4SL Team Blog states :

The purpose of this project is the creation of open source tools integrated with the Eclipse development platform that enable Java developers to use the Eclipse platform to create applications that run on the Microsoft Silverlight runtime platform. Specifically, the project will be an Eclipse plug-in that works with the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) to provide both a Silverlight development environment and greater interoperability between Silverlight and Java, to facilitate the integration of Silverlight-based applications into Java-based web sites and services.

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I am thrilled to be part of this initiative we incubated at Microsoft France, working in collaboration with Vijay Rajagopalan (Microsoft Corp Interop Teams) and Yves Yang (Soyatec CEO). We brought interoperability to the next level here : France, United States, India and China :-).

One important point I want to highlight : eclipse4SL provides a full Silverlight experience for Eclipse developpers, but it can also be a great tool if you plan to work in an heterogeneous Java and .Net environment. From the beginning, we worked on an Architecture which preserves the MSBUILD .Net format, so that you can go back and forth from Visual Studio to Eclipse and Eclipse to Visual Studio, but also from Expression Blend to Eclipse and Eclipse to Expression Blend. This approach is referenced as Mixed configuration in the installation guide.

This preview release (named M1) will be out on Tuesday the 14th. It is the opportunity for the community to give its feedback so that we can adapt the project long term plans.

To ensure the best experience in your evaluation, eclipse4SL comes with 20 minutes Tutorials. Moreover, we selected a limited group of alpha testers including the French Java & opensource community from Application-Servers.com. Feedbacks are great.

"I think this is a great job.  I look forward to experiment with advanced Silverlight Controls as well as its Web Services communication capabilities." Bruno Paul, Architect at ATOS Origin.

UPDATE : The eclipse Foundation has published the SLDT Project Proposal to turn eclipse4SL into an open source project under the Eclipse Development Process, on the 13th of october which they consider as Interesting Times Indeed… 

“… this project proposes to extend the Silverlight Development Experience to all Web Application Developers should they be running Windows, Linux or Mac OS. The Silverlight Development Toolkit (SLDT) is a proposed open-source project under the Eclipse Development Process, and will incubate under the top-level Technology project.

Finally, I’d like to point out the determination of Microsoft’s top management and sponsors about the project (Sam Ramji, Jean Paoli, Scott Guthrie and S. Somasegar) who share a strong commitment towards interoperability.