This is the first article in an Architecture Series dealing with technical options taken for the Eclipse Tools for Silverlight. Future articles will focus on the XAML rendering architecture, the Eclipse extension points as well as the “MSBuild” project structure preservation option that was taken to allow the back and forth loop.

In the very first words of the eclipse4SL installation, you are told to choose between two configurations : Pure or Mixed Eclipse. Why that ? To minimize the size of the bits to download but also to adapt to your interoperability scenario (any co-workers using Microsoft Tools ?). So what ? That’s enough information to you. Fine, have fun with the Tutorials and please give your feedback. Now let’s talk about the Silverlight 2 runtimes, SDK and Tools for Visual Studio, and how they fit one with another.

If you’re new to Silverlight, you’ll want to begin with the Get Started section of the Silverlight site. After that take an hour or two to go through Scott Guthrie’s tutorials. Finally give a try to Tim Heuer’s technically amazing posts. BTW, have you read the Silverlight 2 announcements from Scott and Tim.

OK let’s start. From the Silverlight Tools page, you’ll notice that Silverlight 2 is composed of a runtime but also a set of development tools (developer runtime, SDK and Visual Studio Tools). Note that eclipse4SL has been added to the list of tools :-).

eclipse4SL uses several pieces of the Silverlight Tools to perform the compilation of your XAML code (you don’t know about XAML, experience it from the HelloWorld tutorial) : MSBuild version 3.5, complementary compilation tasks which come with the SDK and the Silverlight runtime to actually render the bits on the surface as well as run your application.

In a pure Microsoft environment, you would get the following configuration :

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If you chose to install a Pure Eclipse configuration, the Silverlight runtime plus the Silverlight SDK are sufficient (the latter has a dependency on MSBuild 3.5 which comes with .Net 3.5). Note that .Net 3.5 SP1 is optional here. Bonus : as eclipse4SL M1 does not support debugging, you may use a standard Silverlight runtime instead of the developer runtime.

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Finally, in a Mixed Eclipse configuration, you’ll go back and forth between Eclipse, Visual Studio and Expression Blend but this comes with a maximum of products to install.

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