Scott Guthrie just published a comprehensive post detailing Microsoft’s .NET web products roadmap.
To sum up the release schedule:
I’m extremely happy to see Silverlight maturing as a web development platform with its 2.0 version that includes:
- WPF UI Framework: The current Silverlight Alpha release only includes basic controls support and a managed API for UI drawing. The next public Silverlight preview will add support for the higher level features of the WPF UI framework. These include: the extensible control framework model, layout manager support, two-way data-binding support, and control template and skinning support. The WPF UI Framework features in Silverlight will be a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in last week’s .NET Framework 3.5 release.
- Rich Controls: Silverlight will deliver a rich set of controls that make building Rich Internet Applications much easier. The next Silverlight preview release will add support for core form controls (textbox, checkbox, radiobutton, etc), built-in layout management controls (StackPanel, Grid, etc), common functionality controls (TabControl, Slider, ScrollViewer, ProgressBar, etc) and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, etc).
- Rich Networking Support: Silverlight will deliver rich networking support. The next Silverlight preview release will add support for REST, POX, RSS, and WS* communication. It will also add support for cross domain network access (so that Silverlight clients can access resources and data from any trusted source on the web).
- Rich Base Class Library Support: Silverlight will include a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalization, XML, local storage, etc). The next Silverlight preview release will also add built-in support for LINQ to XML and richer HTML DOM API integration.
When evaluating Silverlight (1.0 and 1.1) a few month ago I came to a conclusion that its not mature enough for us to use it for building business UIs. Having support for only vector graphic shapes meant that any control had to be built manually which means we would have had to manually build a lot of controls ourselves.
With the new support for WPF UI Framework and Rich Controls it now seems more robust for building LOB applications.
Some ideas regarding Silverlight in LOB apps:
I guess we’ll have to re-evaluate Silverlight when the 2.0 beta comes out…
On other notes, I’m at Redmond right now attending the Silverlight 1.0 Firestarter event which should be interesting…