Recently Microsoft Corporation has declared that the next version of Silverlight. It’s a beta version of Silverlight 5 that will be release in second quarter of next year and the final version will launch in the second half of next year.

Microsoft Corporation also posted a feature list for Silverlight 5, the company says that are more than 40 new features in Silverlight 5 that deliver 70 percent of the Silverlight user community’s new feature requests. The most important improvements of Silverlight are that it will support hardware accelerated video decoding and 3D graphics.

This new version has features Microsoft hopes that will cement Silverlight as a premier Web Media and Business application platform. However Silverlight is used as the main development platform for Windows Phone 7 applications, it looks like that its release is all about the desktop and the browser. It seems that Microsoft wants to attract more companies into building Silverlight based applications that are not normally mobile.

Silverlight 5 will deliver important improvements for application development.

Silverlight 5 delivers substantial data binding improvements that improve developer productivity and it provides better Silverlight WPF feature convergence. Now developers can debug data binding expressions and can more easily determine errors and set breakpoints.

Silverlight 5 now includes WS Trust support and better MVVM support and improved customization of code generation. Its networking stack also can support now low latency network and scenarios that enable more responsive application scenarios. Silverlight 5 gives improved text clarity that enables crisper and cleaner text rendering, character and leading support, multi column text flow and full Open Type font support. It also includes a new Postscript Vector Printing API that provides programmatic control over what you print and enables printing richer reports and documents. It has pivot functionality that enables developers to build amazing information visualization experiences that will also be provided built into the Silverlight 5 SDK.

Silverlight 5 has also a new feature which is immediate mode graphics support that enables developers to take full advantage of the GPU and it enables accelerated 3D graphics support. This new kind of support assists much richer data visualization scenarios.

Another feature of this Silverlight 5 is Browser application. In this feature you can now create and manage child windows. It also uses P\Invoke capabilities to call unmanaged libraries and Win32 applications.

Silverlight 5 has automated UI testing support for your Silverlight applications with Visual Studio 2010 and this makes it easy to test Silverlight applications and automate the functionality of them.

Silverlight 5 supports faster application startup and it provides 64 bit browser support. Silverlight 5 also combines with the new Hardware Acceleration capabilities of Internet Explorer 9 and it enables hardware acceleration in windowless mode.

It’s a new competitor to Adobe Flash and in future it can give a tough competition to the Flash Player but it’s sure that it will help us to get a flawless experience of watching videos and presentations.