The release candidate of Silverlight 5 is available for download but with no go-live license and currently incompatible with Expression Blend.
Silverlight 5 is in the somewhat unusual position of being a good product that most analysts believe has lost out to HTML 5 and Internet Explorer 9 which in theory provides an easier alternative for developers wanting apps to work cross platform.
Microsoft’s official position is that Silverlight is a product with a future, and that version 5’s improvements add to the media support and ability to create apps with rich UIs.
Examples of the better media support include GPU support so you can display high-definition videos on less powerful devices, and ‘TrickPlay’, which you can use in your apps to play videos at different speeds with buttons for fast-forward and rewind.
The release candidate (RC) is intended for use by developers, and there’s no go-live license. The idea is that you’ll be ready for the release later in the year with your Silverlight 5 apps ready to go. There are some improvements to the new release over and above what was present in the last beta, including 64 bit support, and support for the Task Parallel Library (TPL).
Other improvements include P/Invoke support for calling native functions; the option to use Postscript printing; support for in-browser trusted applications; and an updated PivotViewer control. You also get remote control and media command support, and power awareness for media apps so machines don’t display the screen saver when your app is playing a video, for example.
According to a blog post by Pete Brown, the lead of the Developer Guidance Community Team at Microsoft, the team has also made several changes to the locations of some of the XNA namespaces and files. Brown says that you'll find that much of the 3D stuff has moved to a different DLL.
One point to note if you’ve been using earlier the beta version of Silverlight 5 and in particular the preview version of Expression Blend, this won’t work with the release candidate, so if you have apps that need Blend for Silverlight 5 you’ll need to wait until an updated version of Blend comes out before moving to the release candidate.
You can download the release candidate here: http://www.silverlight.net/downloads
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