Microsoft releases Silverlight 5, the last major release of the platform?

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Microsoft has officially released Silverlight 5 today, which offers developers assistance in building rich internet applications for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. It is still unclear whether or not we will see another major release of Silverlight, considering Microsoft is potentially making the move to HTML5.

“Today, we’re happy to announce the release of Silverlight 5. Silverlight is part of a rich offering of technologies from Microsoft helping developers deliver applications for the web, desktop and mobile devices. Download Silverlight 5, a free plug-in less than 7 MB in size that can be installed in less than 10 seconds,” Microsoft announced via an official blog post.

Silverlight 5 offers many new features such as improved media support, better UI capabilities, improved performance, fluid interface, reduced network latency, and much more. “New features in Silverlight 5 include Hardware Decode of H.264 media, which provides a significant performance improvement with decoding of unprotected content using the GPU; Postscript Vector Printing to improve output quality and file size; and an improved graphics stack with 3D support that uses the XNA API on the Windows platform to gain low-level access to the GPU for drawing vertex shaders and low-level 3D primitives.”

Silverlight was launched back in 2007 as a competitor to Adobe’s Flash. The platform grew to incorporate developer tools, plugins, and support for advanced features such as streaming content. Silverlight never really grew to be as popular as Flash, but did catch on a little bit. Now that Adobe is onboard with the HTML5 bandwagon, is Microsoft next to kill off its flash-competitor Silverlight platform? Thats what rumors suggest. We will just have to wait and see.

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