In This Chapter
Understanding Rich Internet Applications (RIA)
Seeing how Silverlight enables RIA development
Understanding what you need to develop Silverlight applications
Seeing what Silverlight can do beyond just creating a stylish user interface
Watch out, Adobe — Silverlight 4 is here to give you a run for your money. Web site designers and developers alike can find much to be excited about in Microsoft's answer to Adobe Flash. As we tell you in more detail in the Introduction to this book, Silverlight 4 is one of a new family of Web site applications that provide graphics, animation, audio, and video — all the features necessary for the kind of rich user experience people have come to expect on the Web. These applications are called Rich Internet Applications (RIA). Adobe Flash was one of the first in the RIA arena; more recently, Microsoft made its entry into this space with the launch of Silverlight.
In this chapter, we give you an overview of what Silverlight is, what it can do, and the tools you need to develop Silverlight applications.
As does Adobe Flash, Silverlight runs as a plug-in within the browser and needs to be installed the first time any Silverlight application is run. A plug-in is a piece of software that is not part of the Web browser but can be added to it to run additional applications. When a user visits a Web site that needs the Silverlight plug-in, the Web browser ...