Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Silverlight 2 for Mobiles

So I am in the session for Silverlight 2 for Mobiles at the PDC.

So the Public CTP of Silverlight Mobiles will be available Q1 2009, so my guess would be it will made available at Mix09.

We got loads of demo's at the PDC Session.  The good news is the same tools you use at the moment to create Silverlight 2 applications will work allow you to create Silverlight 2 Mobile applications.  After all it is Silverlight 2 on a mobile :)


The same app on the web will work on your mobile device.

The demo's given were a Silverlight application on a browser running in the Mobile Device Emulator (Windows Mobile Emulator).  Not only did we the demo's in the emulator we saw thee applications compiled and deployed to a windows mobile device, and demo'd

The demos we were given:

  • Hello World Button
  • Rich Vector Graphic Animation of a Duck (done in blend)
  • Baby Smash (by Scott Hanselman)
  • Slot Machine
  • Connect 4
  • Guitar
  • Dancing Man
  • Web Service Image Downloader
  • BBC IPlayer

Different User Experiences for Different Devices

This is not to say that all Silverlight applications are suitable to be run on the phone and desktop.  This is due to the sizing of the application.  An application that looks nice on a large desktop may not look so nice on a tiny phone, and vice versa.  So you can give smaller less rich versions to phones, and very rich versions to desktop applications. 

So you may wish to check the device and route them to a suitable version of the Silverlight application.  Request Headers give you this information today.  

Keyboard Interactions

Keyboard interaction is another area where you would want a different experience on the phones.  So for example you probably want to limit your app to numeric input for certain devices (especially important in games)


One of the very cool things done, was a gesture helper.  This meant the mobile application supported gestures on the phone, by mapping mouse inputs to gestures, very cool.  I hope this code is made generally available or production quality code is provided with the CTP (or on codeplex) so everyone doesn't have to keep ripping off Gesture Helpers.


Mobile Devices will run effectively a Silverlight 2 plugin on the device (just like the browser)

Microsoft are trying to work deals so that Silverlight is bundled with Device Vendors, so the user doesn't have to download the Silverlight plugin.

Mobile Features

They are looking in the future to support mobile specific functionality, such as capturing camera input (this wasn't demo'd).

There are also plans to run Silverlight 2 applications outside of the browser for mobile devices (just as was announced for desktop applications).

Final Demo

The last demo we saw a Silverlight 2 Mobile application interacting with the cloud.

The chap controlled a WPF application on his desktop via the cloud, and navigating the application on his phone using the accelerometer of his phone.  He then was able to transfer object from his machine to his phone via the cloud.

Very cool demo.


So although Silverlight 2 will be supported on Mobile Devices you will wish to give different user experiences to different devices, so you must think about this, design for it, and test it on different devices.

Very Cool Stuff, just wish we had a CTP now.

However you can simulate a lot of this with todays technology, by rendering appropriately for various screen sizes.  You just can't test it on a device or emulator.


Kevin Daly said...

Great news, except for the time frame.
Microsoft have something really worthwhile there, but they need to re-engage with mobile developers (not just their partners and people who could afford to go to the PDC).

mr.saif said...

very cool and nice. waiting to see silverlight on mobiles. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes the timescale is the thing.

We had promises and demos of this at Mix07 (Silverlight 1) and Mix08 (Silverlight 2) IIRC, with promises of the CTP being available a few weeks after...

Eman said...

hmm, so know it's pushed to Q1 '09? What a shame!

Anonymous said...

I'm loving Silverlight and SL Mobile is going to be great, but why do they have to tease and drop hints like the CTP would be coming out at PDC and then pull the rug out. That strategy will get old real fast.

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Arshad Ai said...

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kdubaz said...

Friday, August 24th 2009... 17:21:40 (Pacific Time)... Still no CTP!