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Developers building applications for Microsoft's much-ballyhooed Silverlight media player won't be able to use Visual Studio 2008 running the company's latest software update.

Microsoft's Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 beta - launched Monday - cannot be used with its tools for coding applications for the second, beta version of Silverlight - Silverlight 2 tools beta 1 for Visual Studio 2008. The SP features improvements in AJAX and JavaScript coding, and performance.

The Silverlight hurdle to coders follows a similar handicap thrown to designers, the other big constituency Microsoft is targeting with Silverlight.

And it's here that the plot really thickens, over what - and when - Microsoft's development team is really telling the public. More on that later, first: Visual Studio 2008 and Silverlight.

You're going to have to uninstall the Silverlight 2 tools beta 1 to evaluate the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 beta, otherwise you'll get an error message (see below).

VS08 SP1 beta silverlight2 error

Clash of the beta software: Microsoft error message

That's a major problem, given Visual Studio 2008 is the latest version of Microsoft's integrated development environment, and the one it wants you running.

The "good news" - according to Microsoft's Visual Web Developer blog - is the problem will be fixed with Silverlight tools beta 2 for Visual Studio 2008 SP 1. It's just not clear when that's coming.

The Visual Web Developer blog team promised incompatibilities between the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 beta and Silverlght 2 beta tools would be solved "soon". Corporate vice president of Microsoft's developer division Scott Guthrie blogged Microsoft will release an updated Visual Studio 2008 Tools package for Silverlight in a "few weeks" that works with the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 beta.

A Microsoft spokesperson, meanwhile, shifted the debate from tools to the runtime, saying the issue will be resolved with the release of Silverlight 2 beta 2, officially due in the second half of 2008. Of course, they could all be right, as it's now May and the second-half of the year - June - is two and a half weeks away.

This, of course, indicates the Silverlight beta 2 is therefor coming in June. Microsoft, though, refused to go further than "second half of 2008" when asked by Reg Dev to clarify.

But it's not just the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 beta, or the way Microsoft is disclosing the issues, that's causing problems and raising questions.

The .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 beta - available with the Visual Studio 2008 SP 1 beta and trumpeted in simultaneous blog postings Monday by senior vice president of Microsoft's developer division Soma Somasegar and Guthrie - er, is/was incompatible with Microsoft's Expression Blend SP1, Expression Blend 2 and Expression Blend 2.5.

Expression Blend is the design suite for Silverlight designed to complement the code-centric Visual Studio.

The problem between the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 beta and Blend, and the issues with Silverlight 2 tools and Visual Studio SP1 beta were discussed in a blog posting dated a month ago by Microsoft's Expression Blend and Design team. That blog is dated April 18 and clearly discusses the SPs' availability.

How was Microsoft blogging about the issue in April? And, if the two betas were already out there, then what were Somasegar and Guthrie engaging in on Monday other than PR?

While some suspect Microsoft of playing with the dates on its blog software, Microsoft's spokesperson told Reg Dev the inconsistency as an "issue" with its blogging software, saying the April 18 date is incorrect.

Microsoft, meanwhile, said the company had already released an update to the Expression Blend 2.5 preview that's "fully compatible" with the Visual Studio 2008 and .Net Framework 3.5 betas, here

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