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TechEd 2008 Veteran Microsoft ISV partner Infragistics is taking an early lead on Silverlight 2, Microsoft’s emerging cross-browser media plug-in.

The company expects to release an experimental set of components based on Silverlight 2 beta 2 for building the interfaces on rich internet applications at the same time Microsoft launches the second Silverlight 2 beta - expected Friday. The beta was promised by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at TechEd Tuesday.

Microsoft has been pushing Silverlight pretty hard, as it tries to break into the market of media content creation.

Eighteen-year-old Infragistics, meanwhile, has a history of being an early adopter around Windows. The company, which specializes in re-usable software components for building application presentation layers, was quick to pick up .NET - Microsoft's big platform shift in the early 2000s.

Explaining the enthusiasm for something so new even the latest pre-release code hasn't even shipped, Windows group lead technical evangelist Anthony Lombardo told The Register Silverlight would let developers break through barriers posed by AJAX and JavaScript.

He expects it'll do this with the ability to easily combine data with media, like video and music. It'll also let Windows programmers, not just Flash developers, build really rich interfaces using existing language skills and tools.

The planned NetAdvantge for Silverlight Components CTP, due this Friday, will consist of a gauge component and control component for pulling live data feeds into graphics and charts without the need for line-by-line programming.

Missing, though, will be a grid component. Grids organize data into rows and columns in an application. A grid component could allow data to be entered into a table or viewed using graphics, and are something Infragistics has experience with in its other Windows components for .NET and COM.

Lombardo said a component for the Silverlight grid is under development, but there’s no date for release. He did not say what the delay is, but Microsoft has spent the days since Gates’ announcement nailing down exactly what the beta will include. It’s not clear whether the grid will come with the core Silverlight package. It could come as a separate tools assembly in order to keep the size of the Silverlight download and runtime relatively small.

The second beta is important because it should indicate strongly what features - like the grid - they can expect to be included in the finished Silverlight 2 later this year. This will allow ISVs to start developing product.®

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