Feeds

Microsoft arranges 'safe' Silverlight and HTML marriage

Trusted mode spans PC and web worlds

Top three mobile application threats

Microsoft is marrying HTML and Silverlight in a roadmap, due today, that blurs the lines between Windows PCs and the web.

On Thursday, the company announced the next version of its browser-based media player will feature a new class of trusted applications that let you run authorized HTML apps in the browser, launch Office and desktop apps, and write files to the My Documents folder on your PC.

Silverlight 5 will let you host HTML content as browser control so HTML pages can be added to an application. Apps and devices on the PC will be called using COM components - Microsoft first added COM support to Silverlight 4 - while unmanaged code will be called using Pinvoke.

The added reliance on COM means Silverlight is becoming tied tighter to Windows, and it will move away from parity with Silverlight for the Mac.

Trusted applications will be enabled using a group policy registry key and application certificate and mean - Microsoft said - "users won't need to leave the browser to perform complex tasks."

Microsoft is scheduled to unveil the HTML-desktop integration in keynoted by vice president for the .Net developer platform Scott Guthrie kicking off the company's Silverlight Firestarter web cast.

Silverlight 5 will be released to beta and delivered as product in 2011. Given Microsoft's track record of releasing browser and Silverlight code, expect the Silverlight 5 beta to hit during the company's annual MIX conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, next April.

Opening HTML apps inside Silverlight sees two things at play: an increasing effort to integrate Office with online content - it follows Office Web Apps, the web-based version of Office built in Silverlight - and Docs.com that puts Office Web Apps inside Facebook.

The roadmap is important. Just over a month ago, Microsoft spooked Silverlight devs, after server and tools president Bob Muglia said Microsoft was "shifting strategy" on the three-year-old high-flying player. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer championed HTML5 as the interface layer for PCs and devices on the web.

It now seems the thinking is to let Silverlight suck in HTML securely, thanks to the trusted mode and use of a group policy registry key and application certificate. It's designed to stop malicious HTML code hacking or infecting your PC and is clearly designed to attract business users who like the idea of Silverlight-based line-of-business apps but don't want to throw themselves open to attack.

In this way, Silverlight is providing more of a complete development and runtime framework for PC and web apps to tap PCs' local resources like storage and processing. It is, in short, becoming more like Adobe Systems' AIR and Flex.

Boosting tighter integration between HTML-based web content and the desktop is the fact Microsoft's turning to hardware decode and presentation of H.264 for low power devices to render high-definition video using your PC's GPU. While this feature is aimed at online media, like videos and gaming, offloading graphics-intensive content to the GPU should help speed the performance of these web-based HTML docs on the desktop.

Among other features planned for Silverlight 5 are capabilities that help delivery of online video with the ability to switch between different digital rights management (DRM) and to also play video at different speeds to support fast-forward and rewind.

Microsoft also seems to be refining Silverlight as the presentation layer for tablets, phones and general business applications requiring a rich presentation interface layer. The multi column text and container text features can now flow around other elements like pictures, while layout and clarity of text has been improved. Text improvements are designed to make it possible to build what Microsoft called "rich magazine-style text layouts" on devices. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.