Silverlight 2 beta 2 - Go Live if you dare
Tires hard against Adobe, must try harder
Socket support enables real-time duplex communication. You can handle network communication on background threads. There are still complications over using REST from Silverlight. You cannot use PUT or DELETE verbs within Silverlight, except by going via the browser's XMLHTTP support, which means no cross-domain usage. However, there is a wrapper for ADO.NET Data Services, for which early code is in beta 2.0. There is also new LINQ-to-JSON support.
Silverlight supports local storage through the Isolated Storage API, which by default provides 1MB of space. New in beta 2.0 is the ability to request more space, prompting a dialog. You can request as much as you like, enabling interesting new possibilities. That said, there is no file I/O support beyond the per-domain isolated area.
DataGrid: you'll end up with lots of these
How good is Silverlight? Despite the Go-Live license, it feels not quite finished; yet the potential is huge. Leaving aside issues about proprietary versus open on the web, Silverlight is strong on many levels, including its GUI framework, media support, and now programming and web services.
There are signs that Microsoft is now putting more energy into Silverlight than into desktop WPF, which is meant to be its big brother. For example, the DataGrid has been added and there are new features like the Virtual State Manager that are yet to appear in WPF. There is also the prospect of Silverlight integrating with Live Mesh, bringing together a rich client with internet storage and identity management.
In short: good work from Microsoft, spoiled by missing pieces and installation hassles.®
For more on installing and using Silverlight 2 beta 2, see Tim Anderson’s blog IT Writing.