Getting Started with Silverlight 3
       by kirupa  |  22 March 2008 (Updated 12 July 2009)

NOTE
this article has been replaced with a revised Getting Started guide!

Silverlight, now in its third version, is a plug-in that allows users to view interactive content inside their browsers. The interactive content can range from simple animations to full motion video to run-of-the mill business applications. That's nothing particularly new or interesting. We've had plug-ins that do all of thsese that for a long time.

Why Silverlight?
What is interesting is how Silverlight does it. Silverlight is in in many ways a subset of the WPF and .NET Framework that many designers and developers are already familiar with. When you take the more useful, web-specific components out of the .NET Framework, combine it with the media support and designer-friendliness of WPF, and sprinkle several dashes of Controls, Dynamic Languages, and a high-performance Execution Engine, you have Silverlight.

Setting up for Silverlight Design and Development
Getting started with designing and coding Silverlight applications is pretty straightforward. The following list contains everything you need:

Expression Blend 3 + SketchFlow
For designing and developing Silverlight and WPF applications, the only tool you really need is Expression Blend 3. You get a fully interactive artboard and design surface along with a code editor for writing your C# or Visual Basic code

NOTE
Blend 3 does not provide you with debugging abilities. For debugging support, you will need Visual Studio along with the downloads listed under Optional below.


Install Silverlight 3
To actually view Silverlight content, both ones you create as well as what others create, you will need the Silverlight runtime!


Silverlight and Expression Blend Tutorials
Once you are setup with everything you need, the only thing remaining is to learn how to use Expression Blend to create great Silverlight content. Good thing this site has that covered!


Required for Development Using Visual Studio
If you are planning on using Expression Blend for both designing as well as coding your applications, the following list is optional.


Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Standard or Higher
For developing and debugging Silverlight 3 applications, you will need Visual Studio 2008 Standard or higher. You can also use the free Visual Web Developer Express if you do not have the full Visual Studio.

After installation of either Visual Studio or Visual Web Developer Express, install the Service Pack 1 to ensure you are setup for installing the Silverlight Tools.


 

Silverlight 3 Tools
The Silverlight Tools download is pretty much a giant bucket of sorts containing everything you need to get up and running for Silverlight development. You get the developer runtime and various patches and additions to allow you to develop your Silverlight applications in Visual Studio 2008 SP1 or Visual Web Developer Express SP1.

NOTE
It is very important that your Visual Studio or Visual Web Developer Express installation has Service Pack 1 installed.


 

Deep Zoom Composer
One of the cool features in Silverlight is the ability to visualize large quantities of image data. In order to do this, you will need to prepare your images into the Deep Zoom format, and Deep Zoom Composer allows you to do just that.


Silverlight Toolkit
The Silverlight Toolkit contains a lot of controls developed by Microsoft that don't always ship as a part of Silverlight or the SDK.


While the list seems pretty daunting, if you are coming from a .NET or WPF background, you probably already have most of the prerequisites for Silverlight development already installed.


If you have a question about this or any other topic, the easiest thing is to comment below or drop by our forums where a bunch of the friendliest people you'll ever run into will be happy to help you out!

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