A little more than a year after its first release, Microsoft today announces the immediate availability of the second version of its Silverlight plugin. Silverlight 2 is a programmable web browser and mobile phone plugin whose main goal is to compete with Adobe's Flash in vector graphics, animation, online video streaming... and many other "rich" user-experience tasks. And it seems to be working as Silverlight is now available for a quarter of the consumers worldwide, according to Yahoo's article.
Silverlight 2 includes a richer development ecosystem by using the full power of the .NET framework: every programming language which can be compiled against the .NET framework can be used to develop Silverlight. Not bad when the competition is only using something called "Action Script" as a development language! Other enhancements include powerful built-in controls, including DataGrid, ListBox, Slider, ScrollViewer, Calendar controls and more and Cross-platform and cross-browser support. This includes support for Mac, Windows and Linux in Firefox, Safari and Windows Internet Explorer. Wait, am I dreaming: Mac and Linux have been mentioned by Microsoft ?
But the most interesting part is Microsoft's effort to push Silverlight. They are funding the development of an Eclipse plugin which aims to "extend the Silverlight Development Experience to all Web Application Developers should they be running Windows, Linux or Mac OS". Pretty interesting, coming from Microsoft.
Head on to the Silverlight web site to download this new version if you can't wait for the update notification.