Monday, December 7, 2009

Microsoft Silverlight 3: A beginner’s guide

"As the Web has evolved over the years, businesses and developers have adopted the Web as a primary development platform. A term was coined to describe the new era of web applications: Web 2.0. Web 2.0 specifies that web applications should be composed of original developer efforts and should consume services offered by other companies and developers. Web 2.0 applications are partially designed on the publisher-subscriber paradigm and integrate media and animation."

"Over the years, web developers began to look at ways to improve web application performance. The Web is composed of millions of interlinked computers, again, with the bulk of processing occurring on servers. Web 2.0 indicates that networks, including the Internet, should be powered by a conglomeration of distributed computing power. The vast majority of computers on the Web, client computers, have been acting as dumb terminals for years. Developers have looked at methods for utilising the untapped computing power available in client computers attached to the Web. Several methods, such as ASP.NET AJAX, have been developed that perform more processing on the client's computer than standard web applications. ASP.NET AJAX uses JavaScript to asynchronously pass data to a server in XML format, thus delivering a user-perceived improvement in performance and a better user experience. Web applications that work to improve performance to deliver a better user experience are referred to as rich interactive applications (RIAs)."

"The downside to standard RIA solutions is that they perform client-side processing using JavaScript. JavaScript is powerful but is executed directly by the user's browser and is therefore at the mercy of the browser's capacity to correctly execute the script."

"Microsoft began experimenting to extend ASP.NET AJAX to further gain control over the client-side computing environment to improve the technology…"

(Shannon Horn in 'Microsoft Silverlight 3: A beginner's guide,' p. 43 TMH)

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