Silverlight, IE 8 and Expression betas released

This article was originally published in VSJ, which is now part of Developer Fusion.
Microsoft released betas of Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight 2.0 and Expression Studio 2 at the MIX designer and developer conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of March, with a focus on bridging developer-to-designer workflow while providing a common development model across a range of form factors and devices.

Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 has tools to debug HTML, CSS and scripts in a visual environment, and two new features: a small-scale “mashup” tool called ‘Activities’, and a tool called ‘ WebSlices’ that allows users to turn a web page into a desktop widget. It also has better crash recovery, improved antiphishing, and a revamped Favourites bar. The biggest issue however is that it promises accurate support for web standards as the default. This is likely to cause problems for web sites designed to make use of previous IE non-standard features, but in the long term it is by far the best option. The Silverlight 2.0 beta includes a Deep Zoom feature, more than 40 new controls and a rich .NET base class library. Microsoft also announced plans to deliver Silverlight for Windows Mobile, and to work with Nokia on support for S60 on Symbian OS. Also new is support for a range of languages, including IronRuby, IronPython and Javascript.

New features of Expression Studio 2 beta include PHP support in Expression Web and broad support for Silverlight 2.0.

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