Microsoft Friday plans to ship the release candidate of its Silverlight 1.0 platform, a programming model and a runtime browser plug-in for running rich applications and supporting video.
The announcement was made during the company's annual Financial Analysts meeting here. A release candidate is a final beta before the code is considered finished.
The company first introduced Silverlight, which has been described as a competitor to Adobe Flash, in April at its annual Mix conference. Silverlight is an extension of Microsoft .Net family of tools and runtime environments.
"Silverlight is oriented toward the seamless deployment of applications across the Web, the enterprise server, the PC and mobile devices," said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect.
Microsoft is positioning Silverlight against Adobe's Flash as its tool to build and deliver Web-based applications that use animation and other rich media,.
Silverlight takes advantage of Windows Vista's new graphics framework, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Microsoft is integrating its capabilities with Internet Information Server 7, which is slated to ship with Windows Server 2008 in February 2008.
Ozzie presented a Silverlight demo showcasing a Major League Baseball game running in the browser with a number of controls, including a picture-in-a-picture capability and the ability for real-time communication with other users online.
Microsoft is targeting three core audiences with Silverlight: content providers that want to distribute video and rich media over the Web; designers and developers that are building rich interactive applications; and end users that want the best possible experience when viewing Web-based media.
Silverlight is compatible with a range of browsers, including Internet Explorer (IE), Safari and Firefox. End users will not have to download different video player technology to view online media based on what OS they are running.
The IDG News Service contributed to this report.
This story, "Silverlight Release Candidate set to Ship Friday" was originally published by Network World.