Tim Heuer did a brilliant job in his recent blog post sorting
through and summing up some of the confusion that has
arisen out of the current unusual circumstances of Silverlight,
Blend and Visual Studio all having two versions available at the same time: a release version and a pre-release version.
Silverlight, Blend, Visual Studio, Oh My.
Silverlight 2 is a released development product available here
Silverlight 3 is a beta product (with no commercial go live license) that is scheduled to go live this summer. It is available here.
Blend 3 is in Preview mode and targets Silverlight 3, it is available on a trial basis here. To target Silverlight 2 you will want Blend 2 SP1.
Visual Studio 2010 Beta is ready for testing.
Windows Vista is our current released operating system for individual computers, available here
Windows 7 Release Candidate is here and available for you to test
The Bottom Line
There are numerous mix and match variations, but why make yourself crazy?
- To target Silverlight 2, install Silverlight 2, Blend 2 and either VS 2008
- To Target Silverlight 3:
- Install Silverlight 3, Blend 3 and VS 2008 (Sp1) or
- Install Silverlight 3, Blend 3 and VS 2010
NB: If you choose Visual Studio 2010 you will not be able to use the RIA Services at this time.
You can choose other combinations (e.g., Silverlight 2, Blend 2 and VS 2010, but unless you have good reason to, I don’t see the point. If you want the exhaustive list, however, see Tim’s post.
Please note that any time you are installing a Beta product you are on the bleeding edge and you must be prepared for less reliability than with a released product. Further, it is my personal belief that if you install a pre-release product you must also be prepared to repave your machine when you install the next version. It may not be needed, but being ready for it is a prudent precaution.
Pioneers take Risks But Achieve Great Things
Using pre-release software can certainly create headaches: when you run into a problem you must ask yourself: Is it Blend? Visual Studio? Win7? Silverlight or me? Aiiii! But it is also the very best way to keep ahead of the learning curve, and each of these products, though pre-release is surprisingly stabile and each is well supported on their respective Microsoft sites:
My Working Environment on the Bleeding Edge
As a personal choice, I am currently keeping these working environments:
Silverlight 2, Blend 2, Visual Studio 2008, Vista.
Silverlight 3, Blend 3, Visual Studio 2008, Windows 7.
Silverlight 3, Blend 3, Visual Studio 2010, Windows 7.
I do most of my work on the last of these, and so far it has been a gas.
As Tim correctly points out, one very powerful option when working with pre-release software is to use virtual machines – easily reset and recreated, but typically you pay a bit of a performance penalty.