On The Bleeding Edge: Where All The Fun Is.

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.

Rather than replicating his work, let me point you to his
post and also provide a slightly different perspective of life on the bleeding edge… 


Silverlight, Blend, Visual Studio, Oh My.

SilverlightLogo 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.

Expression Blend 2 is the current commercial version of Expression Blend, available with full support (and on a trial basis if you like) here.  This supports Silverlight 2.

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.

VS2010 Visual Studio 2008 SP1 is the current and fully supported edition and it comes in many flavors: Standard, Professional, and Team System

Visual Studio 2010 Beta is ready for testing.

Windows 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.

Virtual Machines

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.

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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