Running silverlight applications outside the browser with Silverlight 3

A long awaited feature for Silverlight, the capability to run silverlight applications without browser. A lot of clients have asked me in the past to build such solutions. They always looked at how Flash application were running on their desktop without it being hosted in browser. Finally Microsoft is delivering that capability in Silverlight 3. It is still in Beta 1 state, but it looks promising already. Here is what microsoft release notes say about this feature.

Out of Browser Capabilities. The new out of browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to place their favorite Silverlight applications directly onto their PC and Mac, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Further, the new experience enables Silverlight applications to work whether the computer is connected to the Internet or not—a radical improvement to the traditional Web experience. Features include:

  • Life outside the browser. Silverlight applications can now be installed to and run from the desktop as lightweight web companions. Thus, users can take their favorite Web applications with them, regardless of whether they are connected to the Internet or not.
  • Desktop shortcuts and start menu support. Silverlight applications can be stored on any PC or Mac computer’s desktop with links in the start menu and applications folder, and so are available with one-click access.
  • Safe and secure. Leveraging the security features of the .NET Framework, Silverlight applications run inside a secure sandbox with persistent isolated storage. These applications have most of the same security restrictions as traditional web apps and so can be trusted without security warnings or prompts, minimizing user interruptions.
  • Smooth installation. Because Silverlight applications are stored in a local cache and do not require extra privileges to run, the installation process is quick and efficient.
  • Auto-update. Upon launch, Silverlight applications can check for new versions on the server, and automatically update if one is found.
  • Internet connectivity detection. Silverlight applications can now detect whether they have Internet connectivity and can react intelligently including caching a users’ data until their connection is restored.
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