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OpenSilver 1.1 Improves Silverlight and Telerik Support, Reveals Plans for VB.NET in the Browser

OpenSilver 1.1 Improves Silverlight and Telerik Support, Reveals Plans for VB.NET in the Browser

Userware announced that it has released OpenSilver 1.1, a major improvement over last year’s 1.0 release. The update brings it a large step closer to full parity with Microsoft Silverlight.

OpenSilver, the plugin-free, open-source reimplementation of Silverlight, just received several key upgrades:

  • Over 100+ new Silverlight features (see below)
  • Support for additional third-party libraries, including Telerik UI
  • 3x improvement in performance over v1.0
  • What’s next: VB.NET support coming soon

Over 100+ New Silverlight Features

Moving code from Silverlight to OpenSilver is made easier with support for over 100 additional Silverlight APIs. Developers can now reuse more than 99% of their Silverlight application’s code. New features include:

  • New DataGrid: based on the original code from Microsoft, the new DataGrid is feature-packed and offers pixel-perfect backward compatibility
  • Silverlight Toolkit: most controls are now supported in OpenSilver, including DataForm, Accordion, AutoCompleteBox, DataPager, LineSeries…
  • Improved layout system: OpenSilver now supports the “Measure” and “Arrange” Silverlight APIs for creating custom panels and layouts

“Applications migrated from Silverlight now render almost identically, at pixel-perfect level,” says Giovanni Albani, CEO of Userware, the company behind OpenSilver. “Some clients have even asked us to make changes to their code on purpose, just to distinguish the migrated version from the original one.”

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Support for Additional Third-Party Libraries, including Telerik UI

Last year’s 1.0 release of OpenSilver already supported most of the popular Silverlight libraries, including RIA Services, PRISM, MEF, Unity, OData, MVVM Light, and Newtonsoft.

The new 1.1 release adds support for even more libraries, including:

  • SignalR
  • Caliburn.Micro
  • PostSharp
  • Blacklight Controls
  • Google Protobuf
  • Reactive Extensions
  • MS Expression Interaction/Behaviors
  • Microsoft Enterprise Library

Support for the Telerik UI suite of controls has also been improved. Thanks to better support for low-level Silverlight APIs, the full source code of “Telerik UI for Silverlight” can now be compiled and run with OpenSilver.

Most Telerik UI components now work flawlessly, including:

  • RadGridView
  • RadRibbon
  • RadScheduleView
  • RadTreeListView
  • RadChart
  • and dozens of other controls

Performance Improvements

New features like Virtualization, .NET 7 support, and several major optimizations have led to a significant improvement in overall performance.

“On average, we improved performance by up to 3 times,” says Albani. “We’ve observed this while porting Silverlight business apps to OpenSilver for our clients. Some portions of their applications now run even faster in OpenSilver than in their original Silverlight version.”

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VB.NET Support Coming Next

With this release, Userware has been working on laying the groundwork for an upcoming innovation: supporting VB.NET in the browser.

“This will make OpenSilver the only technology out there that supports VB.NET and XAML to build web apps”, says Albani. “It will throw a lifeline to the huge number of Visual Basic developers that are out there, and that is sad to see their favorite programming language being progressively abandoned. As we are flooded with requests for assistance to migrate VB.NET Silverlight applications, we believe that this feature will find a lot of interest in the Microsoft developer community.”

VB.NET support is expected to come in OpenSilver 2.0, planned to be released in early 2023.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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