What Is Silverlight? All You Need to Know About Silverlight

What is Silverlight? It might interest you to know that Silverlight is a web application that was developed by Microsoft and launched in 2007. Its target was to provide a medium for establishing internet applications with interactive and multimedia content.

Another interesting highlight about Silverlight is that it brings the.NET programming model to the client side of your web applications. Silverlight supported various programming languages, including C# and VB.NET. It also allowed developers to create applications that could run across diverse browsers and operating systems.

However, despite its unique features, it’s sad to say that Silverlight is no longer in use as Microsoft has terminated it. In this article, we’ll discuss what Silverlight is, its features, common uses, and why it was discontinued.

What is Silverlight?

What is Silverlight? Silverlight was popularly known for its ability to deliver high-quality video and audio streaming, supporting both Windows and Mac platforms. It supports vector graphics, customized user interfaces, animation, and enhanced user experiences.

However, despite its popularity, it encountered challenges as HTML5 and other web technologies overshadowed it. In 2021, Microsoft announced the end of support for Silverlight, encouraging developers to shift to modern web standards. Today, Silverlight is largely outdated, and its technologies have been surpassed by more widely embraced options.

Features Of Silverlight

Some features of Silverlight are:

1. Rich Internet Application (RIA) Support

Silverlight strived to deliver a rich user understanding for web applications, providing multimedia, animation, and interactive elements.

2. Cross-Browser and Cross-Platform Compatibility

Silverlight was also designed in such a way that it permits it to work across different browsers and platforms, which provides a consistent and palatable user experience.

3. XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language)

Silverlight uses extensible application markup language in designing user interfaces, allowing developers to create interactive and visually appealing applications.

4. Media Support

Silverlight had powerful multimedia capacities, sustaining high-quality video and audio playback. It also permits smooth streaming of media content.

5. Vector Graphics and Animation

This unique web application enabled developers to create vector-based graphics and animations, improving the visual appeal of applications.

6. Isolated Storage

Silverlight provided a secure and isolated storage space for applications, allowing them to store and retrieve data on the client side.

7. Integration with .NET Framework

Developers could power their existing.NET skills as Silverlight integrated with the.NET framework, making it easier to build applications.

8. Networking and Data Access

Silverlight endorses networking features, enabling communication between the client and server. It also had capabilities for data binding, making it comfortable to work with data.

9. Responsive UI

Silverlight applications could offer a responsive user interface, providing a smooth and interactive experience for users.

Platforms And Browsers Supported By Silverlight

Silverlight was developed to work across various platforms and browsers, so as to provide a smooth and consistent experience for users. Here are several supported platforms and browsers during their active years:


The supported platforms include Windows and Mac OS X.

  • Windows

Silverlight was initially developed with a substantial focus on the Windows operating system, ensuring seamless integration with Windows-based browsers like Internet Explorer.

  •  Mac OS X

Silverlight was advantageous as Microsoft’s support for Mac users allowed developers to develop cross-platform applications that could run on both Windows and Mac platforms.


The following browsers were supported: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Internet Explorer

Silverlight had powerful integration with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, particularly during its early years of operations. Compatibility with Internet Explorer was a primary consideration for Silverlight applications.

Mozilla Firefox

Silverlight support was extended to Firefox, one of the most widely used web browsers, allowing users to experience Silverlight content.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome support was introduced later, enabling Silverlight content to be accessed by users using the Chrome browser.


Silverlight was compatible with the Safari browser on Mac OS X, broadening its reach to users on Apple’s platform.

Common Uses Of Silverlight

Although it has been largely deprecated, its use has diminished over time. However, here are some common uses of Silverlight:

1. Media Streaming

One of Silverlight’s strengths was its capacity to handle multimedia content efficiently. It supported smooth streaming of audio and video, making it convenient for applications such as online video streaming platforms and interactive media players.

2. Line of Business (LOB) Applications

Silverlight found use in developing business applications that required a polished and dynamic user interface. Its support for data binding and advanced controls made it suitable for creating LOB applications with enhanced user experiences.

3. Graphics and Animation

Developers used Silverlight to create visually appealing graphics and animations. This made it suitable for applications that required a high level of interactivity and a glossy appearance, such as educational software and interactive presentations.

4. Integration with Microsoft Technologies

Another interesting use of Silverlight is that it could be integrated with other Microsoft technologies, such as ASP.NET, to create well-equipped web applications. However, this integration allows developers to leverage existing skills and tools within the Microsoft ecosystem.

5. Offline Applications

Silverlight had the capability to run applications in an out-of-browser mode. This feature allowed users to run certain Silverlight applications even when not connected to the internet, enhancing accessibility and user convenience.

Why was Silverlight Discontinued?

Silverlight was discontinued mainly due to changes in the technology landscape and the advancement of HTML5 as a preferred standard for web development. Microsoft decided to shift its focus towards HTML5 and open web standards, which were attaining all-around adoption and offered better cross-platform compatibility.

Moreso, as technology began to advance, new mobile devices were launched, which Silverlight had limited support for. Hence, it influenced Microsoft’s decision to finally shut it down in order to introduce more universally compatible web applications.

Silverlight was officially closed on October 12, 2021, and since then, web developers have been advised to embrace modern web applications.

Final Word

I believe you will no longer ask what Silverlight is, because this article has broken it down. You’ve understood what Silverlight is, its features and uses, and why it was discontinuous.  It’s important to stress that, due to the discontinuation of Silverlight, using it for new projects is discouraged.

If you are a web developer, I will encourage you to explore more in the world of the web and try out new applications that are widely accepted and supported.





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