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Tools required to develop Silverlight applications

This chapter talks about various development tools available to develop Silverlight applications.

To run Silverlight applcations in a web browser, you need to have Silverlight run time installed on the client browser as a plug in. This is a light weight version of .NET runtime.

However, to develop a Silverlight application, you need something more.

Silverlight SDK

This include a set of tools required to compile and build Silverlight controls.

If you are comfortable writing HTML using notepad and compiling .NET applications from console tools, then you just need the Silverlight SDK to develop Silverlight applications.

However, most people use some kind of IDE to develop applications faster.

Microsoft offers 2 separate tools to develop Silverlight applications:

1. Microsoft Expression Studio - this tool is meant for web designers to create rich visual elements for Silverlight applications. Expression Studio is recommended for web designers who create rich internet applications with enhanced visual content and graphics. There are several features provided for creating enhanced graphics elements with lot of options to pick color, font etc.

2. Microsoft Visual Studio - this is the integrated development environment from Microsoft to develop .NET applications. Programmers can use Visual Studio to develop Silverlight applications which require programming. Visual Studio allows programmers to develop sophisticated Silverlight applications in any .NET language (like C#, VB.NET etc).

If you are using Visual Studio, you can download the Silverlight development tools from here. This download include the Service pack1 for VS.NET and the Silverlight SDK.

Which tool to use - Expression Studio or Visual Studio ?

If your Silverlight application include just graphics adn visual elements, then you can use Expression Studio. However, if you are a programmer and if your Silverlight application include programming logic, then you might want to choose Visual Studio.

Next Chapter: Difference between Silverlight Runtime and Silverlight SDK
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