What is Microsoft Silverlight?
Microsoft Silverlight is a web application framework that provides functionalities similar to those in Adobe Flash, integrating multimedia, graphics, animations and interactivity into a single runtime environment. Initially released as a video streaming plugin, later versions brought additional interactivity features and support for .NET languages and development tools.
How Microsoft 4 Beta Client for Facebook comes in origin?
A few months back in April 2009, Microsoft had demoed a Facebook application called Silverface for Windows 7. The application was quite interesting and utilized new Windows 7 desktop features very well. But the application was only for the Microsoft labs and sadly never released to the public. Then we were lucky in last November 2009, we got our hand on Fishbowl(facebook application), developed by UXLabs at Microsoft. This application was providing a good experience of browsing Facebook with some nice features but was not a big hit due to the slow performance.
Well, out of the blue, Microsoft has released a Silverlight 4 Beta Client for Facebook for Windows and Mac OS X. If we compared this to Fishbowl, it’s really fast with killer looks. The User Interface of this application is really awesome if we compare it to other competing applications. News feeds, status updates, profiles, photos, videos, inbox, events – you name it. This application has it all!
How your new Facebook Home Screen looks like?
This is the first option called full feed and I can bet you instantly fall in love with the Home Screen. The news feeds are shown in the middle of the home screen, filters on the left, while random photos from contacts are shown on the right. If you place your mouse pointer on any of them, they show the contact name who uploaded them.
This is the second option called Grid look which show all feed items in a grid and it really looks nice. You can scroll right and left to see more news feeds from the users.
This is quite an interesting view feature called photo feeds which shows the latest images uploaded by your friends and by hover on the images will show the contact name of the image uploader. What more by clicking on that image will directly take you the photo album and you also see and add your comment on the right side of the image.
How you upload photos?
If you can see photos, you’ll want to upload them as well, right? Well, you can do drag and drop photo uploads thanks to Silverlight 4 and even set the privacy settings right here in the application.
How to update your status?
Here comes the update box, one of my most used feature in Facebook. It is the same as the Facebook website, you can add links to your updates like the Facebook website does and obviously, photo uploading too.
What about photo uploading if you have webcam?
But what when you want to upload the picture through you webcam. Thanks to the another great feature from Silverlight 4 microphone/camera access, you can snap pictures right from within the application and post it directly to Facebook.
Some quick features :
1) You can watch videos uploaded by your friends in the Facebook
2) You can see and reply messages in your Facebook inbox
3) Pop ups notifications are also supported and useful when application is running in the background.
4) View a list of upcoming lists of events in the “events” tab on top of the home screen
5) You can like and comment on status, links etc.
6) You can browse you contacts in alphabetical order in “people” tab
Some features which are lacking :
1) Facebook chat is not there
2) Mouse wheel scroll is not working
3) Sorry, no Mafia war games
4) Borderless application
5) Plug-in the camera and automatically importing the pictures feature is not available.
6) Live feed option is not available
7) You can’t hide the applications or news that you don’t want to see
How you can install this application?
First, you will have to download Silverlight 4 beta version and installed on your machine.
Now click on Facebook Client
You’re done now installing Silverlight 4 beta version for Facebook Client
After all this, I think its a solid Facebook client and it makes it more professional. Microsoft Silverlight comes a long way till now, and might be this is the best way to demonstrate its cool features by targeting a social network with millions of users already and lots of coming too.
So if you use Facebook daily and not happy with it looks and how it works on the web, then Silverlight Client is the surely worth checking out.