by May 1, 2009 0 comments

Microsoft Silverlight is a cross browser plugin that enables developers to
build applications that deliver rich media experience on the Web. Though
Silverlight is a Microsoft technology, you’re not rectricted to MS Visual Studio
to develop apps on it. You can use the Open Source Eclipse IDE for the job. A
plugin called Eclipse4SL works with Eclipse to enable both Silverlight
development and to provide better interoperability between Silverlight and
existing Java websites and web services.

Direct Hit!

Applies To: Eclipse users
Price: Free
USP: Provides same features like Visual Studio for Silverlight
Primary Link:
Keywords: Silverlight for Eclipse, Eclipse4SL

Working with Eclipse4SL
Before you install Eclipse4SL, a set of prerequisites have to be met. For
integration with Eclipse, it requires Eclipse basic 3.4.1 or above. For
Silverlight development, you need to have .NET Framework 3.5 or above and
Silverlight 2 SDK along with the Silverlight 2 Runtime. For Java support, JDK
1.5 update 11 or later will suffice. To install the plugin using Eclipse IDE’s
Update Manager, select Help > Software Updates and then select Available Updates
tab and click on Add Site button. Give the URL http://www.eclipse4
update/ and then proceed with the installation. The Eclipse IDE provides almost
similar features as Visual Studio for developing Silverlight apps. It provides
the same project system and compiler for packaging Silverlight apps. Even the
XAML editor has code hinting feature, drag and drop of tool palette, C# code
generation and synchronization with the preview. To explore the features of the
plugin, we tried importing an existing Silverlight project into Eclipse and run
the project from within the IDE. Let’s check out the installation process and
the features with the following visuals.

After you add the
Eclipse4SL site URL, choose the components you want ot install. Here,
Runtime component is essential .
Once the
Eclipse4SL plugin is installed successfully, you can see the Soyatec
Eclipse4SL icon appearing when you select Help > About Eclipse Platform


You can initiate a
Silverlight development perspective by selecting Window > Open Perspective >
Other option, where you can opt between Visual Studio or Eclipse Style
Silverlight perspective.
For a new
Silverlight Web project, Eclipse4SL creates necessary base Silverlight app &
its corresponding Web app projects having the page.xaml file and its C# code
in the main app project.


To import an
existing Silverlight project into Eclipse environment, the eclipse4SL plugin
distinguishes the main Silverlight appl & its Web appl project and lists
that for selection.
Like Visual
Studio, Eclipse4SL provides you with drag and drop feature to add controls
into the page.xaml source code. The control palette is similar to that in
Visual Studio.


The XAML editor of
the plugin provides a similar auto-completion feature of Visual Studio, and
also the corresponding changes made to the code gets reflected in the
preview pane.
Building and
running Silverlight app with Eclipse4SL becomes easier. By Run > Run
Configuration option, you can select the HTML page to launch the Silverlight
app through Run button.

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