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Integrating Silverlight and SharePoint

written by: George Garza•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/5/2010

Silverlight is Microsoft's browser plugin to add video and audio content capabilities to a web site. SharePoint is project collaboration software that makes it possible to manage them from a central website. Together they will make the SharePoint content more dynamic.

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    Multimedia Web Presence

    Browsers are now in a very competitive environment. For example, in January 2010 there were five major players in the browser market: Internet Explorer(36.2%), Firefox(46.3%), Chrome(10.8%), Safari(3.7%), and Opera(2.2%). That was not the case 10 years ago when Internet Explorer was the dominant browser in the market with more than 70% of the market.

    Furthermore, the browser has changed from a static display of information to a strong and dynamic presenter of information, video, graphics, and audio. Adobe, with its Flash Player has been instrumental in making that possible.

    Other video codecs that are similar to Adobe Flash are Theora, JavaFx, OpenLazlo, Synfig, and Silverlight. These codecs can run multimedia content, and most are compatible with several browsers.

    Source: Browser Statistics

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    What is Silverlight?

    Silverlight is Microsoft's browser plugin that acts like Flash player. Silverlight can display videos and produce sounds to make the web site more dynamic. It is a multimedia presentation system because it integrates video, graphics, animations, audio, and interactivity into a single environment. It is part of the .NET Framework visual studio system, a development environment.

    Silverlight Stack.svg 

    This panel shows the internals of Silverlight. The crucial part is the XAML and the browser, because they provide raw data (XAML) to be presented and displayed in the browser. Additionally, Silverlight supports the display of high-definition video files which can be large files. Microsoft will provide the option of sending them over the Net. Since streaming large media files is expensive, Microsoft will host Silverlight media files and applications. This integration will allow developers to make smaller streamlined files for distribution.

    Source: Silverlight stack

    The Silverlight Web source can be found here.

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    What is SharePoint?

    SharePoint is a collaboration program designed to bring together different participants to share common items. It is a browser based application that can bring together process management modules, search modules and a document-management platform. There are three software elements of SharePoint: Windows Sharepoint Server (WSS), Microsoft Office Sharepoint Services (MOSS), and SharePoint Designer. SharePoint can only be created in a Microsoft Server 2003 or Server 2008 environment.

    Windows SharePoint Services (WSS)

    This is a free add-on to Microsoft's two Windows Server platforms (2003 and 2008) providing a thoroughly functional web portal. Among its features are the following items: blogs and wikis, discussion boards, alerts (like e-mail), shared calendars and contact lists, collaboration tools, and a content management system.

    Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS)

    Office SharePoint Server 2007 supports various Internet operations like extranet, and Web applications for a businesses using one platform, instead of relying on different fragmented systems.


    SharePoint Designer

    Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides an automation tool to identify business processes and build applications like reporting and tracking services, with all of this in an IT-managed environment. The Designer offers customization of the SharePoint site to comply with the business requirements.

    Source: Sharepoint



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    Silverlight Sharepoint Integration

    Separately Silverlight and Sharepoint perform their tasks well, but in today's web integration environment, each can benefit from integration with the other application.

    Here are the basic steps that can be followed to integrate Silverlight into SharePoint. You must have the following applications installed:

    • Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 Professional Edition; this is an application development environment that can deliver programs in Visual Basic or C# (sharp).
    • Silverlight 2 and Tools for Visual Studio 2005 or 2008
    • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with SP1 (WSS) and Tools with Visual Studio Extensions
    • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 (MOSS)
    • Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 provide the server environment that holds the SharePoint - Silverlight program.
    • The process involves the following steps, create the Silverlight application, Create the Sharepoint Site, Integrate the Silverlight application into SharePoint.

    1. Create a New Project in Visual Studio

    Create a New Project in Visual Studio 2. Create a Project View

    Create a Project View 

    3. Add a New Web PartAdd A New WebPart 

    4. Creating and Deploying the Web Part in SharePoint

    Creating And Deploying The WebPart in SharePoint 

    5. Add the Web Parts from Silver LightAdd Web Parts from SilverLight 

    Image Source: Microsoft

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    Silverlight is a multimedia program that can be used with web browsers to make a dynamic, visually exciting display. SharePoint is a collaboration program that can bring different projects together, different users, and different documents, which can then be organized together into a web browser.

    The Silverlight - SharePoint integration process works at putting two programs together in such a way that features of one application work with the other application. There are a series of programs that need to be in place to work together like not only Silverlight and Sharepoint MOSS and WSS, but also Visual Studio, and Microsoft Server 2003 or 2008.

SharePoint and Applications

SharePoint can be used as a stand alone browser application. But it can also be used with a variety of other programs and tools. In this series we look at how those tools and applications can be used to make SharePoint a more vibrant system.
  1. Integrating Silverlight and SharePoint
  2. SharePoint Policy and Procedure Templates
  3. How to Export SQL Views into SharePoint