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UI Improvements

A number of UI improvements have been introduced to ease the development of Silverlight 5 applications. The introduction of click counts enables developers to write code that responds to double, triple, or even quadruple clicks. While this was possible in previous versions, the framework provides a far more consistent experience because the delay between clicks is standardized to the runtime.

Type-ahead text search allows for faster keyboard navigation through lists and combo-boxes. This is critical in LOB applications where the keyboard is often the fastest means to navigate through the application. The text search allows the user to type several characters on the keyboard, and the developer can interpret those keys to focus the list to the selection that matches the characters. For example, a contact list might match on the last name of the user so typing several characters of the last name will bring the list box to that user without the use of the mouse or scroll bar.

Perhaps the most important improvement to the UI for LOB is the addition of vector-based printing. Silverlight has provided native printing since version 4.0, but this was a raster-based printing that simply providing a bitmap image of the printed material. This meant loss of fidelity at different printer resolutions and also could result in a very large memory footprint in the printer buffer that degrades performance. The vector-based printing should not only reduce that footprint, but allow the output to maintain fidelity even at high resolutions. This is a highly desired feature in the business world where Silverlight applications drive rich reports.

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