Silverlight 2 Beta 2 Installation Issues

The "bottom line" (you can read all the gory details after this):

1) I DO NOT recommend installing Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta and / or .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. There are simply too many issues and fragile fixes. Just wait until all this stuff gets fixed and save yourself a lot of headaches and lost time.

2) I DO recommend installing Silverlight 2 Beta 2, the Tools, the documentation, and Blend June 2008 Preview. Just be very careful about the ServiceProxy assembly issue mentioned at the end of this post, as it seems to be able to occur whether or not you choose to try the Service Pack route.

Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t so bad! I got SL2B2, the Visual Studio Tools and Blend June Preview on 2 out of 3 PCs and everything is working beautifully. On the third PC (the one at the office, which of course had to wait until Monday June 9, unless you stayed very late Friday night) however, I ran into the below issue:

Method 'SelectSilverlightProject' in type 'Microsoft.VisuaStudio.Silverlight.SLPackage' from assembly 'Microsoft.VisualStudio.Silverlight, Version=, Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a' does not have an implementation.




Brad B of MS has a very detailed post on his Blog on this issue and how to fix it here. Basically, it revolves around needing to UNINSTALL KB949325 before installing VS SP1, or if it exists without the SP1 install. Yes, apparently the newest Silverlight bits DO WORK with Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta installed. But what if you cannot find KB949325 in the “View Installed Updates”?  You can search the Registry first for “KB949325” to confirm that it is indeed not “removed” even though you do not see it in the Programs and Features Control Panel “View Installed Updates” under your version of Visual Studio 2008.

The fix for this is simple and logical: Download a copy of Silverlight_Chainer.EXE for BETA 1. Using either 7Zip or WinRar, open the archive and extract the .msp installer, “VS90-KB949325.msp”, and double-click to install it. This “repair job” will give you back your missing entry in “View Installed Updates” and you can immediately proceed to uninstall it (Don’t you just love those “4 seconds remaining” messages that hang around for 30 minutes?)

At this point you can follow Bradleys detailed instructions on the above link and all will be well! (That is, if you’re lucky; I wasn’t.)

NOTE: If you are going to install Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta, make sure you UNINSTALL Hotfix KB944899 first. Otherwise, you are going to spend a lot of time waiting only to see a failure message at the very, VERY end!

Incidentally, Heath Stewart, who specializes in this kind of stuff, has an excellent post on how to download all of VS2008 SP1 Beta and have it on your hard drive. If you are going to use Heath's method, you need to download and rename the .NET 3.5 SP installer executable and store it where the original was as he describes.

And for those who are more ambitious, Aaron Stebner has his Cleanup Tool and lots of instructions on "fixes".

All in all, I still had issues after all these fixes, and removed Service Pack 1 Beta and the NET. Framework 3.5 Service Pack. I need mostly to work with Silverlight 2 Beta 2, and so all this other great “stuff” will just have to wait.

The final issue I found was the “object reference not set to an instance” issue when attempting to add a WCF Service Reference. Tim Anderson covers this very nicely, if you experience it. Basically, if you’ve got the previous version of the ServiceProxy assembly, the installer doesn’t replace it. If your installation size of the Tools is 1.14 MB instead of 1.17 or more, then you probably got this glitch; I certainly did.

So at the end of the day (or week, or however long it takes to check out and fix any or all of these little glitches) is Silverlight 2 Beta 2 worth the trouble?  I think so. You can build real business applications with this, and you can put them on your commercial web site. It' seems to be remarkably stable. That’s cool.

As far as the VS2008 Service Pack and the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack betas, unfortunately I have to recommend you keep your powder dry until you see the final releases of these. As a general rule, I don't have a problem installing and experimenting with BETAs, but if I have to jump through hoops just to get one installed and working, then I do have a problem.