Microsoft will tout its planned Silverlight 3 rich Internet application technology -- and competitor to Adobe's Flash -- at the Mix09 conference in Las Vegas this week along with a host of other developer-related offerings, according to the Mix09 Web site .

Other efforts to be pondered at the conference include the planned Visual Studio 2010 IDE, the Azure Services Platform for cloud computing and Expression Web, for building Web sites.

Mix09, which begins on Tuesday, is billed as an event for developers and designers, with an emphasis on Web development and design skills. While Microsoft representatives declined to comment on specific announcements planned for the event, an industry analyst focused on Microsoft said he anticipates news about Silverlight 3 as well as other developments from the company.

Read our guide to the creative possibilities offered by Microsoft's Silverlight and WPF technologies.

"Mainly, I'm looking for Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 announcements. I think that's going to be the highlight," said analyst Rob Sanfilippo, research vice president for developer platforms at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm.

Other possibilities at the event include release of bits for Internet Explorer 8 and a licensing plan for Azure Services Platform, Sanfilippo said.

Microsoft debuted Silverlight in April 2007; the current version is Silverlight 2. With Silverlight, the company is showing it is serious about the rich Internet application market, said Sanfilippo. "They're not just dabbling in it. They're here to stay," he said in an interview on Monday.

In a session entitled What's New in Microsoft Silverlight 3, Microsoft will ponder experience-oriented features, such as pixel shaders, perspective 3D, animation enhancements, bitmap APIs, and media stack improvements. Also, Silverlight base framework additions will be covered, including updates to the style model, data binding improvements, improved resource handling, and Web services stack improvement.

Silverlight 3 is to include major media enhancements, such as H.264 video support as well as GPU hardware acceleration, said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president in the Microsoft .Net Developer Division, in a November 2008 blog post. Guthrie, who will be a keynote speaker at Mix09 on Wednesday, also stated Silverlight 3 would be out this year and feature such application development improvements as richer data-binding and additional controls. Silverlight 3 will be a major release of the technology, according to the blog.