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Microsoft Silverlight  (View post)

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

Monday, May 7, 2007
12 years ago6,808 views

Will it work on Linux? I doubt that. With all the imperfections of AJAX, I prefer that and most others will do, users and developers alike.

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

No, it's not for any version of linux at the moment. It would require (as far as I know) a re-write of the .net CLR for linux, heh. What's the size comparison flash vs silverlight runtime? What about security issues? Is there a "need" that silverlight fills or is it just "we need something from microsoft"? I know being able to code in a common language is great, but somehow I feel the web is not yet ready for the bloat that is involved in such a gigantic framework...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I just installed the Mac version of the Silverlight plug-in. It was about a 5.3 meg download. That is a fat download for just a plug-in. I kind of wish this was available as a plug-in for Firefox which would make it easy to remove/disable. I have to side with JohnMu about what is the need for this? Is this something that will compete against the new Adobe Apollo runtime environment?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I did install this for Firefox, though I had to restart the browser/ find back to the application manually (not sure if this can be solved on the developer end). The need I guess is for all those developers not happy with the Flash environment, e.g. I'd prefer to work with something like C# for developing... and who knows, it might be useful for more complex client-side apps than what Flash/ ActionScript offers? And if I understand it right (I still need to download, I might be wrong), the IDE is free, whereas the Flash IDE isn't...

Kevin [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Why is this bad for Google?

They can design services in Silverlight just as Microsoft can. It is no different than than Google accountants using Windows PCs.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Why is this bad for Google? Ask Netscape. ;-)
It will have hidden API calls, undocumented features, bugs only Microsoft will have the workarounds for, and so on. Google tried to escape from Microsoftopoly to the Net, but it won't be escaping much longer...
users.qwest.net/~eballen1/nt.s ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Kevin I don't think Google's strategy will allow them to be locked-in to a product by a direct competitor (unless absolutely necessary – they even use Flash rarely, and it's not by a so direct competitor). So it seems they can't really make use of Silverlight as it would give MS too much power over them. The opposite, Google is trying to escape the "Windows hold" by building an online application suite. But now what if MS creates a semi-online* office suite on top of Silverlight, as Jeremy Zawodny suggests, possibly milking this framework for better features than Google can offer with their AJAX-based office approach?

*"Semi-online" because it requires a desktop installation. So e.g. if you're in an internet cafe with just a browser and no installation rights that won't work. It's not fully online. But maybe Microsoft is hoping for the day when 95% of all computers ship with Silverlight pre-installed...

X [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Isn't Silverlight more like Java than Flash? And will it not fight the exact same problematics that Java has/had to face? It needs a framework, a virtual machine and a plug-in... Personally, I think that it's gonna have less traction than java has on the web, considering applets and web start.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I cringe every time I hear about that. Flash was bad enough.
I really don't feel embedded binary files are a good way to build the web. I really don't feel proprietary technologies are a good way to build the web.

And now something that doesn't even run under my only operating system. Grrr :|

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I have been using WPF for over a year now, I suffered through a TON of beta issues and I can tell you the tools have definitely gotten much better. I think the tools are more geared toward graphics designers which made it tougher for me (as a programmer) to pick it up. I do like all the revolutionary concepts behind the technology, but I really hope that the open source community takes many of the concepts and improves them as to obliterate the proprietary nature.

for those of you interested, Add the following RSS to your Reader of choice...

thewpfblog.com/?feed=atom

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

OHHh... BTW I have been using it mostly for KIOSK applications. Things that I would have thought flash best for in the past, but it is way nicer to have the power of c# than ActionScript...

ZZ [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

This is big as in BIG. People in the know-how realized a while ago, this paradigm shift from MS. Watch out this space, as Google gets defensive.

ZZ [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

>>power of c# than ActionScript
yup.

Kevin [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Okay, I stand corrected, but I still do not worry too much.

I confess to not knowing much about programming, but I don't see a world (soon, at least) where the full functionality of MS Word or PPT is fully online. I think tight integration by storing things in the cloud will come and collaboration through connected desktop apps will happen, but the things I can do in MS Word 2007 seem to be out of the range of even Silverlight.

Adobe Flash will evolve and new tools will be created (who knows, maybe even by Google).

Kevin [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Also, Philipp, do you really think Google's move online is about shaking the "Windows-hold"?

I think it is more about moving people into a paradigm of cloud-computing where Google can track your data and provide relevant ads. Windows is only tangentially related, it seems.

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I don't think that Windows is what Microsoft has to worry about... I think that most of their revenue comes from developer tools and support, and as much as it pains me to say this, that is exactly where they shine.

Office is probably a far second, and windows is more of a means...

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Silverlight = Flash + Java. That's appropriate enough for a beginner's introduction. More accurate is Silverlight = .Net + Easy tools for pretty graphics + Easier tools for application development.

I welcome the competition because Adobe ruling the web and print media is not fun. Microsoft is really really good at making application tools, but not graphics, so they bought them.

Philipp: A forward thinker once said that .Net and the CLR is Microsoft's way of migrating from the "Windows hold". Every version of Windows has millions of lines of code to keep backwards compatibility with older versions of itself. MS, by now, is quite sick of it. It has caused them problems in the past and will continue to do so. With the .Net CLR, all they have to do is port it to whatever new Windows they come up with. They could move the whole thing to Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, or even the Amiga as long as there is a working CLR. All CLR applications will run, unmodified, on any other Microsoft-equivalent CLR. Updating one piece of software is far easier than porting and maintaining hundreds of versions of DLLS, checking compatibility, emulating old bugs, etc. Regardless of other operating systems, Microsoft would dearly love EVERY WINDOWS DEVELOPER off Win32/Win64 and onto .Net.

Tadeus and JohnMu: There are quite a few bloaty plugins – Quicktime, Adobe Shockwave, RealPlayer, Adobe Reader. We have been spoiled by the Flash plugin – it still fits on a 3.5" floppy disk! Also, there is a work in progress version of the .Net CLR for Linux: the Mono Project. Find it at
mono-project.com

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

If .. Microsoft pushed the .net CLR to Linux, I believe it would look very different. As it is, it seems to be another one of those pseudo "cross-plattform" marketing moves ("hey, we do mac too!"). You can't ignore the Mac market if you want artists on board – how long until the IDE runs on the Mac? (or do they expect everyone to switch to Windows to use it?)

Imagine the possibilities – .net CLR on Linux + say Symbian, .net CLR modules for Apache on all Linux variations ... Imagine a single runtime and development environment for all those different plattforms... sigh.

If an external project like Mono can move .net to Linux, why can't Microsoft do it? They would gain a lot amount of respect, imho. (or is it a fear of opening their source code?)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Also, Philipp, do you really think Google's move
> online is about shaking the "Windows-hold"?

I don't think Google's strategy is based on "beating Microsoft."* I think they're focusing on doing their own thing, and doing it fast, and scaling it well, and yeah, as side-effect leaving others behind. So if they go for an online office suite I don't think it's meant to escape the Windows hold, it's more like the natural expansion of their mission, their site, and so on, but I bet they still look closely at how much certain strategies would give them tough competition from Microsoft, and which kind of formats they can be first and leave others in the dust.

*Part of Microsoft's strategy on the other hand IS to "beat Google" in the past years. What comes out of it are IMO suboptimal products, like Live.com, which take a lot of energy for MS only to be about half as good as Google. Silverlight is a less direct attack, and it focuses more on Microsoft's real strengths, so I think it's much smarter...

Jason Grunstra [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

We worked on some early prototypes here labs.blitzagency.com/?cat=19 but those were all based on alpha bits of the 1.0 plugin, so we need to go back and refactor them to work with the 1.0 beta. oooof!

nikola_tesla [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Everyone here seems to have a few questions about just what exactly Silverlight is going to be, this is understandable considering that Silverlight is actually positioned to cover a wide spread of technologies. Based on the initial design goals it is really more of a convergence platform of forward technologies. Silverlight, IMHO, is actually an answer the last decade or so of internet platform development.

Skip below for the boring and cluttered assessment of the field, but first, how this all fits in with Google:

Now, companies that make web applications, such as Google, have used a mix of technologies to produce their applications. For Google maps, they relied on markup languages such as MS's VML or SVG instead of opting for the heavier Flash. In applications that needed advanced graphic capabilities, such as Video, they opted for Flash. When Finance needed interactive and oh-so-delicious-looking charts, they relied on Flash.

To me, Silverlight vs. Flex should matter as much to Google as SVG vs. VML. Like any other web application developer, they want the best tool for the job. The trend in all of these tools has been towards openness and standards. If anything, Silverlight could be a Vista/IE only tool and could write itself out of major applications for the foreseeable future by refusing to play nice. This could prompt a switch to a more open, cross-platform alternative. It could just as easily co-exist with Flash/Flex.

What confuses me is seeing this as some sort of shot across the bow towards Google. Google has it's own Web Toolkit, however I have not seen the company attempting to leverage it's tools as alternatives to MS or Adobe; they simply want users and developers to keep making great Google apps, which makes Google more valuable. If users can make Google more valuable by making their apps in Flex or Silverlight, I don't see, in this current environment, how Google would loose much sleep over it.

Am I wrong?

An overview of current technologies that hit on some aspect of Silverlight:

It combines the virtual machine and .Net CLR, meaning they can maintain their API's much easier, as J. McNair points out. Additionally, they have created a set of tools to easily add language bindings; meaning they can leverage just about any programming language with relative ease, such as in the Silverlight case JScript (MS's ECMAScript implementation), which is really great news for developers.

Additionally, Silverlight is built using XAML, MS's answer to XUL; XAML is an XML-based interface description language. Essentially, it is very similar to creating a web-page and including your JScript/Javascript to power the application: It has a DOM with language bindings to interact and manipulate the DOM. Being XML-based and so similar to exiting web technologies, this positions it perfectly for AJAX applications.

The Mozilla Application Framework is the foundation for the popular Firefox browser. As hosts of web applications, browsers have a role to play in all of this nonsense. How does it all fit?

Mozilla originally made XUL and an entire host of extensible software components to easily create client-side cross-platform internet applications. These tools had the potential to translate into a well-formed web application framework, however, for various reaons, the technology has only recently started to take hold cliend-side and has only a handful of proof-of-concepts-ish applications server-side. The browser still plays an important part of the picture, but with MS and Flash and other companies focusing on delivering plugins to important browsers, it seems the future of the web will be written outside the browser.

Silverlight goes beyond what is offered by the Mozilla Application Framework's XUL and XPCOM (basically an API for manipulating the network, files, and other entities) in many important ways, in many others Moz has some very great technologies as of yet unmatched.

A particular point of interest, and perhaps one facet of it's lack of adoption, are Moz's lack of a set of powerful graphic tools. Moz's framework has technologies such as the Apple-created Canvas HTML tag and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) for producing and manipulating images and graphics. These technologies, while good specifications and fairly useful, as of yet are mostly more apt for displaying charts and graphs than they were for fully featured, interactive media presentations or any other fairly advanced and heavy graphic work. There are some applications that really push these technologies to the limit, but they can't replication the performance or the robust set of methods provided by something like an Adobe Flash or Flex. They may be there one day, but not quite yet. One of the major reasons is a lack of developer tools, and the ones that are released could stand to be a bit more user-friendly. It is basically a non-contender.

One of the areas Silverlight appears to excel at (so says MS), and the area that pits it against another important web presence, is it's graphical capabilities. This, of course, pits it agains Adobe's Flex or Flash.

Adobe's Flex seems to continue the current trend of open, XML-based web application foundations. More than that, they release a full suite of development tools that follow in the vein of Flash. They have a fairly fast parser and a great web presence. It will be very interesting to see how developers make the transition with the looming threat of Silverlight. Additionally, they have recently open-sourced the none-Flash-parser portions of their project which has certainly attracted some dev attention.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

hehehe..Microsoft: Silverlight Demo Was in Jscript, Not C#

betanews.com/article/Microsoft ...

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Java launches JavaFX, another compeditor.

Heather Paquinas [PersonRank 2]

12 years ago #

nikola tesla, Microsoft has stated that silverlight content will be indexable* by search engines, unlike flash. I'm not sure how it's possible, but it probably uses xml in some way.

Also, doesn't this sound very similar to intel or microsoft's chrome initiative from the late 90's/early 00's?

* see here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverli ...

I wonder if we will see things like distributed.net applications or little applets embedded in web pages for protein folding and the like, created with silverlight?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Flex and Silverlight are many things, but GPL they are not. J avaFX,
is GLP'd. This is a major difference on these platforms. One is community oriented the others are not.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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