Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

Microsoft’s Silverlight

Microsoft officially launched version 1.0 of Silverlight on September 5 (yesterday according to post date). This release, the first of the two announced versions, is really focused on delivering enhanced support for audio and video streaming and playback over the web.

This announcement heats up the battle between Adobe and Microsoft by providing a viable alternative to Flash Player for organizations that may already have their video files encoded in Windows Media format. In the face of a market where the competition holds 90% of everything, MS is in for a tough battle.

FLASH vs Silverlight

Developing in Flash requires a person with very specific skills in its own language, Actionscript and because it limits you to flash development alone, Actionscript programmers are few and far between. Silverlight can be written with more common languages like C#, the .NET environment or even something like Ruby or Python.

Silverlight is built on the .Net architecture, which means it can take full advantage of the features available to the framework. Silverlight would be more searchable and indexableFlash as it is not compiled, but represented as text. Silverlight makes it possible to dynamically load XML content that can be manipulated through a DOM interface, a technique that is consistent with conventional Ajax techniques.

Microsoft announced its intention to support Linux through the Moonlight initiative. Microsoft will build the video codecs for the Moonlight project and supply Novell with software to test and ensure Silverlight runs well on Suse Linux, Red Hat and Ubuntu.

For Flash’s credit, Microsoft still needs a few quirks and edits before Silverlight can challenge the giant:

  • JavaScript- CLR did not seem to have made it to version 1.0. JavaScript is inconsistent across browsers in both API’s and in performance.
  • XAML streaming- Silverlight uses XML, which must be parsed and rendered and then bound into the JavaScript runtime. Performance takes an overall hit because of this and I don’t see a viable workaround.
  • Cross-Platform – We all know how terrible Microsoft is at cross-platforming. Hopefully Moonlight changes that record.

Adobe won’t be caught sitting on it’s laurels, and are working on innovations within the Flash Player and Apollo runtimes. No word on when Apollo 1.0 will be out though.

You can download Silverlight 1.0 runtime here


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