A year or so ago I wrote a post called Adobe AIR: 10 reasons to love it, 10 reasons to hate it. Here’s the same kind of list for Microsoft’s Silverlight, based on the forthcoming Silverlight 2.0 rather than the current version. The items are not in any kind of order - they also reflect my interest in application development …
#0: Silverlight locks you into Microsoft's world, with their ever-changing EULA, their unethical (and illegal) business practices, and their outright contempt for everyone who doesn't just open their wallets to them. Thanks, but no thanks.
re: point 4 "pro"
The point 4 in the pro stance means that the interoperable (most of the pro points, really, that) bits are the subset of Silverlight that is supported in Moonlight.
So it really isn't a "pro" point. It's a meta-pro-point: the pro points require that you consider only the elements that are compatible between Silverlight and Moonlight.
Kind of makes you wonder why they don't just write Moonlight themselves.
what's not to love?
I'd be more inclined to love it if the installer did something more than leave a copy of itself running in the task manager.
The Linux implementation will always lag behind the Windows and Mac releases
Have you ever used Flash in Linux? A bit of a stalemate between the technologies there, I feel.
Not that it matters much - both makers have correctly realised that Linux users make up a tiny, virtually insignificant proportion of their user base, and are only providing Linux compatibility to avoid bad press. (Just like the BBC and their iPlayer promises).
Reason to hate #1 is actually Apple's fault...
That said, I wish Silverlight had never been thought of, that whoever had the idea had never been born even. Not because of the thing per se, which I don't even know. **And don't want to!!!** For me, it's reasons to hate #2 and #7, basically. Why, oh why another "standard"?! Now that the Flash crap works relatively well in every platform I've seen, they come up with another stupid format.
Reason for my hatred: this weekend I went to the NBC Olympics website to (try to) see some videos of events I missed. I run Linux only, and can still come across a video website that does not work for me. First, it complained that I was unclean and unworthy of the O2 I breath (or something like that), since I was not running one of their approved OS/browser combos. Which obviously did not include any type of Linux (NBC being a Microsoft thing nowadays, what a surprise). User Agent took care of that, but I suspected things would not go well... which they didn't. The darned thing uses Silverlight. Why? Why would something this major use a stupid thing that is not even beta yet, when a perfectly well established and functional option exists? To annoy the hell out of me, that's why. Now I hate NBC too, and hope they lose money and die. Which they won't, but I will still hate them.
How did you manage 10 cons?
You seem to have been very hard pressed to find 10 cons. None of those are real problems that would make a slight difference IMHO. Ok, maybe only 1 or 2 of them but 10?
Your bias is showing there AC.
I'm just no impressed from a standards stand point; A pointless endeavour that is both sickly in it's intent and vacuous in it's benefits to users. Bring on more development in SVG and ogg media playing I say.
Pro #1 is actually a con
RW's First Dictum of Halfway Decent Website Design and Construction:
If it's hard or impossible to achieve a certain effect using only pure HTML & JS, abandon efforts to achieve that effect.
You aren't allowed to use Flash (and now Silverlight) without a note from your mother.
Explication of the dicta:
Given that Flash is widely misused for gratuitous displays of "how kewl we are", another tool with the same capabilities is NOT good news for the mere mortals desperately trying to find a good price on <whatever>.
Example found on some news sites: simple slide shows of still images implemented in Flash. Ostensible reason: to provide kewl dissolve effects. Probable real reason: to prevent piracy of images (which doesn't work, btw).
Stop the madness.
Silverlight on NBC
I'd heard (not that I've checked, I couldn't be bothered to get over the zipcode/cable provider hurdle) that the NBC site has a fallback to a simpler Flash version if you don't install Silverlight. Probably relatively well hidden as part of whatever deal they struck with MS, but there nonetheless.
That said, I wish Linux had never been thought of, that whoever had the idea had never been born even. Not because of the thing per se, which I don't even know. **And don't want to!!!** For me, it's reasons to hate #2 and #7, basically. Why, oh why another "standard"?! Now that the Windows crap works relatively well in every PC I've seen, they come up with another stupid OS.
How did you get 10 pros?
But some pros are cons waiting to happen. And others are only mitigations of cons. And the first pro has nothing to do here, it's not even true! -unless you want to group it with number 4. Also, number 9 should be removed (or at least grouped with number 7) as it's a .NET feature. And point 7+9 should be merged with number 2, as it's basically the same. All considered, your 10 pros boil down to 5 real independant points. You forgot a few cons too. Yes, I am a registered MS 8er, but still, I foresee a very bright future for malware designers. Flash is already bad enough, why create something even worst? Plus, flash developpers are a pain in the neck (kinda VB developpers with added shine and glitter), I'm not looking forward to hacking through crowds of self-sufficient MS-approved shiny pollution designers. Unless I'm provided with a machete, of course.
Hating on the Haters
Again I see more MS hating than actual valid points. Personally I am glad Silverlight came around because I am simply tired of Flash and all the rest.
If Silverlight were a Linux based, community developed, unfunded project NO ONE would be saying a single bad word. So look past the fact this is MS for one tick and see if half of the currently tossed around vitriol even holds true.
<END OF RANT>
Silverlight on NBCOlympics.com
On my old Dell box, Silverlight grinds things to a halt, so I get to look at pretty stills. On my new laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad R61 XP Pro thank you very much), Silverlight flutters a bit when loading, but then lets me watch lovely videos of all the events I'd rather see on my 1997 vintage Panasonic TV but that are scheduled live well past bedtime for me. I knew there was a reason why I panic-bought the Thinky before June 30th other than omg gotta get me an XP machine before the old Dell's flatulence turns into meltdown. Yep. Pretty pictures. It works every time.
NBC and Flash
They do have a flash fallback, but it only works for a handfull of videos. For the vast majority, you're required to install SilverLight. I even got an error message saying that the videos wouldn't play on a "non-windows OS". But it's probably due to sloppy code, not a flaw inherent to SilverLight. Surely. Hopefully. Or is it?
Now that I checked, if you will excuse me, I need to go and uninstall flash. And wash my computer. With black soap. Feels soooo dirty.
The Linux implementation will always lag behind the Windows and Mac releases (mk 2)
Well no surprise there as linux gives M$ the willies.
No problems with flash here using linux, the buggers nicely blocked off using noflash :)
slightly different perspective
currently, i'm looking at building a component in silverlight for an intranetty sorty of product, where it's (slightly) more reasonable to force users (or at least the ones who need to use the functionality in question, which wouldn't ever be all the users) to use a specific platform. its not possible to do it with just HTML/JS, at least not well, so its either flash, silverlight, or fuhgeddaboutit. despite having not used silverlight/wcf before, it only took a couple of days to get something going, whereas the flash man in the office reckons it would take about a week to get to the same stage.
on the other hand, i'd never use silverlight for anything targeted at the public. then again, i wouldn't use flash either. or anything apart from HTML/CSS, preferably. they can barely get support for that right across the browsers (looking at you, IE), not much chance of anything else turning out right.
Too little too late
Flash is everywhere... iPlayer, YouTube... countless games sites... you'd need a Killer feature to convert developers over...
Silverlight on the Wii ? I can watch (lesser quality) iPlayer shows on my Wii right now.
You missed one Pro : Microsoft will throw tens of millions of dollars at this to get it adopted, so there will be some excellent support...
MS wanted to rent out massively overpriced NT derivatives for servers and foist windows 95 derivatives on everyone who could not afford it. The only reason you have XP is competition from Linux. If you want to live in a world where you are required to spend £1000 on software each year for a £200 computer then you can get the same effect by donating to charity.
Plenty of people do not use an 800W gaming rig with a 1Gb/s internet connection to browse the net. Using flash just drives away customers with old, mobile or cheap computers for no benefit. Retailers who do not like flash, but still want to loose business can now choose silverlight.
Re: Hating on the Haters
"If Silverlight were a Linux based, community developed, unfunded project NO ONE would be saying a single bad word."
Correct. If it were an open project it would have something to differentiate it from Flash. As it is it's just one more annoying web plugin from a highly proprietary company whose history with web standards is...well, less than good if we're feeling charitable. I suppose it's good that it exists to keep Adobe honest, but I'm honestly not sure I care enough about having the ability to put annoying animations on web sites for that to be a convincing argument for me.
Just what we need, a top-heavy alternative to Flash that won't run on all platforms.
Should destroy Flash like ActiveX wiped out Java.
Flash is everywhere...
except on x64 windows. If Silverfright works on 64bit windows, it'll get my vote.
Silverlight and Flash are equally bad
Both Flash and Silverlight are annoying bling-bling.
I you want video you can just embed a video stream, no need for Flash/Silverlight overhead.
If you want some shiny graphics consider SVG.
Concerning Moonlight, well it's built on top of Mono, which is bloatware which doesn't run on my OS (yet) and if it did I wouldn't install it.
Take a look at the animated SVG on the Opera page on SVG. It's small, it's beautiful, it's fast and it's half a page of clean XML. Unfortunately hardly any Browser fully supports this open standard, instead they invest a lot of time into fixing Flash issues.
Paris likes bling-bling.
Its all good...
I've ready the flames and the suggestions.
I am a developer that uses Microsoft Tools to develop solutions to both windows, linux and mac users.
Currently you are correct that there isn't a concerted effort to develop Silverlight for any other platform with the exception of Windows based pc's. However, the promising solution this is that the technology will enable all users to experience fully fledged applications built for the web.
No, I am not talking about a simple video with some fancy graphics, nor an animated stick figure beating the death out of another. I'm talking about Web Applications that are from the ground up developed to enable a user such as yourself to interact with data, services and functions. Imagine for a moment signing into to livemesh.com (msft - linux users beware). Loading your desktop application and having access to your pc through the web much like other products but, with real access.
Embedding applications to the browser is a step that many companies are wanting to take and fortunately someone is paying the $ to get them there. Adobe and Microsoft are recognizing the importance of web applications.
Expression Blend and Expression Design are not photoshop clones nor are they a typical design tool. They are used to code and design in conjunction with development methods. They have source code viewing and are not specific to Silverlight.
While it is true that it does not support H.264 currently it does support VC1 for very specific reasons:
VC-1 requires more processing to encode, but is designed for lightweight decoding. This allows more computers to play back video. With the YouTube and normal quality videos there is generally no difference. However HD videos require significantly more processing power and the difference is significant.
Item 8: Flat Wrong
Item 10. This is misinformation and not fact based. In fact depending upon the field and company this can be entirely false.
Item 1: Failure of Apple (though, through an AddOn MSFT Could sell the add-on upon approval from apple).
Item 2: Silverlight is not flash...The comparison is rather like comparing a wheelbarrow to a ferrari - sure they both have wheels...but?
Item 4: This is actually a pro - A developer and a UI Designer now use the same instruction base for their deliver. Consider the sample: Developer makes a connection point to a webservice for payment acceptance. Designer updates UI to accept the input. Instead of developer waiting for mockup, slicing and recoding to compile and redeploy.
RE: Hating on the Haters
There's good reason to hate Microsoft, from their crappy products down to the way they've been doing business for the past 20 years.
You suggest something similar to: "People, just because they're Nazis is no reason not to give them the benefit of the doubt." In fact, it is the group's entire history that leads to comments about the unacceptable proprietary behavior and problems with their output. It's not just ranting about a name, it's ranting about a known entity that sucks eggs.
You don't hear as many complaints about Linux products simply because they have not demonstrated anything even close to resembling the evil and garbage associated with Microsoft. Not even close.
That said, Silverlight's only redeeming value is in its video display, which is marginally better than Flash (its only competitor) while not at all better than QuickTime or any other dedicated video delivery app. Everything else about it is either too tied into .NET or VB and too reliant on the "good graces" of future Microsoft support to be of any long-term use. I say the same thing about Flash ... too tied to its Mommy's apron strings, and too flaky for serious use. Agreeing with RW and Martin Owens on their points ... and agreeing that NBC was foolish and ignorant for relying on Microsoft for anything having to do with the Games ... vis a vis the BSOD exposed here and elsewhere and the use of this beta product.
@RW, I with you
A website should be for a well-defined purpose and that is to help the user of said website get what they need most effectively.
So that means flash only when it's needed (=almost never) jscript when it's needed (=almost never barring *necessary* use of ajax). I shouldn't have to put up with broken sites because I use noscript, or blank pages because I blocked flash, both verboten on my machine because flash & scripting are a security risk.
I don't need another route for malware into my computer. I don't need a whole pile of this (corporate, pointless, proprietary) rubbish, and silverlight is just another shovelful.
Example of why it matters, I tried to use the dell site yesterday to buy a smallish server. Poor design with simply *buckets* of special cleverness from scripting, and it drove me mad.
So, sale lost; I'm buying it next week from a company whose site works (mostly) without scripting.
Flash: Flashy stuff, bloat "kewlness" that infests the web.
Silverlight: the same as above, except it also ties you to the MicroSoft platform.
I think I'll pass. And Moonlight is a red herring, kind of like Mono. Can you *really* make a .NET app run 100% alike in .NET and Mono? I think not ... Java has been able to do this for years.
I think all this Rich Internet Application nonsense is just getting stupider everyday. I already hate Flash-only sites, now they're trying to force another thing like that ... and this time, MS-only. Yeah, right.
Silverlight & The Olympics - A Story of Disgust for Americans
It is difficult enough to watch H.264 encoded video on PC Desktops.
Trying to watch the Olympics on a Dell via Silverlight disgusted me.
NBC hozed America by choosing Microsoft's Silverlight - what a black eye!
At least non-Americas had a fairly well supported uTube for their Olympic coverage.
I guess Silverlight and the Olympics were not that important, anyway... otherwise, it would have worked with a few browsers on my Dell.
hate it hate it hate it - and I play lots of Flash games. But seriously, Flash is so often done badly, it's bloated and old and needs some serious re-engineering. SVG was looking good as an alternative and I did a lot of work with it, but it's plain that it is going the way of the dinosaur.
Frankly I'm not a fan of Macroslop and most of their 'wrokmanship', especially their OSes and Office (orifice), but I do like .Net in general and Silverlight in particular - it was pretty damned easy for me to move SVG stuff to XAML and to drive it from some of my other XML sources. As long as Moonlight can be kept up to scratch I'll be more than happy. And yes I've already tried sticking XAML in front of the general public - they just don't care Flash (i.e. drop your trousers), XAML, whatever - if they can get it to work the difference is meaningless to them.
Get my coat icon - because it's the closest thing to Flashing.
One reason not to hate it.
I am using Linux and can't see it, so I don't care anything about it. The fact is people want to make money (no I can't imagine how) showing this stuff if they don't want my money then I can live without their product advertisements or whatever. Lots of reasons to get emotional in this world media on the internet isn't one of them.
Yep. Anyone else remember the stream of security advisories about ActiveX? And how they turned into advice to simply ditch ActiveX?
I can see them warming up the SilverLight Advisory conveyor belt now....
Don't feel too left out. Adobe haven't shown any love for x86-64 on any other platform either. At least Linux 64 bit users can work around it by using wrappers or open source plugins (without the inconvenience of starting a 32 bit browser and trying again).
@ Ian Ferguson: Linux flash no problem
> Have you ever used Flash in Linux? A bit of a stalemate between the technologies there, I feel.
I use it all the time with very few problems. In fact I actually mostly use it inside a 64-bit Linux edition (from Mandriva), where it runs within nspluginwrapper, which provides a 32-bit compatibility environment for plugins (Mandriva comes with this system out of the box). Yes, sometimes it freezes, but closing the affected Firefox window is the remedy. Does not really happen very often. I'm always wondering why some people complain about Linux Flash. Maybe a distro-specific issue? (Perhaps the currently more fashionable Ubuntu does not work as well in this respect as Mandriva).
Remember the days of This Site is Optimised for IE?
Well it will be coming back thanks to Silverlight. Lots of sites developed for Silverlight and brain dead web developers saying "Install SIlverlight then" as a response to "I can't use your site". Forgetting that not everyone has access to or wants to install Microsoft junk on their computer.
I thought we had moved on from the days of flash intros and non standards based sites?
If you can't be creative using standard DHTML then you probably are still bitter that multimedia CD-ROMs are a thing of the past.
Macromedia products I liked. Adobe products I don't.
When Adobe release an upgrade for coldfusion server, the license went from a few paragraphs to several (maybe a dozen?) pages. All of the fairly liberal things were gone from the license.
Has Adobe ever released an x64 windows version of flash player?
Software for Linux
Some big companies do not release their own versions of software for Linux, because they are afraid that they will make some mistake and the Linux people will force them to open source that piece of software.
You never know how a judge might rule. It is better to not take the chance. Just look at all the shouting over the Novell - MS deal.
When people say they will never use Novell again, because of the deal with MS, It is no longer an issue over a better OS or software support. It is a political / near religious issue. The discussions and anger that come up, it sounds like people debating abortion.
Many in the Linux community would do everything they could to force Adobe, MS, etc to open source their products. They might even change the licenses to try to screw them.
Great! Thanks Microsoft
Your attempt at humour fails, Linux follows a pre-existing POSIX standard. Anyone who had used real computers prior to 96 knew how to use Linux with zero, or near zero learning curve.
Also it should be noted that while Windows used to work on every PC, you can't get a version that would run on a 486DX 66MHz with 8MB of RAM any more, however I have this machine running Linux and use it as a print server for my network with the latest kernel etc... so your cute turn around of windows running on any PC you've seen means that you're 12 or not thinking
Why Silverlight will succeed
99% of the users DGAF if the website they visit uses flash or silverlight or java or ajax. Really, they don't. So that leaves developers. Silverlight is much easier for "real" commerical programmers (ie not just script kiddies and designers who dabble) to adopt and it's also essentially free to get the tools, SDK, etc. Windows succeeded for this very reason - it was easier and cheaper to write rich software for windows than for GEM, Mac, Workbench, Your Mum, etc.
Oi scamps, get on yahoo. I need to talk to you about Stu [-]
the thing is that you can, A) display svg files using silverlight or.., B)convert them to xaml. C) create your illustator / swg /fla files using whatever you want and then convert them to xaml(using free tools /exporters for the various programs)..
so you're not exactly required to use expression bled or designer..
blend is mostly used to hook up triggers (databind) to .net objects in a more visual way.. you can do it just as well from emacs
and just because it not fully supported on linux yet doesnt mean its a "windows-only" product its fully supported on the mac.. i like linux, but the sad fact its that its used by a tiny bit of end users and (as has been seen in these comments) many of those users arent iven interested in rias and consider both flash and sl to be blingy-kewln3ss-bloat
and why doesnt microsoft write the sl version for linux you ask? i ask in return, what linux user would trust such a release? not to mention the fact that microsft has very little experience in building linux apps and that there already exists a project for .net (mono)
if microsoft had written SL for linux i'll bet anything that the haters whould flame them for not acknowlaging mono..
"That said, I wish Silverlight had never been thought of, that whoever had the idea had never been born even. Not because of the thing per se, which I don't even know. **And don't want to!!!** For me, it's reasons to hate #2 and #7, basically. Why, oh why another "standard"?! Now that the Flash crap works relatively well in every platform I've seen, they come up with another stupid format."
"That said, I wish Linux had never been thought of, that whoever had the idea had never been born even. Not because of the thing per se, which I don't even know. **And don't want to!!!** For me, it's reasons to hate #2 and #7, basically. Why, oh why another "standard"?! Now that the Windows crap works relatively well in every PC I've seen, they come up with another stupid OS."
love it :) some people refuse to get marks sarcasm but its such an exelent example of the double standards (pun) some people seem to have
Flash / Silverlight.
I confess to being one of the Linux zealots referred to by many of the previous posts.
In my defence I'd like to point out that both Microsoft (browsers, browser plugins, operating system, instant messenger, etc) and Adobe (mostly just flash player, but I've been unfortunate enough to run into coldfusion and jrun as well, oh, yes, that steaming pile of poo they call adobe acrobat reader) have made my life much harder than it should have been.
I see fit to avoid products and "standards" from both companies where possible because of the amount of pain they've caused me when I've been in situations when I've had no choice but to work with their products. I advise others to avoid products and "standards" from these companies (where possible, mostly they're too far down the road).
As someone rightly pointed out the reason these companies avoid Linux is because many of the more experienced users have been screwed repeatedly by them, and we'd love an opportunity to screw them back.
Paris, because she knows all about screwing.
Mac version has parity with the Windows version?
That's news to me. Get real, any version for other platforms is never going to have full feature parity with the Windows version. Overpromise to pull the suckers in, then underdeliver once they are trapped. It is the MS way.
Fwiw, it is also an unstable stinking piece of shit on the Mac platform... much like the Flash plug-in.
All competition is good
Netscape was made better by competition from IE - in the end IE won (it was a better product for most end users).
IE stagnated and then Firefox came along and stuck a firecracker up them - now we have newer, better, faster browsers.
Silverlight doesn't need to succeed or even be all that great to make Flash better - Adobe won't and can't sit around while they lose mind share.
Why Silverlight will overtake Flash...
...from a purely distribution/update point of view.
[I'm not an MS lover by the way, I'm just analyzing the market]
Most people have Windows. Most people have automatic updates turned on.
Silverlight 1.0 is currently an optional Software update.
Whats the betting that 2.0 will be rolled into the critical/required updates?
Hence, everyone with Windows, who uses Microsoft Update will then get Silverlight sharpish. Taking over flash in the number of installs and market share.
Plus via Windows Update they'll avoid Flash's current downfall of incompatible versions.
As to the Con's of Expression Studio/Blend, etc.
I use Photoshop and most of the entire Master Suite (including Flash) at work, but I've also use the Expression Studio....and VS2005/08 as well.
It's true that Blend is no match for Photoshop, but neither are the tools in Flash for creating objects/editing.
Compatability between using Blend and VS is a bit of an issue in 1.0 and 1.1 (now upped and renamed to 2.0) - but these are being addressed. For a Beta the integrations quite good after a few little setup fiddles. Just give it time.
Silverlight will, thankfully open up the "flash" market to non "flash purists", i.e. .NET developers....and as .NET is so familiar to existing languages (unlike Action Script), it makes the entire genre more open to development. Which is generally good.
The processing power of using the underlying .NET architecture really does put JS and even Actionscript to shame.
Finally, usability wise (putting on my 'user' hat here) most users don't really care.
They just want it to work and they want it to work 'fast' and 'pretty'. So if Silverlight can do this and compete with Flash, then its just more choice for us (the developers) and very little change for the end users, who probably can't tell the difference between a Silverlight app and Flash app (at the moment).
No optimized binary protocol?
So REST and SOAP are unable to be gzip compressed over HTTP? I did not know that.
Seriously, I thought the world had moved past "optimized binary protocols" in favour of XML and gzip? Con #8 looks like a "pro" to me, to sit with the fact that it uses XAML natively.
iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone
What is this obsession with the iPhone? At last count, Apple had a 1% share of the US mobile market and probably less in the rest of the world so who gives a monkeys if Silverlight can't be installed on it
...now if it was all mobiles then that would be more of an issue...
In the real world of business, people are not running the latest browser on the latest OS. I would love to be developing in either Flash or Silverlight. In theory, it makes my job a lot easier. After all, imlementation has become well over half of the development cycle.
But in the real world, the problem it's trying to overcome is the problem preventing it from being used. Businesses are running all sorts of combinations of obsolete crap. IE5, Netscape, Windows 2000, NT4.1, XP SP1 etc and so Silverlight is not an option.
I'll probably have it when I upgrade windows, until then I don't really see the point.
But when it does come pre-packaged then there won't be much point in flash, which is presumably the MS strategy here.
How restricted is its .NET implementation?
Comments on comments
Wow ! Godwin'd in two sentences.
@Time Bates:(@Ron Enderland:)
Whoosh. Just.......whoosh, man !
Screw 'em both
I''ll wait for JavaFX thanks very much.
That looks to me like
10 good reasons not to use Silverlight, and 10 flimsy ones to use it. 4mb download? Flash is half that...
My favourite reason applies to both: Flash is horrid and should die. Same is true of Silverblight.
The ITV website uses Silverlight and I had to install it to make some crappy video work. Except it didn't. Crashed repeatedly and was generally pants. So I can definitely second that Silverlight is pish on the mac. Flash is better but the bar has been set quite low. It's rather depressing. I too am also miffed that there's no Flash on my Jesus Phone. Very annoying when I want to watch more glorious GB victories on the Beeb.
pros & cons
1: it's made by microsoft
"...I am a developer that uses Microsoft Tools to develop solutions..."
sorry. i stopped reading when i hit "solutions" <bleccch!>
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