back to article Microsoft's IE 9, Silverlight 4 and the whiff of lock-in

Basking in the afterglow of the recently released Windows 7, Microsoft has rallied the faithful to share the love at its annual Professional Developers' Conference in Los Angeles, California. Traditionally, PDC has been about looking ahead and charting the roadmap of the next few years. Previous years saw Windows Vista and then …

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Gates Horns

Silvershite

Did anyone really think Silverlight was anything more than a sop to keep the regulators happy? Now it's (apparently) established enough they can kick all that pesky cross-platform nonsense into the rough and do what they wanted all along - lock people into Windows. Which is why I won't install Silverlight, on Windows or Mac.

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Paris Hilton

Microsoft lock-in?

Colour me surprised.

Paris, 'cause I wouldn't mind getting locked in with her.

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Silver badge

A funny time to do it

Does lock-in really work if you do it while you still have a tiny portion of the relevant market? This'll just make a bunch of companies that weigh up Silverlight versus Flash pick Flash, surely? It's a dream scenario for Adobe, and I'll wager they're not going to forget about it.

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Flame

software lock-ins

In the end it is not pretty then the vanity starts seeping out and that small program that was 10 megs in size is now over 120 megs today and now it demands to be in the task bar icon notification tray 24/7 and demands to be part of IE add-on and making your local java apps crash. I predict that silverlight will become a monster!

No lock in for me ever!

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FAIL

Silver what ?

Does anyone actually use that piece of rubbish ?

ITV dropped it like a hot rock as nobody wanted to use it.

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Layers and layers

The last time I heard a story about a large software development effort that was depicted as a large number of layers upon layers it was delivered by a squad of hit men brought in to Control Data Corporation from Slumberger to rescue the company. Of course, at the time I realized that this was a far to unwieldy project for any organization to carry out, and as we all know, Control Data was shortly no more as a computer company. It sounds like Microsoft has reached the same state in its evolution, thankfully.

Cloud computing is pretty recent thinking in the popular computing press, but has been around for ages in the HPC arena. In spite of huge efforts by many players over decades now, not much beyond scheduled remote batch submission via ftp is in any way reliable, so its not very surprising that Microsoft and the other cloud band wagon types are having trouble getting something into the marketplace. All kinds of software can be, and has been produced, but nothing has happened to solve the unreliability issues associated with hardware, networks and local policy conflicts that are amplified by the use of many machines to implement the cloud.

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Al
Gates Horns

Suprised?

I never really understood why Microsoft were going for cross platfrom anyway. Silverlight is a great way to reuse .net code and, if designed with Silverlight in mind, an easy way to push desktop WPF apps onto the web. Surely everyone can see Silverlight based versions of Office apps coming? I imagine that Microsoft have realised that if you can run Office through your browser on Linux then a number of businesses would have less reason to buy Windows. A less cynical view might be that allowing COM support in Silverlight means there is a massive existing codebase that can be reused rather than having to port it all to .net.

Who knows, but did anyone really believe that adopting a Microsoft product would ever have been fully cross platform?

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Anonymous Coward

lock-in my arse

No - that's not an instruction. It's simply that MS don't have any real advantage to gain from skewing windows towards a relatively subtle feature that will be used by a small fraction of the apps. I really think this is just a case of "journalist found something and needs to show off to the world and dog". Anyone who looked at the feature list for SL4 would have thought "oh, they've got a few nice out of browser features. Windows only? Probably cause they couldn't get access to enough mac code.".

Very few developers will go for the out of browser option as it completely defeats the main benefit of silverlight (and flash), which is that it doesn't need to be installed. If you're installing, just use WPF.

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The one and only reason silverlight exists:

Is for MS to be able to deliver office online.

What were they going to do? Build it in Flash? Java? An OS Ajax framework? Not viable options for MS.

P.S. The one and only reason to deliver office online:

So that you cannot buy/pirate a CD and use that version of office for a decade. In future, to use office, you will have to subscribe/upgrade yearly.

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Gates Horns

It wasn't all that long ago . . .

. . . that Microsoft were claiming that they were going to go 100% .NET and that COM was history.

Office.NET, coming RSN! No, Really!

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Dead Vulture

5 pages of a 38 page document

When I read this article I thought. Ouch bad for silverlight then I looked up the what's new in silverlight 4 document.

In total there are 5 pages of a 38 page document are about 'trusted applications' that contain features that are handy for some applications. It doesn't make silverlight windows only.

Ooh well I guess an article about a better and improved Silverlight doesn't get you a lot of hits.

But then I expect more from the reg than from slashdot.

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Thumb Up

Bit overexcited?

Silverlight is great for me. It means I am able to leverage some of our WPF assets and all of our skills creating rich applications which can be delivered over the web (note that's rich applications over the web, not necessarily rich web application with their HTML and JavaScript limitations).

In Silverlight 3 Microsoft made it possible for users to 'download' a Silverlight page to run as a local application. A good idea originally by the team at Novell creating the Moonlight variant.

In Silverlight 4 this local version is able to be a full trust application and use, for example, COM to perform operations that are not permitted when Silverlight is running in a browser hosted sandbox.

So as a developer, I have a choice:

1) I can create a rich application that is able to run in several browsers on Windows and Mac (and if I choose to limit myself to the Silverlight 2.0 feature set on Linux); or

2) I can create what is really a desktop application that's easy for users and corporate administrators to roll out (none of that install step) but which can behave like a desktop application.

That arrangement maybe your lock-in. But it's my choice. I only wish AIR (Flash) would be as flexible.

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Unfortunately, the public is not as 'overexcited' as it should be

>> That arrangement maybe your lock-in. But it's my choice. I only wish AIR (Flash) would be as flexible.

I'm sorry and this will seem like I'm flaming but statements like these are simply a rough rationalizations to continue using Silverlight, but certainly not valid reasons why to do so. When you grow up and have kids yourself, it becomes second nature to see past their sometimes bizarre justifications to get permission or squeak out of a punishment. Silverlight gives choice? Comparing it to AIR is kinda/sorta worth an argument, but a more expansive and practical discussion should be the contrasts between Silverlight and HTML5.

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FAIL

Erm, does anyone remember Flash's beginnings?

Back in the "old days" Flash was 100% a lock in product; it ran only on Windows and if you wanted to create apps, you have to use the Macromedia Flash tools. Since then, Flash Player has become available on other platforms but they still don't run as fast as Windows and Macromedia (now Adobe) still enjoy a massive head start in tool functionality over their competitors due to their original "lock in".

Now Microsoft have created something which is better in terms of accessibility, can be written without any special tools (but good luck if you choose not to use their tools; its possible but not all that practical) and add some Windows only extensions and people start howling about "lock ins" and "MS dominance". Looks like some people need to read their history books....

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