back to article Microsoft buffs Silverlight for HTML5 video contest

Microsoft has tried to justify its Silverlight media player in the age of HTML5. Brad Becker, Microsoft director of product management, says that Silverlight is not designed to replace HTML5. The closed-source player, he contends, lets you build "premium" experiences. Also, Becker says, Silverlight delivers "consistency" and " …

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Flame

Is Reg supported by some anti MS organization

I have hardly seen an article on Reg which is in favor of MS. As far as this article is concerned, can I ask the author if he's done any programming in Silverlight or HTML5??? What you get with Silverelight, you don't get that with HTML5 and vice versa. They have their place in their respective areas and before anyone rant about openness blah blah. Every project has it's own needs and sometime you need open standards whereas other time you need quick turnout. And this argument about HTML5 got video tag now, you think RIA is only about video, there is much more to it and video is one small part of the puzzle. Am basically sick of these HTML5 arguments, that's all!!!

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Don't be an arse.

Not read the article 'I was working in the lab, late one night'? Or, turn Adblock off for a few seconds and look at all the MS puff all over the site.

One area we often need 'quick turnout' is in the toilet. Silverlight is the equivalent of not wiping your arse. What you save in the short term is more than wasted by trips to the dry cleaners, the smell, and the derision from colleagues.

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Anonymous Coward

Clearly suggest you don't know the intended audience of Silverlight.

"turn Adblock off for a few seconds and look at all the MS puff all over the site" this suggest to me that you clearly think Silverlight is for delivering ads etc where as it isn't, don't comment on anything you don't know about. It is more targeted/suited for full delivering full blown RIA applications rather than small ads like Flash.

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Stop

Re: Is Reg supported by some anti (or pro) XYZ/ABC organization?

I know I'm the new guy around here, but I think that after four or five months I would have figured out if there's a super-secret shadow cabal pumping out hidden messages to the masses via The Register's editorial control. Quite the opposite. I think The Register gives its authors a remarkable amount of freedom. To date I've not been told once which product or company to write about. I've not been asked to go easy on an individual or corporation, nor have I been asked to really put the clamps on either.

Other than my editor’s valiant attempts to elevate my writing skill beyond the linguistic equivalent of banging two rocks together, I seem free to write what I wish. Now admittedly, this is anecdotal evidence. It’s possible that there is a huge conspiracy and I’m just not in on it. I prefer to take the Occam’s razor approach; the simplest explanation is likely the truth.

Rather than sponsor driven editorial dictates, I think it’s far more plausible that The Register does exactly what it says on the tin: bites the hand that feeds IT. The readers it attracts, as well as the folks that it employs are the kind of people who take the piss out of everything and everyone all the time.

For every pet topic, viewpoint or belief you might ascribe to a particular author here on The Register, you’ll find another one with a completely different viewpoint. From an institutional standpoint, I don’t think you can find a single corporation, individual or discussion item (beyond the obvious ones such as the importance of journalistic integrity) that would garner uncontested support from amidst The Register and her many regular readers.

Frankly, I think that’s the way it should be. Any news organisation/blog/magazine/what-have-you that allows its sponsors or the political leanings of it’s higher-ups to affect the content of works produced by its staff doesn’t deserve to exist. Any proper information outlet should always strive to report the truth as they know it at the time of publication. /Without/ knowingly omitting vital information that changes the overall result of the work. A purposeful lie by omission is still a lie.

Preferably, the organisation as a whole should have the chutzpah, resources and time to dig a little deeper than the surface impressions and do some real investigative snooping around from time to time. Sadly, as we move into the era of “citizen journalism” in which noone pays for the media they consume, outlets that have the resources for this are fewer and farther between. Personally, I think El Reg does remarkably well at looking past the fluffy PR pieces that are thrown in their direction and sniffing around for the larger picture.

Of course, no news organisation in the world has the capacity to employ only investigative journalists, so they also have a cadre of reporters. Even the investigative folks have to do a little basic reporting. Reporting is exactly what it sounds like: reporting the facts of an event and leaving it up to the reader to make any inferences they wish. Somewhere in the mix you get opinion pieces as well; these are usually reasonably well researched and written in order to spark thought and debate. Overall, The Register does a damned fine job of maintaining a balance between these.

Fanboys of any stripe will not find safe harbour here. Eventually, no matter what product or company you believe in, an article will come along and take the piss out of it. Though regrettable, every now and again an article will even come along that is outright wrong. This isn’t maliciousness but usually an honest mistake on the part of an author. For all the negativity that El Reg (and dozens of other rags just like her) get from commenters about being “bought and paid for,” I have come to trust the reporting here more than I have almost all of the mainstream information outlets in Canada. Certainly I trust El Reg by an order of magnitude more than any of the mainstream press in the US.

Everyone deserves a right to their opinion, but accusation of being bought and paid for venture into the territory of insulting. These are good people, sir; they all work honestly and hard to do a great job. The grousing of commenters can make writing feel thankless. The gods only know how the people who moderate things around here don’t go absolutely nuts.

I could go on. I’ve had such a terrible day at my day job today that I would like to. Retrospectively, I realise that a page-and-a-half nuclear diatribe is a completely disproportionate response to your comment. I apologise, but I really needed to vent some frustration and your comment struck a nerve.

I received my very first “you’re a paid corporate shill” comment to one my articles not too long ago. It still stings a little; I’d like to think that if I was a paid corporate shill I wouldn’t be so poor. I’d also like to think that the cost of my ethics is more than a little bit higher than anyone out there would be willing to pay. Somehow, I suspect that’s true of everyone here.

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FAIL

Let's try again...

(1) The article 'I was working in the lab, late one night' is very favourable to Microsoft.

(2) Turning Adblock off while reading El Reg will reveal a lot of Microsoft ads and links to Microsoft-oriented material, little or none of which is in Silverlight - not that anyone ever suggested that it was.

Oh forget it... AC@09.27, just read more slowly and count to ten before blurting.

And Trevor - if your skin really is that thin, then I'm afraid you're in the wrong job. Sorry.

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I'm not BITTER about the HTML 5 failure!

Why so sad? Why so angry?

Partial?

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Gates Horns

I think it's fair to say

The reg is on the whole equally cynical of all PR announcements. Perhaps you should read the BBC technology pages if you prefer your 'news' to be regurgitated straight from the mouths of marketing deparments?

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WTF?

Foot 2 A$$ for the Anonymous Coward

Dude, who in the hell is still thinking the future is MS and MS dev tools? Didn't you get kicked in the balls over Active X on ie 6? If not just close your eyes and put a patch on your crotch that says kick me if you hate Active X plugins on the Internet!

If you want to make money the apple platform is where it is at, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Corporate America took hook, line and sinker the MS crap and look where they are at. Stuck with IE 6.

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Pint

We're going mobile

We're going mobile, and silverlight isn't. Developers are better off putting their training time into learning something that's going to be around for a while.

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FAIL

"We're going mobile, and silverlight isn't"

Er... epic fail. It's already used as the core experience on WM7 and in -browser support will be coming very soon.

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Anonymous Coward

same or "lite"

so WP7 uses Silverlight for the UI for apps (great, so porting my existing iPhone and Android apps is going to be a pain) but ... Silverlight doesn't work in the browser in the phone so I can't view a Silverlight website?! That seems cocked up. And as for "coming soon" they've not even got WP7 phone out of the door and you're already praying for the next release to fix the bugs that are wrong with this one? Forgive me if I wait for v3.

and am I right in thinking that the version of Silverlight that you have to use to write apps isn't the current v4 but some older/hybrid version?

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WTF?

Surely they didn't actually say this?

*********************

Microsoft says that whereas HTLM5 and CSS3 "have traditionally had a lot of issues with variation between browsers,"

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Yes, traditionally your site will look lovely on every web browser you test it with, except IE, which fucks it up and makes you have to go in and hack the crap out of what you've done.... I expect no different with these updated standards!

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Almost

Almost exactly what I was going to write - word for word ;)

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"Furthermore, there's a really big question over "why" you need Silverlight's 2D and 3D graphics when a talented developer or creative can work with SVG, CSS, or Canvas."

Because anybody with .NET WPF application development experience can "just do it" without having to learn the intricacies of SVG, CSS, Canvas, Javascript and HTML5. And developers are guaranteed the same user experience across all supported platforms, rather than being at the mercy of browser developers, which reduces testing overhead.

Silverlight's niche is corporate RIAs in companies which already have .NET developers.

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Pirate

Really?

"On the "consistency" front, Microsoft says that whereas HTLM5 and CSS3 "have traditionally had a lot of issues with variation between browsers,""

Yes - mostly caused by Microsoft Internet Explorer not producing (obviously) consistent behaviour, let alone anything bordering on "correct".

"Silverlight gives you the same experience "everywhere". "

Everywhere running the latst versions of windows that is. As long as the correct versions of Internet Explorer and whatever myre of .net happen to be succesfully loaded and patched.

"Furthermore, there's a really big question over "why" you need Silverlight's 2D and 3D graphics when a talented developer or creative can work with SVG, CSS, or Canvas."

Laziness - pure and simple. If a half baked but pseudo-flashy application can be quickly but inefficiently knocked up using Visual Studio it will be rather than in any better way. But these are the pressures of business, get something out of the door and try to let the snake oilers persuade the customer that it isn't fundamentally broken in any way, and besides - "everybody" now expects the first version to never work properly so it doesn't matter right?

"Microsoft has delivered four versions of Silverlight in the time it has taken (so far) to build HTML5"

Is this meant to be a good thing? Four incompatible versions that still don't provide what developers are clamouring for? Admittedly, the latest version is startingly better and even useful compared to the first few, but there are still a lot of functional and head slapping holes if yoy don't want to be forced to link everything into the entire MS office play - sharepoint, office, sql server, etc. From experience customers are getting more and more annoyed about being railroaded and forced into deploying the "latest" versions of whatever MS happen to be selling just to support another, often trivial, application.

Not that competition for Flash is a bad thing - it might force Adobe to reduce the bloat, deal with some of the appalling security and resource problems and perhaps produce a better product.

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Dead Vulture

Silverlight != HTML5

Don't get me wrong, I am pretty anti-MS, myself, but as a developer of CAD software that runs in the web browser, I have to say silverlight is 20X faster (I've tested) than Flex, which is orders of magnitude faster than SVG & Javascript.

Last I heard Canvas wasn't fully accepted, Javascript is just a kludge of a language (script kiddies piss off, I've been coding for 20 years, and "dynamic objects" are just late binding all over again). The development environment and testing tools for Javascript just aren't what they are for .NET, you have to write in multiple different languages, on and on.

I will truely love the day when real standards like HTML5, JS, and SVG can offer a replacement for Flex and Silverlight, but as far as I can tell, that is still *at least* 5 years away.

Also don't get me wrong, CAD software != NY Times. If you have a public facing web-site who's biggest job is to format text and maybe play some video, HTML5 is totally the way to go. But if you are deploying complex applications that really should run on the desktop, but you can't get people to install, well, Silverlight is probably the way to go.

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Advantages of Silverlight you neglect to mention

(these equally apply to Flash, but that's not the point)

Easy creation of things like subtitles. I'm not talking about copy and pasting a subtitle script, I'm talking about being able to reliably time events to fire as a video progresses. AFAIK, JavaScript/HTML5 offers no such functionality- you'd have to start a timer when the user clicks play and hope they don't get out of sync.

Ease of development. Canvas is all very well, but have you ever tried making an image with it? Endless lines of JS describing lines, arcs, curves... good luck getting the company design team to turn in a Canvas image. SVG still isn't totally supported- a variety of specs on a variety of browsers, especially mobile ones, mean that it's a moving target.

Actual interactivity. Ever tried animating a canvas tag or an SVG image? It's ugly. Before someone jumps in- no, I'm not saying that every site should be animated. But there are legitimate cases for it. Programming some kind of interactive puzzle with SVG+JS would be a nightmare in comparison to Silverlight/Flash.

Performance. What JS animation that does exist (through various libraries) is CPU-heavy and slow. Try putting 100 pins on a Google Map, and try and use that map. Now try doing the same with the Google Maps Flash API. There's no contest.

As for talk of "HTML and CSS [being] ubiquitous web standards"... well, it depends how you define 'standard'. Given that significantly more users have Flash (and probably Silverlight) installed than an HTML5/CSS3 capable browser, they could well be regarded as the 'standard'.

Not the standard we'd all like, of course- I'd love to see every browser with full HTML5/CSS3 support. I think the video/audio tags are a great idea. Even being able to apply a border-radius with CSS3 makes me want to hug someone. But that doesn't mean there isn't a place for Flash and Silverlight. We're still very, very far away from non-plugin methods being able to rival them.

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Bronze badge

So much inaccuracy

To the author - Silverlight is not a video player.

To Joe Greer - IE6 is 10 years old. Sure, corporates are still running it but MS wants them to stop. However, if corporates had gone Apple as you suggest then presumably they'd be running on 10-year-old Macs with PowerPC which Apple dropped years ago. Apple's product line changes very frequently - how is that meant to fit in with a corporate policy?

To Nick - Silverlight is not dependent upon .NET. It runs in FireFox, Safari, Chrome and IE and produces the same results in all places and it runs on OS X too. Silverlight installs (in about 5MB) with everything it needs, it does not depend on any additional pieces such as .NET or some Windows Media codec or similar. Clearly, it can't because those things are not present on OS X.

To Nick - the idea that Silverlight is linked to anything in Office or Sharepoint is ludicrous.

To Herbert - interesting that you think that Silverlight feels like a "dirty" solution. Silverlight was designed to build RIA applications whereas HTML is a document markup language which is being bent in every which way in order to attempt to make it suitable for applications that it was never intended for. Now...which is the "dirty" hack here?

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Silverlight Everywhere?

Everywhere except for Linux, almost all phones, other handheld devices... I guess the MS guy meant "Everywhere running Windows 7"

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Anonymous Coward

Linux

actually... I use the excellent Moonlight port to run Silverlight apps on my Ubuntu desktop machine - was able to watch the NBC Olympics content without a hitch earlier this year. performance and stability where far better than anything I've experienced with Flash and installing it didn't suddenly mean I was inundated with "rich immersive advertising experiences" which seems to be 90% of why Flash is used these days.

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FAIL

RTFA

To all those complaining about the author comparing Silverlight to HTML5/online video/etc:

Please go back and read the article again, this time reading more than every other word. MICROSOFT made that comparison, and the author's point was that they made the WRONG comparison.

Take, for example, the final paragraph:

"It would have been better to talk about Silverlight's potential against Flash in business as a wrapper for client-side apps with data integration to the Microsoft back end rather [than] paint Silverlight as the alternative to HTML5 on the web."

Sounds an awful lot like what you lot have been saying, only less childish. Reading comprehension FTW.

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