back to article Microsoft Silverlight: 10 reasons to love it, 10 reasons to hate it

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 …

COMMENTS

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  1. yeah, right.

    forgot one:

    #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.

  2. Mark
    Pirate

    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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  4. Ian Ferguson
    Linux

    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).

    *awaits flaming*

  5. J
    Flame

    Yeah...

    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.

    </rant>

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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?

  7. Martin Owens

    Hard Pressed?

    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.

  8. RW
    Stop

    Pro #1 is actually a con

    "You also get video and multimedia effects that are hard or impossible with pure HTML and JavaScript, though Adobe Systems' Flash has the same advantages."

    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.

    Second Dictum:

    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.

  9. Mark Allan
    Coat

    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.

  10. Pierre Silver badge
    Flame

    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.

    Flame on.

  11. crashIO

    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>

  12. TomatoQueen
    Boffin

    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.

  13. Pierre Silver badge

    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.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    The Linux implementation will always lag behind the Windows and Mac releases (mk 2)

    Well no surprise there as linux gives M$ the willies.

    RE:Ian Ferguson

    No problems with flash here using linux, the buggers nicely blocked off using noflash :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    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...

  17. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    @Mark Allan

    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.

  18. Ben
    Linux

    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.

  19. Ron Enderland
    Thumb Down

    Pfft

    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.

  20. pondscum
    Gates Halo

    Flash is everywhere...

    except on x64 windows. If Silverfright works on 64bit windows, it'll get my vote.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    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.

  22. Joe Garrett

    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.

    BTW:

    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

    http://www.microsoft.com/net/wcfdetails.aspx

    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.

  23. Tom Ince
    Gates Halo

    RE: Hating on the Haters

    Seconded.

  24. James Butler

    @crashIO

    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.

  25. BlueGreen

    @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.

  26. Daniel B.
    Flame

    Silverlight

    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.

  27. David Halko
    Flame

    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.

  28. Lee Humphries
    Coat

    Flash Sucks

    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.

  29. Alan Donaly
    Happy

    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.

  30. Tim Bates

    Various tghoughts

    @Ron Enderland:

    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....

    @pondscum:

    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).

  31. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Linux

    @ 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).

  32. Giles Jones Gold badge

    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.

  33. Simpson

    Adobe

    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.

  34. Tom Silver badge

    Great! Thanks Microsoft

    For a technology that does now what Javascript would have done in about 1996 if you hadnt got involved.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Mark Allen

    <rant>

    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

    </rant>

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    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 [-]

  37. aL
    Thumb Up

    adobe

    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..

    J:

    "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."

    mark allen:

    "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

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    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.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  41. A
    Alert

    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.

    Chess Example:

    http://silverlight.net/samples/1.1/chess/run/default.html

    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).

  42. Eddie Edwards
    Pirate

    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.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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...

  44. James Bassett

    Another Con

    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.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next version.

    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?

  46. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Down

    Comments on comments

    @James Butler:

    Wow ! Godwin'd in two sentences.

    @Time Bates:(@Ron Enderland:)

    Whoosh. Just.......whoosh, man !

  47. EnigmaForce
    Flame

    Screw 'em both

    I''ll wait for JavaFX thanks very much.

  48. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Pirate

    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.

  49. Keith Spencer
    Jobs Halo

    Juk

    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.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    pros & cons

    PROS

    1: none

    CONS

    1: it's made by microsoft

    ----

    @Joe Garrett

    "...I am a developer that uses Microsoft Tools to develop solutions..."

    sorry. i stopped reading when i hit "solutions" <bleccch!>

  51. Bill P. Godfrey
    Go

    8-bit-esque hobby programming?

    With Silverlight 2, (I hope) I could download the free Visual Studio Express edition IDE, write code using an (IMO) excellent language (C#) and people could run my little application without worrying about viruses or malware as everything will be sand-boxed. I could also run my friend's code even if their computer is totally malwared.

    I'd love to know how flash compares. (I know very little about it beyond my end-user experience.)

    Is there a free/cheap IDE like VS-Express?

    Is the language as high quality as C#? (Could I use C#?)

    If the answer to both is yes, please tell me how.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    JavaFX

    In terms of RIAs, the technology I'll be rooting for is JavaFX. It's open source, cross platform and it's built on Java, a technology with cross platform interoperability as the prime focus.

    It's one platform where Linux users will be first class citizens and having equal precedence over Windows and Mac users both in terms of the runtime and the development tools.

    However, considering Microsoft's and Adobe's marketing prowess and surplus $$$ to throw around, it's unlikely to even come close to Flash, AIR or Silverlight.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ A

    Oh yes, the "Chess Example" is a good example... NOT. Except maybe of general incompetence.

    Since I didn't have Silverlight installed it directed me to the download page (as one might expect), then back I went to the chess example... only to get an error: "The version of the Silverlight plug-in installed on your system is no longer valid." It listed an address but since it couldn't be copied from the dialog box I just gave up. I have no idea why the hell the link to download Silverlight didn't give me the newest version.

  54. dervheid
    Joke

    And the award for...

    most acronyms used in a single article goes to...

  55. Goat Jam
    Linux

    @crashIO

    "If Silverlight were a Linux based, community developed, unfunded project NO ONE would be saying a single bad word because there would be equivalent cross platform covering every conceivable architecture and we all would have equal access to content."

    There, finished that for you.

  56. Phill Holland
    Coat

    bouncing ball

    it took me along time to understand the point of silverlight against pre-existing technologies.

    I thought I had it for a moment, but then I forgot it.

  57. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    @Bill P. Godfrey

    "With Silverlight 2, (I hope) I could download the free Visual Studio Express edition IDE, write code using an (IMO) excellent language (C#) and people could run my little application without worrying about viruses or malware as everything will be sand-boxed. I could also run my friend's code even if their computer is totally malwared."

    "With Java, I could download the free Netbeans Full Edition IDE, write code using an (IMO) excellent language (Java) and people could run my little application without worrying about viruses, malware or whatever OS they happen to be running . I could also run my friend's code even if they wrote it on a totally different architecture "

    C# is a cheap knockoff of Java that MS produced to maintain their lockin. Couldn't have all those portable apps floating around, people wouldn't need to use windows doncha know?

    .NET is just another effort at locking customers to the MS ecosystem. Give it up, give it up while you still can.

  58. Tom
    Thumb Down

    No good!

    Bah! I tried to install it and it says 'incompatible processor'!!! Hpmh... they trying to push me out of my 600MHZ Athalon! Bastards!

  59. Pierre Silver badge
    Coat

    @ Joe Garett

    Could someone pass me the machete, pretty please with blood droplets on top?

    Developping "solutions" to access ones PC over the network? Over http, using a huge closed proprietary browser extension? You mean, reinventing the wheel but making it out of tinfoil-covered jelly and renaming it "cross-surface travelling solution"? No, thanks.

  60. Nikolai Kuzmin
    Thumb Down

    Solution looking for a problem

    that's what IMO Silverlight is. I have had flash blocked in my browser for a few years now and never missed it. So, why does the world need something even fatter and less secure? Application in browser? WTF? For enterprise class remote application access look no further than Citrix et al. SOHO should be happy with RDP (or X) over some kind of VPN. SL does not add anything that ActiveX or .Net or flash or Java doesn't already do, yet it does open whole new ground for advert spammers and browser hackers. My rules regarding 'rich content' are very simple: if the website can't do its thing in html + JS they do not want my business.

  61. Dave Silver badge
    Boffin

    Adobe shills

    I'm convinced that the only reason for Silverlight is to get Flash accepted as being 'okay in comparison' instead of everyone comparing it with HTML / JS / SVG which are all true, open standards.

  62. Joe

    @ CrashIO

    You're "tired of Flash and all the rest".

    In what way are you tired of Flash? It's just a tool.

    A bit like you. :P

  63. Alan Parsons
    Flame

    Caught up gone :(

    I was about to point everyone to caught up for watching ITV catch up without installing Silverlight, but ITV being the bunch of cnuts that they are have threatened a poor developer trying to do good and had it pulled http://chris.orr.me.uk/caughtup/

    Someone should lobby for 'silverlight only' sites to have a mandatory fallback to flash, or some other plugin written by a more trustworthy company. There's no way I'm gonna install anything from microsoft on any of my machines. It'd be like pouring diesel (and diesel from a dubious source with no real knowledge of what it contains at that) into a Ferrari.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Simple...

    ...MS apps on my Mac are bad enough, but with care I can make sure that I know exactly when they're running. With the Little Snitch utility I can even tell when they're phoning home.

    But a browser plug-in? There's just no way that's going to be installed on anything but a 'naked', anonymized virtual machine.

    Paris, because I'd install her on a naked, anonymized machine any day.

  65. Chris
    Coat

    Software development is like bulimia.

    Many moons ago in a time when PCs were a status symbol for the pocket protector market, I was happily developing applications using C. Thin was in. Standard input, standard output. This was not enough to keep PC manufacturers and software vendors content. Everyone should have a computer. So they gobbled up additional code like pacman eating pellets and came up with robust GUIs. In order to stay current, I went on a bit of a binge myself. I started using Win APIs and Motif. The Victorian full hourglass figure was the style of the day. All the while, P.T. Barnum was sneakily building his three ring circus - Mosiac, Netscape, and Internet Explorer. Lightweight apps became easy. I needed to go on a diet. I was no longer allowed chili dogs. Like an addict I had the shakes in the switchover to tofu. But svelte was the new look and I was determined. A few HTML input boxes, a CGI backend and wow, we have e-commerce. But that wasn't good enough. Now that everyone was on the Internet, looking at porno and chatting with underage Asian girls, browsers had to load up on twinkies and toffee. How will Grandma be able to auction her dentures on E-Bay? What if she enters "three" instead of "3" in the starting price box. We can't possibly have two page loads in order to have input validation/bounds checking. So along came Javascript. Now Grandma gets flashing red asterisks telling her to FIX THAT INPUT. But that still wasn't enough. Pass the sausage. We can't match input to the backend without a page reload. So the fat kid ate his cake and added AJAX and DOM and now no one can tell the page is even reloading without a packet sniffer. I'll have a donut. Throw in a helping of web services, runtimes supporting RPC/RMI/SOAP/Flavor of the Week on the clients and we have one fat little piggy. I'm just waiting for this little piggy to stick its finger down its throat and upchuck all over the porcelain. Watch the industry trend back to thin. Lightweight so it can run on both mobile devices and on your big ol' 1KW dual graphics card tower of power. You can already see it with Microsoft slimming down/splintering the .NET runtimes, Java annotations reducing the time it takes to develop names queries/local and remote interfaces, etc. So either join Weight Watchers or load up on crisps but just make up your mind. The yo-yoing is bad for my health.

    I'll get my coat. I'm off to get some lunch.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    designed for lightweight decoding - NOT

    Joe Garrett:>>VC-1 requires more processing to encode, but is designed for lightweight decoding.

    While the MSFT documentation does claim something like this, as usual the claim and the reality are rather different. I spent nearly 2 years porting and optimising VC1 decoding and I can assure you its far from lightweight unless you use low end profiles that skip all the compression improvement. The damn thing is almost designed to defeat decode acceleration and hardcoded for the limits of MMX/SSE.

    Why is VC1 in there? The only way MSFT make money of it is selling encoding software and services, they have a 5 year headstart on that business locked into Windows. Its just vendor lockin for a codec with nothing to offer over H264.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    *NOT* an advantage

    "You also get video and multimedia effects that are hard or impossible with pure HTML "

    No, No, No.

    What most web pages need is LESS effects, not more.

    Make them clearer, make them more concise, make them more comprehensive --- but above all, do NOT make them more ANNOYING.

    If you can't do it with plain HTML (and without using unnecessary annoyances like blink or marquee which should never have been part of the specification anyway) -- then DON'T DO IT.

  68. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    Typical M$

    Does anyone remember Word or Excel for UNIX?

    Support for SL on anything but Windows will be like that.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @*NOT* and advantage

    "What most web pages need is LESS effects, not more"

    I agree with that. Especially the word "most". Some web pages do need more than you can offer with just markup and script.

    What a lot of the people complaining about silverlight don't seem to mention is that the web is becoming more important as a platform for delivering applications, not just your traditional web pages. Fair enough, its not what it was designed for, but if its what people want, then you either give it to them, or you go out of business when someone else does. If you refuse to do something or use a certain tool just because it goes against your "morals" (and web standards), its not going to stop your competitors doing it, so it leaves you at a disadvantage.

    If you could all combine your efforts into making Joe Public NOT want to use a shiny web application with loads of stupid effects in it, then you might convince MS that silverlight was actually a bad idea. But, thats not going to happen. Which leaves Flash, Silverlight, or JavaFX. When JavaFX takes off (haha...yeah, right) I'll be happy to use it. Until that point, its gotta be Silverlight, because it makes so much more sense from a dev perspective than flash does.

  70. Kevin Bailey

    XUL will rule

    It's going to be a bit ironic but I see FireFox's XUL becoming the cross-platform solution. Just check out the FireFox FireFtp add-on for how it looks.

    From Wikipedia:

    'XUL relies on multiple existing web standards and technologies, including CSS, JavaScript, and DOM. Such reliance makes XUL relatively easy to learn for people with a background in web-programming and design.'

    It doesn't need to be installed as an add-on - just needs to use a browser based on Gecko. And lets face it - after using FF for months going back to IE is truly painful - once people switch they're not going to switch back.

    Just plonk some code on to a page and you're off.

    <?xml version="1.0"?>

    <?xml-stylesheet href="chrome://global/skin/" type="text/css"?>

    <window id="vbox example" title="Example"

    xmlns="http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul">

    <vbox>

    <button id="yes" label="Yes"/>

    <button id="no" label="No"/>

    <button id="maybe" label="Maybe"/>

    </vbox>

    </window>

  71. Stu
    Thumb Up

    I love it

    At work, we use .NET for all our internal systems. It's so much easier to make (and lock down) a rich web application using Silverlight than it is with HTML/JS. We can reuse our existing .NET libraries, easily connect up to our existing Web Services, and we don't have to worry about users buggering about with their browsers which might affect the "flow" of the application. It's allowed us to rapidly (like, in a matter of weeks) provide some of our partners with functionality to connect to our systems in a controlled manner, without the development team having to cope with the learning curve of Flash, and without us having to incur the cost of professional Flash development software.

    I've got nothing against Flash, but IMO it's not designed for "applications" - more for games, video, and simple tools. Silverlight wins hands down in this space as far as existing .NET houses are concerned, and that's where it will start to dominate. I *hope* that MS look to properly support Mac and Linux, and suspect that they will (eventually) do so. They'll be shooting themselves in the foot big-time otherwise.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "HD videos require more processing power"

    Does that include the same kind of tamper-proof end to end DRM allegedly enforced by Vista, or does Silverlight (and, heaven forbid, an open-source version of Silverlight) drive coach and horses through the MPAA's beloved DRM?

  73. Eddie Johnson
    Stop

    Same Shite Different Division

    Can I just point out that 10 years ago we were told the web browser was the layer that would equalize all the different hardware and OS's so we would have write-once-run-anywhere code.

    Today it should be obvious to everyone that failed to happen and is not getting any closer. That said, what makes you think stacking yet another layer on this house of cards will have any better results?

    All the browser gave us was yet another layer of incompatibility. I go to web sites today with Firefox 2 and they bitch at me and tell me Navigator 4 from about 10 years ago, is the minimum requirement. Now I need a flash layer, a Java layer, a Silverlight layer and undoubtedly each has its own incompatible versions. Java wants to update about once a week. Flash wants to update about twice a month. Undoubtedly Silverlight will introduce Patch Thursday. On Tuesday you reboot your computer to install the ill named "hotfixes", on Thursday you'll reboot again because for some idiotic reason MS chose to incorporate the browser "layer" into the OS so you can't even update your Silverlight DLL's without another reboot.

    Who else thinks Silverlight sounds like the OOXML of code?

  74. Geoffrey Swenson

    Silverlight vs Flash

    Flash may have been around for longer, but it really is not much fun to work with. Adobe / Macromedia have never been very good at writing good programming tools and languages. Flash has too many metaphors too deeply tied to its animation heritage.

    Silverlight may be late to the game, but it is so much better conceived than Flash, not just for animation, but as an application development environment. Those that think that Silverlight is too "flashy" (lower-case) for the Web are deeply mistaken as it will make possible fully interactive apps that web pages cannot do very well.

    HTML was originally created to display hypertext. So many elmements of HTML forms programming are extremely annoying to work with. HTML was created ad hoc and by committee, with too many very smart but unexperienced young programmers making bad decisions that now bedevil us 15 years later.

    Silverlight is a way to deploy distributed applications that have a much more robust programming model. The current betas are very promising.

    But that said, I sure do agree with one of the 10 cons of Silverlight programming -- the use of both Expression Blend and Visual Studio to write apps. Blend has a rather geewhiz but not exactly friendly interface, and Visual Studio currently cannot handle some of the code produced by Blend.

    The documentation of the Beta is way out of synch with the current implementation, so finding out how to do anything is a chore. One of the most attractive features of Silverlight is the ability to create visual templates for controls completely disconnected from the application logic is not yet fully realized because the tools are so broken.

    But it looks so promising if they get it all working.

  75. Neil Stansbury

    Woo hoo

    XAML & Silverlight, these don't at all sound like XUL: http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/The_Joy_of_XUL

    ...and XPCOM: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/library/co-xpcom.html

    10 years later.

    Cricky, this Microsoft bunch are really innovative.

  76. Blain Hamon
    Dead Vulture

    Re: iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone

    Apple doesn't allow Java or Flash now. SilverLight's got a snowball's chance. But even if it wasn't for the politics, it'd be unlikely. It's well known that the iPhone uses an OpenGL ES (Read: Competitor to ActiveX) chipset and an ARM chip at about 600 Mhz. Silverlight would be unusable, even if.

    > ...now if it was all mobiles then that would be more of an issue...

    Googling about, I find a "SilverLight for Mobile," which I am guessing is akin to Flash Lite, but they couldn't bring themselves to say "SilverLightLite." Given how slow SilverLight was on TomatoQueen's Dell, do you think they'd have a full-fledged SilverLight on a 2-300Mhz mobile device? I highly doubt it.

    So that'd mean all mobiles will be unable to run SilverLight full, not just the iPhone.

    Full Disclosure: I make an iPhone app, but all the information here is publicly known.

  77. Stu
    Flame

    @Blain Hamon

    "do you think they'd have a full-fledged SilverLight on a 2-300Mhz mobile device? I highly doubt it.

    So that'd mean all mobiles will be unable to run SilverLight full, not just the iPhone"

    Well, as Silverlight uses a subset of the .NET Framework, and your 2-300MHz Windows Mobile devices are more than capable of running .NET Compact Framework (another more weighty subset of the .NET Framework) applications, I suspect they won't have anywhere near the problem you're suggesting...

  78. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    I don't mind Microsoft developing standards...

    actually I do mind. They are not really 'standards'. Just a way of taking over control. Windows may be one of the biggest computer success stories because it's a standard, but the Internet and the Web are far bigger and they are open standards. Silverlight might be another Windows success but it won't be another HTML type success.

    If SVG is an open standard that can do Flash and Silverlight type things then that's what we should be using.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    The Silverlight logo looks like a thong in a washing machine...

    But is that a pro or a con?

  80. Steve
    Flame

    small?!

    "a small download of about 4MB"

    Who the hell thinks 4MB is small? 32K is small. 100K is middling. 4MB even before you get the actual web page itself is fscking *enormous*.

    That's the flash mentality, and it's going to kill the web for anything useful. Yesterday I tried to look up some info on new cars. Ford and Opel websites are nothing but 100% solid flash. I have a 34MBit/s network link and a multi-GHz desktop, and I still gave up after screenfuls of "loading......." followed by useless animated crap. It is actually easier and much more pleasant to drive to the garage and pick up a paper brochure which contains REAL INFORMATION". Not very environmentally friendly, though...

    Can't we set the environazis onto these people?

  81. Geoffrey Swenson

    4MB is for the Plugin, silly

    The plugin is 4 megs. Not the page itself. Just like widely used standards like Adobe Acrobat, Flash, or even Java, you only have to download this once, so it won't prevent this from being widely adopted.

    The page / applicatoin itself can be much smaller.

    You also misunderstand that SIverlight goes way beyond animation, even though it does that very well -- and provides an extremely robust distributed application development platform, which it does WAY better than Flash.

    Or even HTML.

    The extremely practical programming model means that Silverlight isn't going to just be used for vanity high graphics content interfaces like Flash... I expect that we will see hundreds of dynamic, easy-to-use, highly professional applications.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @People who think SVG is an alternative

    What the fuck are you talking about? Yeah, SVG is a great format for Scalable Vector Graphics, but in what way does it provide anything like the functionality Silverlight or, to a lesser extent Flash, offer? How, for example, would you make an SVG file in which you can drag and drop various elements, or have a data grid with dynamic sortable columns in, etc?

    Fucking retards

  83. Mike Borozdin
    Stop

    Don't agree with some points

    >Silverlight is late to the game.

    No! Silverlight isn't yet another Flash. Flash was made for multimedia, while the Silverlight market is rich Internet applications.

    >The design tools are Expression Blend and Expression Design

    >- but who uses them? The design world uses Adobe PhotoShop.

    Once again. Silverlight is not for fancy graphics, it is for rich user experience.

    >Silverlight is a browser-only solution

    Yes, but have you ever heard about WPF? Silverlight its younger browser. WPF uses XAML as well, so it won't take much time to port your web app to desktop and vice versa.

  84. Ilgaz Öcal
    Thumb Down

    You have been tricked by Icaza/MS

    Right now, people having Moonlight had the first issue.

    They couldn't watch Olympics on NBC because it was Silverlight 2 based.

    Same people can't enjoy any "big name" NET 3.x software because Mono either doesn't support it or it is not practically the same thing as Java "write once" philosophy.

    If you ask MS, they will say they support windows media on Mac too. The fact is, Windows Media player for Mac, actual version is DEAD, it is a security and system stability hazard and performance killer on Intel macs.

    I wanted to give an example of how big liar can MS be when they advertise their products multi platform (!) ability.

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