Microsoft Silverlight

05/02/07 :: by moquito

Let’s pay attention to this. Anything released that Michael Arrington says makes “Flash/Flex look like a bicycle next to a Ferrari” has got my attention.  

Why Silverlight Is Important Posted: 01 May 2007 06:24 PM GMT-06:00
The announcements around Microsoft’s new Silverlight platform yesterday were important to anyone who is thinking about where the web will evolve. For those of us watching the demos at the Mix conference the immediate importance of it was apparent - Silverlight will be the platform of choice for developers who build rich Internet applications. It makes Flash/Flex look like an absolute toy. After the keynote, the main topic of conversation in the hallways centered on just how effectively Microsoft carried out its execution of Adobe.
We didn’t cover the news as it broke - I was on stage at Mix and Nik Cubrilovic was denied a press pass due to a mixup and got in very late. There was a lot of early coverage but mostly from journalists who hadn’t been properly briefed on it or who rushed to post quickly. In preparation for the Mix Q&A, Nik and I had well over 10 hours of briefing on Silverlight, with very senior Microsoft employees (Ray Ozzie, Scott Guthrie, Charles Fitzgerlad) as well as members of the product team that actually build Silverlight (Keith Smith and Brian Goldfarb). Nik wrote a very long post yesterday afternoon on Silverlight, long after the initial news broke. From a pageview standpoint, the post was a loser for us. We would have been far better off doing a one-paragraph post at announcing the news, and by the time we wrote in the late afternoon the buzz had worn off somewhat. I’m glad we waited to write. Nik (a long-time developer) was most impressed by how small Silverlight is (4 MB) and how fast it is (it blows away native Javascript routines - without exaggeration, Ajax looks like a bicycle next to a Ferrari when compared to Silverlight). The news today about Silverlight is significantly more thoughtful. Microsoft-hater Steve Gillmor gives it a thumbs up and says “the engineering behind this is stunning.” Robert Scoble, who’s angry at Microsoft for not giving him a free pass to the Mix event, says “Microsoft “rebooted the Web” yesterday.” The list goes on.If you are a developer or an entrepreneur, take a look at Silverlight, download some of the sample applications, and take the time to understand how it can affect your product. Our overview post is here, and our podcast interview with the product manager who built it is here.

Some of the most interesting new web applications will be built on this platform.

5 Responses to “Microsoft Silverlight”

  1. brocksteady Says:

    Thanks microsoft fanboy. Funniest line: “Microsoft ‘rebooted the web’.”
    2nd funniest line: “It makes Flash/Flex look like an absolute toy”…

    Uh. Okaaaayy.? Flash powers over 75% of all internet video. And who is excited about this besides .NET developers? For a lot of users installing Silverlight is just going to be another barrier to viewing media on the web—and won’t it be yet another ActiveX security issue? Flash Player is already on more than 98% of users’ desktops and v9 is on over 80%. It will take years before MS has anywhere close to that market penetration.


    CS3+Flash is a lock for any creative web designer because of Flash’s seamless integration with Photoshop and Illustrator. The hype says Silverlight is a Flash killer, but most Flash users are creatives who don’t use .NET or care about Microsoft’s assorted crap. MS has a long way to go especially since AS3 and Flex are going to be open source.

    But I’m glad you’re excited about it.

  2. brocksteady Says:

    I also can’t believe you would take Michael Arrington’s word on this as God’s. He was almost certainly paid to post this by MS and has lost a ton of cred with a lot of people.

  3. moquito Says:

    If die hard Microsoft enemies are this excited about it - it must be something. All Microsoft has to do is embed this functionality into IE, and they have 85% of the browser market covered. How’s that for penetration?

  4. brocksteady Says:

    To clarify, the only “excitement” generated was that no one can believe that Arrington is hyping Silvershite so much. It has nothing to do with “enemies” of MS, but everything to do with bewilderment of an overhyped plugin.

    If you looked into it, you would discover:

    1. After crashing Safari with the download, I got it to install and watched the demo on the microsoft site. And guess what? It looks like poorly encoded web video. I’ve seen better encodes from flash video 5 times the pixel dimensions and 2 versions ago. I would give it up for SL if it was impressive, but how can you make insane generalizations that it’s blowing Flash away when a 300pxl wide video looks like crap?

    2. Did you watch any of the demos from the conference? Uh okay, so they created a video player? I didn’t see one thing that Flash couldn’t do—and dozens of things Flash does that SL doesn’t, so how is that making it look like it’s on training wheels?! I’m glad to offer up a full list of what Flash offers that SL doesn’t upon request.

    3. Silverlight is a windows only closed development platform so it certainly won’t be adopted by creatives. Flash was made great by creatives, not strictly developers. SL also doesn’t have Linux support which is a big downer to the developer community they’re trying to reach out to. The best web studios are a no-Microsoft zone.

    4. They’re claiming cross-browser support, but MS is the laughing stock of the web world when it comes to cross-platform updates (IE/mac anyone?!) And have you ever tried downloading the latest WMV player on a Mac? It redirects you to download Flip4Mac which converts your WMV files to Quicktime. How can they make something so good to “reboot” all the web if they couldn’t even make IE7 support XHTML and CSS standards or WMV play on Safari?


    I’m sure SL has it’s place somewhere, but insane claims from TechCrunch without proof/merit are what I (and the entire web community) are contesting. It’s pointless to blindly follow what Arrington throws out there from within the microsoft bubble.

  5. Patrick Says:

    Reboot the web eh?

    I’d like to see that. Then again, I would also like to see Microsoft make some improvements in CSS and JavaScript support in IE that other browsers managed to make years ago.

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