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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Silverlight - What's your take?

    Hello,

    So, Silverlight has been out for a while now. I haven't had a chance to take it for a test drive yet, so before I do I want to see if anyone else has opinions on it? Is it worth learning? Is it a Microsoft-produced Flash or does it have it's own merits which make it stand out?

    Also, how is support for it? Are there plugins for all the major browsers yet? And, does if have any kind of auto-install like Flash?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I tried it out a couple of weeks back and didn't really like it. Personally, I think Wordpress does a better job and "much" quicker, not to mention it has many more plugins and better supported.

    Silverlight just seemed to complex and bloated for my liking.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot
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    cybermatic, actually is really small. Impressive for what it can do.

    samanime, you can try silverlight.net, they have some videos at "learn" section, and some awesome demo sites.

    "Silverlight vs. Flash
    The most successful browser plug-in is Adobe Flash, which is installed on over 90 percent of the
    world’s web browsers. Flash has a long history that spans more than ten years, beginning as a
    straightforward tool for adding animated graphics and gradually evolving into a platform for developing
    interactive content.
    It’s perfectly reasonable for ASP.NET developers to extend their websites using Flash content.
    However, doing so requires a separate design tool, and a completely different programming language
    (ActionScript) and programming environment (Flex). Furthermore, there’s no straightforward way to
    generate Flash content user server-side .NET code, which means it’s difficult to integrate ASP.NET
    content and Flash content—instead, they exist in separate islands.

    There are some third-party solutions that help break down the barrier between ASP.NET and Flash. One
    example is the innovative SWFSource.NET (http://www.activehead.com/SWFSource.aspx), which provides a
    set of .NET classes that allow you to dynamically generate Flash (.swf) files. However, these tools work at a relatively
    low level. They fall far short of a full development platform.

    Silverlight aims to give .NET developers a better option for creating rich web content. Silverlight
    provides a browser plug-in with many similar features to Flash, but one that’s designed from the
    ground up for .NET. Silverlight natively supports the C# language and uses a range of .NET concepts.
    As a result, developers can write client-side code for Silverlight in the same language they use for
    server-side code (such as C# and VB), and use many of the same abstractions (including streams,
    controls, collections, generics, and LINQ).
    The Silverlight plug-in has an impressive list of features, some of which are shared in common
    with Flash, and some which are entirely new and even revolutionary. They include the following:

    Widespread browser support: It’s too early to tell how well the Silverlight browser works on
    different platforms. Currently, the beta builds of Silverlight 1.1 work on Windows Vista and
    Windows XP (in the PC universe) and OS X 10.4.8 or later (in the Mac world). The minimum
    browser versions that Silverlight 1.1 supports are Internet Explorer 6, Firefox 1.5.0.8, and
    Safari 2.0.4. Although Silverlight 1.1 doesn’t currently work on Linux, the Mono team is creating
    an open-source Linux implementation of Silverlight 1.0 and Silverlight 1.1. This project is
    known as Moonlight, and it’s being developed with key support from Microsoft. To learn
    more, visit http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight.

    Lightweight: In order to encourage adoption, Silverlight is installed with a small-size setup
    (about 4 MB) that’s easy to download. That allows it to provide an all-important “frictionless”
    setup experience, much like Flash (but quite different from Java).

    2D Drawing: Silverlight provides a rich model for 2D drawing. Best of all, the content you
    draw is defined as shapes and paths, so you can manipulate this content on the client side.
    You can even respond to events (like a mouse click on a portion of a graphic), which makes
    it easy to add interactivity to anything you draw.

    Animation: Silverlight has a time-based animation model that lets you define what should
    happen and how long it should take. The Silverlight plug-in handles the sticky details, like
    interpolating intermediary values and calculating the frame rate.

    Media: Silverlight provides playback of Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows Media
    Video (WMV7–9), MP3 audio, and VC-1 (which supports high-definition). You aren’t tied to
    the Windows Media Player ActiveX control or browser plug-in—instead, you can create any
    front-end you want, and you can even show video in full-screen mode. Microsoft also provides
    a free companion hosting service (at http://silverlight.live.com) that gives you
    4 GB of space to store media files.

    The CLR: Most impressively, Silverlight includes a scaled-down version of the CLR, complete
    with an essential set of core classes, a garbage collector, a JIT (just-in-time) compiler,
    support for generics, and so on. In many cases, developers can take code written for the full
    .NET CLR and use it in a Silverlight application with only moderate changes.

    Web service interaction: Silverlight applications can call old-style ASP.NET web services
    (.asmx) or WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) web services. They can also send
    manually created XML requests over HTTP."

    And that's just Silverlight 1.1. Wait to see the next releases

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thanks. that's a pretty thorough review. So, for .NET developers, it is definitely the way to go. It also seems to have some other handy uses as well. While I'm not a .NET developer (at least for the web), it seems that it may be worth a try if I get some time.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    reads the ********* Crier silver trophybronze trophy longneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee85 View Post
    Media: Silverlight provides playback of Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows Media
    Video (WMV7–9), MP3 audio, and VC-1 (which supports high-definition). You aren’t tied to
    the Windows Media Player ActiveX control or browser plug-in—instead, you can create any
    front-end you want, and you can even show video in full-screen mode.
    if silverlight gains widespread adoption, this feature right here has the potential kill Flash-based players for sites like youtube, especially if there is even a small reduction in bandwidth consumption and higher quality video.
    Check out our new Industry News forum!
    Keep up-to-date with the latest SP news in the Community Crier

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  6. #6
    Is Still Alive silver trophybronze trophy RetroNetro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cybermatic View Post
    I tried it out a couple of weeks back and didn't really like it. Personally, I think Wordpress does a better job and "much" quicker, not to mention it has many more plugins and better supported.

    Silverlight just seemed to complex and bloated for my liking.
    What do Silverlight and Wordpress have in common other than are both meant for use on teh web.

    I thought Silverlight was a tool to create RIAs and animated websites?

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist Jhorra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPartch View Post
    What do Silverlight and Wordpress have in common other than are both meant for use on teh web.

    I thought Silverlight was a tool to create RIAs and animated websites?
    They have nothing in common. I think he must be confusing Silverlight with something else.

  8. #8
    Is Still Alive silver trophybronze trophy RetroNetro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhorra View Post
    They have nothing in common. I think he must be confusing Silverlight with something else.
    I think you might be right.


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