Poll: Flash or Silverlight?

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The theme for the latest episode of the SitePoint Podcast was the pros and cons of web application development and deployment on rich media platforms like Flash and Silverlight.

A lot of people believe that desktop applications are migrating to the cloud and the computing experience of the future will be one in which we interact with programs that are actually running and storing our data elsewhere. Adobe and Microsoft, with Flash and Silverlight respectively, are among the leading candidates to provide the development platform on which many of these next generation rich Internet applications will be built.

However, even though adoption of Silverlight has been good, and Microsoft claims that some version of their 20-month-old technology is installed on 25% of web connected computers, that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to Flash. Flash is near ubiquitous, and Adobe claims its install base is over 98% of web connected computers — or about 4 times larger than Microsoft’s install based for Silverlight.

Still, Microsoft is actually innovating quite rapidly with Silverlight, with plans to release version 3 of the RIA technology next year. And because of Microsoft’s strength in the enterprise, they’ve been able to score a large number over high profile deployments for Silverlight over the past couple of years. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Flash and Silverlight could be on more equal footing when it comes to user reach by the end of 2009.

Last week on Hacker News someone posed an interesting hypothetical. If Silverlight had the same install base as Flash, which would you use? We’d love to hear your responses, so vote in our poll and let us know in the comments why you voted the way you did.

[poll id="11"]

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  • Steve

    FLEX

  • Dougal Matthews

    Well, I voted Silverlight. I ignored the bottom two choices as I found them to be poor. Of course it depends on the project and of course in some projects you wouldn’t use either. Going into a project thinking I must use Flash or Silverlight would be ridiculous. However, assuming i need the type of features they offer I would choose Silverlight.

    I’ve never been a fan of Flash development tools – they feel more like they are for designer type people than developers. Visual studio etc. on the other hand feels better. Also, support for Python (via IronPython) is very cool in Silverlight

  • http://altoonadesign.com halfasleeps

    I’ve never been a fan of Flash development tools – they feel more like they are for designer type people than developers. Visual studio etc. on the other hand feels better.

    That is where Flex comes in.

    I choose Flash as I have been using it for about 7 years and actionscript is the first programming language I ever learned. I have never used silverlight for that main reason, I feel so comfortable with flash, and in my opinion flash just keeps getting better, so I feel no need to consider silverlight.

  • Tarh

    Neither. As a user, I already block both.

  • http://dotancohen.com dotancohen

    I would go with Flash as it has, and will have for the foreseeable future, the best cross-platform support. About half the people I know now use Ubuntu or some other Linux variant (and a few Mac users). At his point looking myself into a single-platform technology (or a technology designed to promote a single platform) would be ridiculous.

    Note that I am aware of third-party efforts to ‘port’ silverlight to Linux. No, thanks. Just look at how far gnash, the open source flash player, has gotten. I would only consider technologies with a strong backing from the developers on all platforms, and Adobe is doing that.

  • fishball

    From a developer point of view, if you are already familiar with flash, flash platform will be a natural progression and vice versa. However if you are just starting over, Silverlight is a very compelling choice. Silverlight with C# alone is way better a language than ActionScript specially in the enterprise (not to mention that you can use VB, Ruby and Phyton as well) and not to forget the possibilities of having a slimmed down .net running in the browser.

    I’m not really worried that flash has a larger install base even if Silverlight won’t be able to catch up with the numbers. Worries will come from the Flash developers side, specially when Silverlight 3 comes out. And it will be Flash who will be playing catch-up technology wise.

  • honeymonster

    @dotancohen: Silverlight is supported by Microsoft on Windows and Mac OS/X Intel. On Linux etc. there is th open source Moonlight. So it is far from a “single platform”. Microsoft has even agreed to provide codecs (otherwise a sour spot for Linux users) free for Moonlight users if they download the codecs directly from Microsoft (i.e. Moonlight cannot package the codecs but can provide a direct download link). This is because codecs include patented algoriths which MS have had to license from 3rd parties. Moonlight is being developed mainly by Novell engineers as part of the open source Mono project (.NET on Linux, Solaris etc). Microsoft has agreed to provide Mono developers with direct access to MS engineers for technical questions and access to several crucial test suites.

    Even though ActionScript has come a long way, C# is IMO hands down a better language. Add to that the big subset of the .NET library which will be available to the front-end developer and you have a very compelling platform. Also, F# looks increasingly interesting; especially the declarative style should fit well with front-end development.

    MS needs to better align XAML for WPF and Silverlight, though. I’m a little dissapointed that they *still* introduce concepts in one branch (e.g. “states” in Silverlight) without extending WPF with the same feature as well. Personally I would also like to see MS engineers helping Moonlight a little more actively and especially help Moonlight reach SL2 parity soon.

  • Bogdan Popa

    Silverlight any time. Mostly because I think ActionScript is just gross and C# is effin great :).

  • http://www.athanne.com StylizE

    Ill go with Flash

  • Edgar

    I did a project in Flex at my previous job, and now I’m working on a project in Silverlight. I have to say that I’m just falling in love with Silverlight. There were so many things that were difficult to do in Flex that is so much more easy to do in Silverlight. Of course it helps that my background is C#, and in both projects we are integrating into an ASP.NET back end. I still can’t get over how incredibly powerful WPF is, and the .NET libraries that are available to you in Silverlight are very impressive, more so than what is available in Flex. I would say that so far I’ve noticed Silverlight has the following advantages over Flex.
    1) In many cases it is easier to get Silverlight controls to look exactly the way you want them to in Silverlight as opposed to Flex.
    2) Localization in Silverlight is a breeze as it harnesses .NET’s resource files. Flex 2 doesn’t support localization, and Flex 3’s support doesn’t seem nearly as robust.
    3) WCF is much easier to use than Flex’s AMF. Silverlight automatically generates strongly typed proxies for calling into the Web Server, Flex relies on dynamically typed classes that can be prone to programming errors.
    4) The .NET library that comes with Silverlight is already more powerful than ActionScript’s library.
    5) Silverlight allows the use of more powerful languages such as C# and Visual Basic. These languages already have support for Generics, and a declarative syntax called Linq. If you don’t like those languages that’s fine, Silverlight also allows you to develop in Python, Ruby, or Javascript. In Flex you have to use ActionScript.

    That being said I did notice that manipulating the scroll bar is easier to do in Flex. This may seem like a small thing, but I actually consider it a big win for Flex. On a side note I love both technologies, I just only prefer Silverlight, so far…

  • Pax

    Easily Flash. Silverlight is a Microsoft technology. This is a company that develops technology when forced to and then abandons it or lets it bloat or drags its’ feet on security issues or makes promises about cross-platform usage but doesn’t fully deliver or closes it to select OSes or forces vendors to make choices. 30+ years of the same cr*p from this company.

    Let them come to the table with something fully developed and functional before pushing it as any kind of solution. They lost the right a long time ago to be taken seriously about anything.

  • Dan

    @Steve: FLEX runs in flash player moron.

  • Dan
  • Vance Dubberly

    Isn’t it bad enough we have to deal with IE? For god sake why would we even think about letting MS have control of anything else on the web?

  • http://www.mikeborozdin.com/ Mike Borozdin

    For a .NET developer it’s a natural choice to go with Silverlight. I must admit I don’t have much experience with Flash, but Silverlight looks really great, so it must attact not only .NET developers, but any developers who want to get a stable and robust tool.

  • http://fcOnTheWeb.com ferrari_chris

    I chose Flash because at the moment it’s my chosen tool.

    Admittedly, I haven’t developed anything with Silverlight, but from what I’ve seen: Flash is better on the visual side of things.

    Silverlight may have the upper hand from the functionality point-of-view and the things it can do, but I think Flash still has the goods when it comes to pretty animations and smooth transitions and things like that.

    I do need to have a good development session with Silverlight to come to a more considered opinion, but this is where I stand at the moment.

  • WEBUSER

    flash, fo sho…neva been a fan of microsoft and i try to avoid installing any product developed by ms.
    maybe some of their products are not bad, but there is always that ms factor…
    and when micorsoft uses (or used) flash for the presentation site for silverlight its clear which
    technology is making the race…

  • http://www.mikeborozdin.com/ Mike Borozdin

    WEBUSER,

    It’s your own mind, you can hate Microsoft. But the company does work and do it well and many people are enjoying their products.

  • crag

    IMHO, the biggest advantage Silverlight has over Flex (Flash) is language support. Currently you can use any .Net lang (C#, AP, F#, C++) or python or ruby with Silverlight. Flash has ActionScript. ActionScript can not compare with python or ruby or c#.

    The biggest disadvantage is, you are tired to the MS platform for development and hosting. .Net is ONLY available under IIS which only runs on Windows. But I think you can use Silverlight without .Net. So… maybe.

    Frankly, Adobe should be worried. ActionScript doesn’t exist in the corporate world. And Curl is king in Enterprise now. And MS is in every IT shop.

    Right now I see Flex as the “consumer” RIA – the one we use to write video players and IM chat clients. But when it comes to accounting apps, or corporate systems Flex will have a hard time. And since not many outside of corporate can afford to pay Adobe prices for it’s software- good luck. Most companies are members of MSDN it will be even cheaper for them to use Silverlight. Like FREE. And lets not forget about Curl. Which is huge in Enterprise (Curl is what Silverlight will be up against in Enterprise – not Flex). And then there’s the folks who will go the Java route. Adobe is no where on Linux (neither is MS) but others are, like Curl. Adobe is on Mac though. Thank god someone is. But Companies don’t use Mac’s.

    It’s just a matter of time till Adobe feels the pain.

    But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Flex. It depends on the job. I just wish Abode would drop this ActionScript-ing crap. And deal in the real world.

  • Tariq Ahmed

    @Edgar: A lot of your concerns hopefully will be addressed in Flex 4. They totally redo how skinning is done.

    @All: From the end users perspective, they wouldn’t notice a massive difference. All they care is that it works well. And that can be achieved in both Silverlight and Flex.

    The amount of Flash Player installs is a distinct advantage in the sense that end users are familiar with what it is, but they’re also familiar with Microsoft. So if a web site was asking the user to install the Silverlight player – could they be bothered to do so? If the site provided a compelling enough service, sure.

    @Crag: I don’t agree that Flex is a consumer oriented RIA technology. Most Flex applications are internal business applications. Tools to support business processes by leveraging the out of the box components that come with the Flex framework/SDK (datagrids, trees, etc…). But apps created directly in Flash, I agree tend to be public facing as the experience are so super custom that it’s hardcore design oriented Flash folks behind it.

    The Flex Framework/SDK is opensource and free. The IDE is not – however the IDE is based on the free Eclipse (the IDE is a plugin to Eclipse).

    Flash Player 10 is available on Linux & Solaris. 64 bit versions of the player are available as well.

    There’s also a Visual Studio plugin for Flex development in the works, as well as a .NET bridge in the upcoming Flex 4.

    But ya, if you’re a .NET person the biggest compelling advantage of Silverlight is that you’re able to leverage an existing code base, and existing skills. Play to your strengths.

  • Lavinco

    Your stats are off. how can Adobe Flash reach 98%, and Silverlight 25%? Wouldn’t Silverlight be 2%?

  • crag

    @Tariq: I agree that Flex is standard now. But I don’t see it 2 years from now. There are millions (and I’m not kidding) of .Net developers. That’s huge. RIA’s are just now getting steam.

    I agree that Flash’s installed base is an advantage. Right now.

    Is Flex/Flash gonna go away? Of course not. Is it a good investment to learn/buy Flex now? I think it is. But if you us any MS developer product you are better off with Silverlight.

    Adobe needs to do a few things to make Flex compelling enough to not use VS/Blend on Windows. As you pointed out, they are for version 4. You mentioned a hook into .net. Does that mean support of .Net langs or just the libraries?

    By the way, the plugin to Eclipse only works well on Windows. Does not work at all on Linux. On Linux MS (.Net) has an open source project called Mono. But with Silverlight you can roll your own too. using Python or ruby. Right now, Silverlight 2 (except for the Flash plugin base) is easier to pick up and easier to use (unless you know ActionScript). Flex/Flash is easier to install.

    I see Flex and MS sort of what RealBasic -vs- VB is now. RB is good, better in some ways – but RB is always luring VB programmers away. It’s never the other way around.

    Microsoft is throwing a lot behind this. It’s at the base of their cloud model. If anyone ignores it, I remind them of the Netscape battle. I hope Adobe remembers. Cause good fierce competition is good for us all.

  • Dunno

    Honeymonster said:
    Personally I would also like to see MS engineers helping Moonlight a little more actively and especially help Moonlight reach SL2 parity soon.

    ==================
    MS Silverlight engineers can’t touch open source codes, so I bet they can help testing Moonlight and answer questions. But that’s it. Moonlight codes are close source for these guys. You can imagine what they can help and what they can’t.

  • Dunno

    WEBUSER Says:
    and when micorsoft uses (or used) flash for the presentation site for silverlight its clear which
    technology is making the race…
    ============================
    You forgot two thing. First, it takes time to deploy a new technology. A Microsoft site might have a roadmap 2 or 3 years ago to use Flash before SL plans are announced. Second, SL has a spririt of cross-platform and cross-browser, so for MS Windows and IE, SL don’t give them special treatment, and SL dont need special treatment from other MS team. SL will work to prove its superiority than Flash.

  • http://www.mikeborozdin.com/ Mike Borozdin

    @Lavinco,

    Nothing prevents you from installing both Silverligt and Flash, that’s why one can have them all.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. And both will be in play for years.

  • crag

    Agreed. And both will be in play for years to come.

  • Sean

    Personally, I avoid Flash as much as possible and Silverlight completely. Both companies have been responsible for some really nasty abuses of high market share.

    I use Flash for YouTube and other online video sites and that’s about it. I find navigating Flash only sites to be a really unpleasant experience mainly due to the lack of mouse wheel scrolling and other gotchas.

    Silverlight I’m going to avoid for as long as I can. Microsoft might be offering some support to non-MS platforms at the moment but if they get control of the RIA market I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if that support dried up.

    The same could be said for Adobe. Until Microsoft spurred them on with Silverlight their support of either Linux or Mac platforms was really very poor. That coupled with the way they are happy to price gouge customers based solely on whether they’re American or not makes me really not want to have anything to do with their products. They just happen to own certain markets…. :(

    So for me RIA means Ajax, GoogleGears, H264 and other open standards. Hopefully we’ll still have access to some nice tools to develop in.

    Sean.

  • bkozora

    In my opinion developing with Silverlight compromises the fundamental interoperability of the internet. True, there’s the Open Source project Moonlight but I feel any technology that isn’t completely supported for the widest range of users and OS’s is a mistake and detrimental to what we should strive to achieve as web professionals.

  • fishball

    Give Silverlight a break, it’s not even 2 years old.

  • crag

    But Flex isn’t either. None of Adobe’s developer tools work on Linux. There’s an alpha of the Flex Eclipse plug-in but it’s trash nnd hasn’t been updated in over a year. All of Adobe software is closed sourced. And expensive. Sure the Flex Framework/SDK is open source and free. But so what? MS has done the same.

    All this talk about MS being the evil company when it’s taken Adobe YEARS to release anything into open source. For example, Arcobat wasn’t released until the government made it clear it would not standardize on a closed source format. You think Adobe suddenly got generous? LOL

    Adobe is no different then MS. Except that it writes more products for Mac then MS.

    Except for the Java, (and I’m not even sure about that) there is no truly open souce RIA development environment. I know, you gonna argue that I don’t need Flex. True. I don’t need VS to write for Silverlight either. But both MS and Adobe made it clear that using their IDE’s is a hell of a lot easier.

  • EastCoast

    There’s a lot of talk here from a developer perspective, which is all well and good but in reality it’s customers and their business requirements that choose the tech not some back room geeks with an allegiance to a certain tech stack. If you’re selling a customer a solution that has a poor chance of success due to low take up (i.e silverlight), just because it’ll make things easier for some programmer then I’d consider you’ve mis-sold the solution to the client and are heading for trouble. Have a look at blog.sharendipity.com for some interesting posts on why they shifted 60k lines of code from java to actionscript in flex if you need another perspective on this.

    I’d consider using silverlight if there was demand for it, and had any real winning technological advantages (I’ve yet to see any end use case that can only be implemented in silverlight), in reality we haven’t ever had any enquiry for it, never heard of any other agencies we work with ever mention it. We do get a lot of enquiries for flash, there is proven demand for it.

    There is neither customer awareness or demand for it directly from business customers, or from upstream design and marketing agencies who you would expect to be prime candidates to use it. I’d find it hard to justify its use to a client in so much that their return on investment would be poorer (far lower end user acceptance and use) without offering any technical advantages to the end user to offset this.

    Our in house .NET programmer uses flash for rich media devices and has never put forward a case for using silverlight in any application which says it all really.

  • bkozora

    Flash Player is officially supported from Adobe for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris. There’s unofficial support for HP-UX. Silverlight is officially supported on Windows and Mac.

    The Flex Builder Linux alpha download was updated on 8/18/2008. It’s still an Eclipse plugin though.

  • crag

    The Silverlight player also runs on Windows, Mac and Linux (via Moonlight from Novel). The development environment is on Windows (but you can write to it from anywhere).

    Flex uses ActionScript. Silverlight uses C# or VB or Ruby or Python or F# (probably missing a few) – hell you can even mix-and-match langs.

    And give me a break about Flash on Linux. Adobe has considered Linux the bitch OS for years. Maybe now they’ll get off their seats and do something. Ain’t competition grand?

    @EastCoast: Doesn’t surprise me your in-house IT guy uses Flash. I still use Flash. But the original question was, if Flash and Silverlight were at the same exposure level which would you use. We’ll find out soon enough I suppose.

    Gonna be fun to watch. And like I said before, we stand to reap all the benefits. ;) As Abode, Curl and MS (and Java) try and out-do each other. Be fun.

  • fishball

    @EastCoast Says: Our in house .NET programmer uses flash for rich media devices and has never put forward a case for using silverlight in any application which says it all really.

    This link will shed some light on whose using Silverlight –

  • fishball
  • Dunno

    EastCoast Says:
    I’d consider using silverlight if there was demand for it, and had any real winning technological advantages (I’ve yet to see any end use case that can only be implemented in silverlight), in reality we haven’t ever had any enquiry for it, never heard of any other agencies we work with ever mention it. We do get a lot of enquiries for flash, there is proven demand for it.
    =========================
    As a matter of fact, probably there won’t be demand for Silverlight for a few months, a few years, and who knows.

    But the same can be said when Firefox was born, when Google Chrome was born. There is already an IE and Opera and Safari, and there is no need for a new player. Everything can be handled by these three.

    If you can understand why having Firefox and Chrome is a good thing, then you can understand why having Silverlight is a good thing no matter how great how perfect Flash/Flex is.

    As a user no matter how much you hate M$, if you can support Silverlight to make it a valid challenger to Flash, that make Flash keep improving, and everyone benefits. Or you can stay with Flash. Nothing breaks and no need to fix. Then you take what Adobe wanna feed you.

  • crag

    @fishball: Thanks. Time to update me VS and take a look at Silverlight. I did last year when it was version 1. Look like much has changed.

  • EastCoast

    I agree that the existence of silverlight is a good thing (the perceived competition from it almost certainly sped up Adobe to integrate h264 into flash), and I’ve no doubt that the rapid pace of Microsoft developing it will also make sure Adobe try harder.

  • Dunno

    EastCoast Says:
    December 4th, 2008 at 8:26 am
    I agree that the existence of silverlight is a good thing (the perceived competition from it almost certainly sped up Adobe to integrate h264 into flash), and I’ve no doubt that the rapid pace of Microsoft developing it will also make sure Adobe try harder.
    =========
    Adobe wanna integrate h264 into flash, and you know Silverlight 3 is also gonna put h264 inside. Whose implementation is faster? Too bad. Adobe Flash user agreement bans you from profiling it, and the 2-year-old Silverlight follow suit. Do you wanna urge Adobe to remove this restriction so bloggers, engineers and researchers can indeed compare Flash h264 and Silverlight h264 side by side and publish their perf findings?

    People believing Flash is better than Silverlight shuold join force to ask Adobe for this challenge from MS.

  • fishball

    I’ve just seen a video of Flex Catalyst, though it seems it’s quite easy to alter the look of a particular Flex control like the button, it’s still quite limiting in terms of how far you could really changed the look and behaviour of a particular control. (This is my initial observation, i might be wrong)

    Contrast this to the flexibility of Silverlight’s control template model where in you could go to every nook and cranny of a particular control’s template and customize anything to your heart’s content. (as long as it makes sense)

    I think Silverlight wins in the look and feel customization category, hands down.

  • Craig

    Silverlight any time, in all my years of programming i have never had to use a language so poorly written as actionscript, sadly it is part of my job to write Flash applications but it is definitely a part that i would not miss at all if in the future silverlight became the thing to use. As a developer with a background in writing in C and basic going back into the 80’s i am dismayed at how hard that simple tasks are to complete in AS. Ironically my other pet hate language of javascript is also needed everyday in my job and again it is poorly written.

    I noticed a few comments here about how you can do anything in flash, yes to a point, any programmer can do anything in any language, the issue is if the resulting code is well formed, fast and stable, sadly neither AS or js are because of the poor original language.

    If adobe dropped AS then i would be a lot happier to say i will use flash but until then i will be an advocate on using SilverLight.

  • Craig

    @EastCoast
    “There’s a lot of talk here from a developer perspective, which is all well and good but in reality it’s customers and their business requirements that choose the tech not some back room geeks with an allegiance to a certain tech stack.”

    Surely you do not believe that customers determine what language a RIA uses? most consumers know absolutely nothing about what language to write code in. I for one start with an idea then a few sketches, a graphics guy comes up with something which the site looks like and the code guys make it reality, i’ve had a few customers say they want a flash website, the reason being they know the buzzword, have seen flash sites and want something similar. That ultimately however does not mean that they ‘want’ a flash based site but that they want a site that is dynamic in the same way as flash is.

  • crag

    My only problem with Flex is ActionScript. It has one purpose, Flash. Useless anywhere else. Not so with Silverlight. So I don’t need to pick up yet another scripting language. I can use c#, or ruby or python (and so on) to write Silverlight. That’s a serious mistake on Adobe’s part.

    Now if Flex included Ruby or Python it would be a different story. But it doesn’t.

    It also boils down to trust. Who do I trust more not to screw me over, Adobe or Microsoft? A hard choice given the history of both companies. Say what you want of Microsoft, but they’ve treated their developer community VERY well over the years. Adobe hasn’t.

    What we need is a good open source RIA development system that is not Java. Something where you can choose almost any lang and no one has to wait at anyone’s table.

  • Jawbone

    There are new sites popping up with silverlight technology which looks very promissing. I found a new site which caters to consumer and professional video space with different product offering. They are using Silverlight and it looks pretty darn good. You can check it out at http://www.sleeng.com.

  • Lixin

    Action Script is a big problem of Flex. I don’t develop things in Flex/Flash but I did try to learn it. I have done so much work in Javascript that I can fully understand such similar feeling which is, I hate it!

    Someone would say Action Script 3. AS3 is something not good for either development or design. The designers investigated AS3 and finally they told me they were disappointed and decided to stay with AS2.

  • crag

    I agree. AS3 is terrible. We (the company I work for) looked at AS3. No one liked it. It’s a complete mess. And given a choice of AS or Ruby (with Silverlight) guess which we’ll pick?

    If Adobe wants to win this RIA “war” they better address their AS crap ASAP.

  • stevewebdev2005

    As for all this talk of superiority of the languages available to silverlight, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So MS fans, where is it. Show me the money.

    I’ve yet to see any silverlight stuff like what is posted _every day_ on thefwa.com (amazing the sites that can be done with such a ‘terrible’ language). Maybe it’s hiding somewhere, like video.msn.com, microsofts showcase video site .. which is using ..erm…ah.
    When AS3 came out, it’s new features were being used on high profile sites within 6 months, so SL’s youth is no longer an excuse for a conspicuous no show. Seems like me that silverlight is all talking the talk but not walking the walk. There is literally nothing to show that is impressive for all the technical prowess, it’s the sasquatch of the plugin world – talked about lots but never captured on film.
    Surely with all the productivity gains from programming in ruby/c#/python/vb this should mean there should be a cornucopia of fantastic sites and applications produced in silverlight. I mean all those armies of suited dotnet coders must find it extremely easy to turn away from producing spreadsheets, databases and forms and start producing intricate, aesthetic and innovative user experiences?
    The first reply in this blog is soooo on the money – whether silverlight uses this or that language doesn’t really matter, there may be lots of workaday dotnet programmers ready to produce a slightly glossier spreadsheet with their new toy, they’re unlikely to attract the true creatives and innovators that have historically never even glanced in microsofts direction.

  • Jasen

    Did you watch any of the 2008 Olympics?

    On the creative note, I think Silverlight might be the way Microsoft is approaching bringing the creative minds the develop all of the Games for Windows into it’s mainstream development processes…

  • Anonymous

    Head on over the Netflix. Silverlight is all over that site.

    As much as I like Silverlight I do have one huge issue – it’s development tools (Blend and VS 2008) are Windows only. Sure I can write the XML and, using IronRuby or IronPython, can write the “between” code. But it’s not the same as using Blend. I want native Mac tools. I want Blend on the Mac.

    Something I don’t get. Every geek I know either has or wants a Mac notebook. It’s the guy who works on spreadsheets that has a Windows notebook.

  • crag

    There is also a 4th (3rd being JavaFX) which we haven’t talked about much, Curl. Curl is big in Asia. And they are making a push for America.

    Their marketing people have been all over the enterprise market. They just sent me a beta of Nitro, Curl’s new IDE.

    Anyway, the 3 we are considering to use is Flex/AIR. Silverlight or Curl. All have pro’s and cons.

    For Flex it’s the learning curve. No one here knows AS. No one here wants to learn it either. ;) Also security + support are huge issues for Flex.

    Silverlight – having to install the plugin on every browser in the company is an issue. Not huge but adds to the overall cost of the project. And we’ve seen bugs in the Silverlight plugin on Firefox and on Mac (in general). Silverlight has some maturing to do. But the dev tools are excellent. But Windows only. We all have Mac noteboks and windows desktops. We want something for both.

    Curl. Runs well. Not cheap compared to Silverlight and Flex (the devs tools are, the runtime is another matter). Little to no Mac tools. And gui looks like an old Foxpro app from 1996. But Nitro is suppose to deal with this.

    Frankly I believe the whole RIA market has some maturing to do. Flash included. Flash mobile is a joke. And while I want to see good looking apps running on the company servers, function, security, stability and support are most important for us. We are willing to give up the look-n-feel for them. But why can’t we have both?

  • http://www.3grains.com dansergiu

    I fail to understand one thing…why is everybody comparing ruby with AS ? ActionScript is an ECMA Script. Javascript. That’s the one you should compare it with. And yes. It could be a nightmare programming in it. But it’s not bad. If you look at it more closely you can learn it just like you learned Javascript. It’s a client side script. Ruby or python are very comfortable for the developer, but are not exactly client side script languages. It is better to think at them as general scripting languages. They have been created with a purpose, and that is not to run client side scripts. In my opinion ruby is very well suited for server side scripting.

    What MS is doing with silverlight is very good for RIA business because it forces Adobe to make better platforms. But they’re not the same. SL attempts to transform a browser into what it is supposed to be it’s application client, while Adobe gives you AIR which is a true application, not a wanna be. I think we should start thinking about RIAs that are not run in a web browser, but rather are standalone applications with a very powerful backend internet connectivity.

    If we are to compare Flash vs SL i guess flash wins because it looks a lot better and is very friendly for designers(who mostly use it). Flex vs Silverlight, probably Silverlight because it integrates very well with .NET and that helps deploying good browser based RIAs.
    AIR/Flex vs Silverlight…well it’s not a fair comparison…MS doesn’t have a way to deploy desktop RIAs.

  • fishball

    stevewebdev2005 Says:

    As for all this talk of superiority of the languages available to silverlight, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So MS fans, where is it. Show me the money.

    I’ve yet to see any silverlight stuff like what is posted _every day_ on thefwa.com (amazing the sites that can be done with such a ‘terrible’ language). Maybe it’s hiding somewhere, like video.msn.com, microsofts showcase video site .. which is using ..erm…ah.

    Please check this out. This is a sample application which demonstrate what Silverlight can do as a RIA.

    http://www.mscui.net/PatientJourneyDemonstrator/

  • crag

    @dansergiu: yes ActionScript is that bad. No one likes witting JS and we all hate AS even more. Only those who haven’t been exposed to python or ruby (all the Flash geeks) would prefer actionscript.

    Adobe should’ve done better.

  • http://www.3grains.com dansergiu

    @crag: I love python, I program in it every day, there’s no question about that. It’s just that I don’t think it would fit as a scripting language for a MXML application.

    But yes, I agree with you on this matter: I would like Adobe to release a scripting language for Flash that has the python syntax and python’s robustness. ( I personally don’t like ruby because it’s really difficult to do elaborate things in it and it’s very slow. You can do in python what ruby has to offer with the right packages. I like ruby on rails, that’s an awesome platform for getting things done quickly but for day to day scripting, I use python )

  • http://www.3grains.com dansergiu

    @fishball: I tried to access that link, I’m on Ubuntu 8.04 with Firefox 3.0.3 . I need to install SL plugin, he sees that I am on a unix based system so he redirects em automatically to Moonlight. Very nice, I actually like that. I intall Moonlight, very easy, no problems there. But hey…your application requires SL 2, Moonlight is only SL 1 compatible. Darn. And I really wished to see that application. It looked really good in pictures. But now I have to uninstall Moonlight since my Firefox responds incredibly slow to everything I do since I installed ML. I uninstalled ML and now everything works at normal speed. So no, I will not install ML on a unix based system. Sorry, but SL only works on Windows based machines ( and actually it has issues with other browsers than IE ).

  • crag

    @dansergiu: Well that’s true. SL does have issues with every browser except IE. Of course.

    But it’s just a matter of time. SL 2 is like a month old. Hopefully MS will work these issues out. And doesn’t ignore them due to being none MS software. If MS does that then SL is dead. Even the .Net won’t use it if it doesn’t run on Firefox well. (which is why I think SL will be bug free very soon).

    Look, Adobe worse nightmare has come true. Finally. MS has noticed them. And is responding. Hopefully this will push Adobe into releasing product that do what their users want. Not what Adobe thinks you should want. Sometime Adobe is infamous for.

  • fishball

    Too bad Silverlight isn’t ready yet for Linux. But i believe Linux will never be ignored by Microsoft since Silverlight’s selling point is it’s platform and browser independence.

  • stevewebdev2005

    @fishball – nice link, a good example of an RIA.

    @Jansen – Yes I did watch the Olympics – on the BBC (flash). Silverlight has brought nothing new to video, h264 was on flash a year before, and popularised web video many years before that. I actually always liked windows media server and I guess now silverlight cures one of its failings (not being able to brand or redesign the embedded video player). It’s a catch-up feature though, it’s not setting any new ground.

    Google’s announcement of their new ‘native client’ technology into this space is interesting though from what I gather it’s a huge download.

  • silverlightVideo

    I like the silverlight player of http://www.sleeng.com, it have a nice silverlight control that post videos and content for professional and viewers. The web site seem promessing and have good infrastructure to stream content using all microsoft technologies end to end.