back to article Get started with Silverlight

There has been much hype and more than a little confusion during the last year or so surrounding Microsoft Silverlight. Is it a Flash killer? Is it a designer tool or a developer tool? Surely it's for streaming videos? Is it a cross platform, browser-based version of Microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR)? Microsoft will go …


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  1. Adam


    Glad someone was able to clear up up what silverlight is supposed to be. It was rather foggy to me before.

    May be they could have came up with a more relavent name like ConfusionSusan or BleedingEdgeDud or HDDVDSilverNuts

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of windows media but there's going to need to be a big pr campaign with content developers for them to start producing content with this windows media killer.

    You should have seen how they tried to explain it at last years NAB, it definately left alot of people puzzled to say the least, especially when their computers kept crashing at the demo.


  2. wobbly1

    Still not convinced

    it's worth dumping the intellectual investment in actionscript/flash. Where is the killer feature or is that still "coming soon"? If the highly available high speed hosting stays free, maybe, but watch Balmer monetize that...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The mist clears ... slightly

    Thanks for the explanation, Rob. I went onto the MS stand at the International Broadcasters' Conference trying to get more information on Silverlight, and you managed to explain it a whole lot better than MS could themselves.

    The thing that puzzles me is this: given that MS never does anything without a commercial reason ... why Silverlight? What sales will it make? What competition will it kill? As far as I can see, there's nothing that will tie SL exclusively to a particular MS product.

    I suppose the other question is, can we expect an Open Source version (presumably from the aftermarket, not from MS) any time soon? And does MS have the IPR tied so tight that this would be impossible?

  4. Robert Hill

    Why the confusion???

    This is a very simple existing class of application, and it could have easily been understood if they had simply titled it by what it is supposed to be:

    MS Shockwave/Cold Fusion-Killer. With hosting.

    Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?


  5. ryan
    Black Helicopters

    i might be being a mong but...

    ...isn't this just a MS implementation of SVG?

  6. John
    Paris Hilton

    looks cool...

    but call me when it supports Opera

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty impressive

    I agree that Silverlight is very exciting stuff. XAML is so powerful and expressive that we should see some really interesting things being done here.

    I'd be very interested in knowing how they fit the CLR and all the WPF XAML stuff into a 2mb download. I think a trip to MSDN is required.

    I'm expecting a catch somewhere here.... it is Microsoft, after all.

  8. Antoinette Lacroix


    The word RIA alone makes me sick. All we're going to get is more ads, more bling, longer loading times and less information.

    My rule of thumb: If the site isn't viewable with Lynx, it's propably worth nothing.

  9. Rafael
    Thumb Down


    The phrase "it's an exciting and important new technology that could help to change the way we build Web applications" scares me in many levels.

    Whenever I read this I guess that the only people that are going to be really, really excited are writers and publishers. Expect an onslaught of titles on this exciting, new technology soon.

    What about Linux browsers? Will need to download runtimes too?

  10. Bemi Faison

    Fool's Silver

    @ryan - yes, it seems very much like SVG, from the excellent example in Rob's excellent article. I fear though that if the XAML used becomes more verbose (ie, transparent), Silverlight would convince a lot of SVG fanbois (myself included) to switch over.

    SVG is already media-crippled and (not without a lot of overhead) can only simulate 3D environments. Regrettably Mozilla and Safari have forked their implementations and the technology has idled for years. Successfully inserting video via XML?! Touche MS, touche...

    My only hope is that developers will see how wack MS's CLR is, and how that's their lock-in to their larger development suite. Silverlight simply extends the MS CLR to the web (again, like .NET did to servers, and JScript tried on browsers), but this time via very attractive, open-sourcey XML and JavaScript syntax.

    I'm not fooled. I'm not trading open standards for convenient proprietary frameworks. I'm not interested in any plug-in engine. Yes, Adobe flash ain't free, but it's self-contained, it's own beast, and doesn't have a long string tied to MS hq. Besides, I'd rather do rich applications via one flash file, instead of four extra/exposed files and syntaxes.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to have an insane scheme to kill MySpace.....

    ...but Microsoft did it even better.

    I'm so pleased about how gratuitously this will be misused. It'll be even more obnoxious than flash and javascript combined. It'll make the blink tag look quaint and unobtrusive.

    Incidentally, Firefox support? Firefox on Darwin running on a 64-bit sparc?

  12. Dan Higham
    Thumb Up

    Mono alternative

    @Anonymous -- re: firefox on various open OSs. There is a mono project to support Silverlight (called Moonlight!) applications which I believe includes a plugin that supports any Moz based browser ...

    I actually think that the Silverlight project holds some promise as it should make creating media rich content a little more accessible for the design challenged like myself. However, as many people have already mentioned there are still far too many sites filled with completely pointless chaff! What did Jakob Nielson say? "Flash, it's 99% bad!"

    My hope for Silverlight is much the same as any other multimedia-centric technology, that its used to add value rather than just for the sake of it.

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