back to article Silverlight has serious side, says Microsoft

Scott Guthrie has been making a serious business pitch for Microsoft's browser-based media player rival to Adobe Systems' Flash. The corporate vice president of Microsoft's developer division has lobbied a Silicon Valley AJAX crowd to adopt yet another media player, when they are already comfortable with Adobe's Flash or have …


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  1. IGnatius T Foobar

    No one wants it this time

    No one is going to believe Microsoft's tired old charade again. Developers know that Mac and Linux users are always going to be second-class citizens when it comes to Silverlight, but with Flash they can count on true cross-platform support.

    The obvious truth is that Silverlight applications are not web applications ... they're Windows applications that happen to be delivered over the web. Microsoft uber alles -- again. We don't want to go there.

  2. aL

    the usual MS fud

    wow.. reg never ceases to amaze in their lack of objectivity when discussing things microsoft.. so, mr clarke cant get the page numbers to work the way hw wants in word so he takes it on him self to either misinterpret or flat out warp everything ms says.. lets get to it

    "ms is tryign to force "yet another" media player on..."

    ehm.. you mean ONE other besides flash? kind of like saying that linus is tryign to force "yet another" os on us.. Adobe has a monopoly on rias using a propriatary and non standardized language.. but i guess thats ok, as long as you're not microsoft

    "bla bla olny for the microsoft stack and ie"

    no not really.. microsoft has even sponsored the eclipse4SL project, no ms dev tools there. not to mention tht SL has been available for both FF and safari on both mac and PC since SL1 beta 1. windows only? nope..

    "you can only use c# or VB"

    no.. you can use any .net language, this includes ruby (with standard ruby libs) python, boo, f# or whatever.

    there are alot of things to flame microsoft for, but scott guthrie and silverlight are not among them. guthrie is one of the people who is changeing microsoft from the inside bringing more open source stuff in and reaching out to other communities (just last week they annonced native JQuery support in VS. with the unmodified MIT licence.)

  3. Roger Williams
    Gates Horns

    Monstra mihi pecuniam!

    A Microsoft VP making a pitch for a Microsoft product is hardly news.

    What _is_ noteworth is the massive amount of money Microsoft has been throwing at Silverlight development and promotion -- noteworthy because Guthrie has been rather coy about discussing Microsoft's revenue strategy for Silverlight.

    The only plausible revenue stream he's mentioned is self-created apps (presumably competing with Google apps and Adobe's AIR/Flex products). This certainly provides a way for Microsoft to infect open source environments with their products, without the problems (for them) of dealing directly with open source.

    The other plausible revenue stream is one achieved through propagation of the platform (e.g. the development tools are proprietary, and the only non-crippled versions are available only on Windows). However, it's a little hard to believe that's going to work for them this time.

    Regardless, either way sounds like a Bad Thing for end users. Silverlight: Do Not Want.

  4. Jodo Kast

    Long time developer in .NET and Flash

    I've done my share of online applications in .NET and also Flash. Flash is neat, because it can use whatever you got on the back-end (PHP or ASP or what have you). .NET is neat, because you don't have to worry about the browser aka Web Client... just add your InnerHTML.

    So I tried Silverlight many times, and no matter what PC I've used, no matter what browser, SL1 or SL2, I always get the same error "_gat not defined".

    If it's that unstable, I don't recommend it. It fails the Ease-Of-Use test.

  5. James Butler
    Thumb Down


    How do Silverlight or Flash relate to AJAX? As far as I can tell, there is no reason for either to be sending speakers to an AJAX conference, unless you count "they gave us lots of money" as a reason. It certainly doesn't speak well for the AJAXWorld organizers. Oh well. Lots of other conferences to send my people to.

  6. yeah, right.

    Serious side

    There is only one serious side to Microsoft: continue the lock in at all costs. Continue to lie, cheat, steal, bribe, corrupt and do anything and everything other than fix their damn products in order to continue their de-facto monopoly. Silverlight, Mono, MS XML - just the latest crap in their war on choice, value and quality.

    El Reg is far too easy on Microsoft these days.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    So, Linux is more cost effective

    So it has a better TCO because it is available for free, or as a free download, for Visual Studio and Eclipse? Well, that means that Linux has a better TCO than Windows, and Scott Guthrie has just proved it. They can't claim that one product has better TCO because it is a free download and then use a different method for other products TCO! That would be inconsistent.

    And because they have brought this up, does this mean we will soon be seeing the Get The Facts about Flash and Silverlight. Where are all the surveys!! We need them as we all believe them!!

  8. Steve Anderson


    My company works extensively in Flash. We use the Adobe Flex compiler (which is open source) to compile software programmed in FlashDevelop (open source) and use SWHX (an open source Flash container, written in the open source haXe language and compiled into open source Neko bytecode) if we want an executable file out the other side. When we need heavy-weight data manipulation in an installed program we have command-line PHP (open source) and SQLite (open source/public domain) at hand; if it's a web-based app we have PHP/MySQL/Ruby/Python/whatever in the background. From this we get things that run on Windows, OSX, Linux and mobile phones (bar the iPhone), on and offline, and our TCO is TINY.

    So there.

  9. Jerome

    Not this time, Microsoft

    I use .net at work for desktop application development, and sadly I find I really like it. C# is a great language, and the libraries are nicely put together. I'd like nothing more than to switch to C# for rich web content creation, and never have to look at that abomination ActionScript again.

    But there's absolutely no way I'm going to support Microsoft's efforts to gain a stranglehold on yet another aspect of the computing experience. If their tactics weren't clear enough before, the OOXML fiasco should have opened up everyone's eyes to just how much the guys in Redmond care about the consumer.

    If I created a Silverlight-based web site which persuaded even one visitor to install the run-time, I don't think I could live with myself.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    re: WTF?

    /How do Silverlight or Flash relate to AJAX? /

    AJAX - Using fancy Javascript to hurt the browser.

    Flash - Just hurting the browser

    Silverlight - Make the browser sequel like a piggy.

  11. breakfast

    Not used silverlight...

    I'm another who hasn't used silverlight but has used flash and the .net programming environments a whole lot. As a developer Silverlight simply has to be easier to use than ActionScript, which is rubbish, but the big appeal of flash is to designers and it is a pretty good vector tool that behaves in ways that make sense to their strangely twisted designer brains. In that respect Flash is mostly a design tool with a bit of programmability stuck in the back in case someone wants to turn a few cogs. I can't imagine Microsoft being able to create something that designers would be happy to work with, so from the direction that has given Flash it's biggest advantage I really don't know how MS are going to catch up.

    Honestly, I don't mind if they do - I really hate ActionScript and although it has gradually started to look like a programming language, the first few versions were just attrocious, filled with weird bugs and inexplicable behaviours.

  12. Stu

    Silverlight is what Flash should be

    Flash is pure evil. Trying to actually do anything "functional" in it is a bloody nightmare. Silverlight, by comparison, is a doddle to anyone who's done anything with .NET. Which is a hell of a lot of developers these days... Not to mention the potential for code reuse.

    I would hope, in my little naive mind, that Silverlight is eventually (i.e. within a year or so) made available to 99% of computer users, and gets adopted as the "Flash killer" it truly has the potential to be.

  13. E_Nigma

    I Guess that I'm in the other 75% then...

    No Silverlight here. No need for it as I am yet to find a page I want to see that requires it. MS's website and a Facebook app tried to convince me that I needed it, but failed.

    As for the commenter that claims that saying "yet another player" is somehow misleading as there really only is one other, I'm really not sure for how long has that Reg reader been using the Internet. Real Player is not as popular as it used to be (which is fine by me as I've always disliked it for some reason) but it's still there, Windows media player is used quite a bit for streamed content as well as Apple Quick Time, so I'd say that there definitely are a few players around (though I do agree that Flash and Silverlight can be used for a bit more than mere video streaming).

  14. Jnan Dash

    Reaction to Microsoft's TCO claims on Silverlight

    I was also listening to Scott Guthrie yesterday at AjaxWorld in San Jose. My first reaction to his claims of Silverlight TCO (in 1 of every 4 PC's, low TCO,...) was one of "here we go again, Microsoft's marketing claims moving faster than reality". Here are my reasons for saying so.

    Scott gave many demos on video streaming aspects of Silverlight - NBC Olympics, Democratic National Convention, etc. Much work has been done to provide efficient streaming and that's squarely aimed at fighting Flex's video capabilities. Then Scott said that Silverlight is also ready for business applications. The example he gave was a medical application of EKG charts and a 3-d view of a heart revolving around - nice eye candy. Mission critical business applications at Fortune 1000 companies deal with complex and high volume data, extreme performance, scalability, and serious security. Silverlight has a long way to go before they address such applications.

    The Curl RIA platform is deployed at 400 of the largest global customers doing such mission critical applications on the web. The shift is from the old client-server architectures of yesterday with very high cost (thanks to Microsoft's pricing of software on the desktop) to the client-centric web platform for enhanced user experience. We have many examples of drastic lowering of TCO. I gave a talk at the same forum with four such examples of serious TCO reduction. How we do it? We compile the code on the client via a JIT compiler to the metal of the hardware. We reduce round trips seriously, saving on server dollars plus many more tricks.

    Silverlight is targeting media-rich applications to fight Adobe's Flex dominance. Neither Microsoft nor Adobe (Flex nor AIR) have made inroads into serious large scale mission critical applications for the enterprise yet. It will be prudent to have real examples before the claims. Scott announced that Silverligh 2.0 is just out. We all know how good Release 1 was.

    It's time to take a look at Curl in this context.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @the usual MS fud

    "ehm.. you mean ONE other besides flash?"

    yes - another one. Windows media player - remember that one that somehow keeps coming up with new codecs or variations upon to catch linux developers on the back foot.

    And do you seriously think MS are going to make the effort to release a silverlight player for linux? Exactly. At least adobe make the effort (they may be lagging with an x86_64 version, but we can use the 32-bit version fine). Once again it'll be left to dedicated linux developers to start work (maybe it's already started) on an open source version gaglight. Geddit!

    If MS want to launch something into the truly multiplatform arena that is the internet then they should realise that it's truly incumbent on them to make whatever it is they launch multiplatform rather than aiming it at just windows and begrudgingly macs.

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