Podcast: Can Silverlight be the Flash killer?

Podcast: Can Silverlight be the Flash killer?

Summary: I put forward the question to semi-regular visitor on here, Dan Wood, who's appeared in a post or two and a podcast some months ago. With Silverlight being pushed out by Microsoft every way possible, with links on every Microsoft web page and in Windows Live Essentials, it's like they are desperate for the world to see it.


I put forward the question to semi-regular visitor on here, Dan Wood, who's appeared in a post or two and a podcast some months ago. With Silverlight being pushed out by Microsoft every way possible, with links on every Microsoft web page and in Windows Live Essentials, it's like they are desperate for the world to see it.

Silverlight logoHowever, Flash has been around for the last decade and has firmly gained the marketshare. For those who can develop on the Flash platform, will surely know it incredibly well by now, and almost every plugin for any website there is, Flash will most likely be involved somehow.

For the future of student developers, will Flash ever be overtaken by the Silverlight platform? Or is Microsoft just trying to pave their way in the online rich-media market? Let me know what you think.

[poll id=15]

Topics: Software Development, Browser, Microsoft

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  • Possible.

    I think it's possible, if Microsoft plays their cards right. It's gonna be a while until anybody really knows for sure, though.
  • RE: Podcast: Can Silverlight be the Flash killer?

    MS should get a version running on the iPhone, an area where
    Flash still doesn't happen and they might have a chance.
    • Its Apple who is stopping both.

      Given that both Flash and Silverlight support OS X, both could be working on the iPhone in short order.

      But Apple wants complete control of the platform, and is preventing it.
  • I'd rather see an open source solution. (nt)

    • Expanding: I'd really prefer a standard solution.

      What do ECMAscript, HTML 5 + DOM 3 and SVG miss that Flash and/or Silverlight can do?

      Answer: nothing. Apart from bad/slow/incomplete/nonstandard/missing support inside Internet Explorer.

      Some SVG+JS games run impressively fast and well in Firefox 3.1 and/or Chrome, or even Opera. HTML 5 will support canvas, video and sound.
      Mitch 74
  • pushed out in every *non-anti-competitive* way possible

    As long as the US or EU thinks Windows is a "monopoly", you'll never see Silverlight shipped with IE or Windows...
    • Yeah...

      ...and then it'll show up with the first windows update. HA!
  • It will happen in SilverLight 3.0 or 4.0

    It's inevitable b/c it's a war of platform and M$ gets development and Adobe doesn't.
  • Quite possible

    All Microsoft has to do is to make Silverlight hit
    critical mass. Once you don't cut out a large segment
    of users by requiring Silverlight, it is indeed a
    viable alternative. MS "gets" development, tools,
    programming languages, base libraries and support
    through articles, demos, etc. It is one of their core
    strengths, one which has bought them success more than
    once. SL could easily become the more robust and
    productive platform to develop for.

    Office 14 could become a very strong driver for
    Silverlight adoption. Once users wants cloud access
    they'll need the SL plugin. Many enterprises will
    consider allowing this.

    BTW, Silverlight has a stellar security record.

    However, I don't believe it to be a Flash "killer".
    They can easily coexist. If the average browser with
    "addons" is anything to judge by, most users won't
    mind installing yet another plugin if there is some
    kind of perceived benefit.
  • Open source, please

    Why should we be dependent upon either Adobe or Microsoft?
    • Because...

      Because nobody else seems to be able to come up with anything better. OSS certainly isn't doing anything worthwhile.
    • Open Source Silverlight...

      There are open source versions of Silverlight available such as "Moonlight" but these are so you can run Silverlight content on non-windows OS.

      I think we're a long way from seeing a Open Source solution to compete against Flash or Silverlight.
  • Its all about the IDE

    You see, most students learn quicker on .NET and microsoft's IDE's, which everybody knows smokes everything else out there.

    After being an open source guy for so long, I got tired of:
    - Searching endless forums for answers to questions
    - Dealing with poor or little documentation
    - Dealing with inexplicable behavior that I had to either fix myself or wait on someone else to fix
    - Not always being able to go to a single place to get answers
    - using second-rate IDE's that were either too slow, both too expensive AND slow

    When I fired up Visual Studio for the first time it took me all but 10 minutes to figure out how to write my first web service. After firing up Expression2 for the first time, I wrote my first silverlight animation in 5 minutes. Flash, took about 30 minutes.

    Bottom line, MS might have its issues, but they make it WAY easier to do more than any other technology out there. And with the ease of integrating silverlight apps with deep services infrastructures, its seems like a no brainer to say that these guys are focusing on who counts: the developers, and in the long run, they will decide how the market responds.
  • Flash 10 = super buggy

    Flash 10 is very very buggy.

    When I watch videos on YT it hangs each 30 or 60 secs, even the the whole video is already fully loaded on buffer.
    • Rubbish

      Gradius 2. Please consider the facts about whats going on before blaming a platform so casually. A computer is not "white goods" and just "works properly" all the time, its a "big house of cards".

      Whats more likely is that is caused by a combination of any or all the following factors, your network connection quality, amount of background running apps on your machine eating into your CPU. It could even be the way the developer for the YouTube video player has configured the buffering to work or not work ; )

      The same mistakes could be made in any media playing technology or platform! Its not "Flash" that is buggy, its down to the implementation.
  • Silverlight 2.0's great development platform

    Silverlight 2.0 has a fantastic development platform that Flash can't touch.

    In fact, one of the things I have always hated about Flash development is its terrible devlopment environment and the way it forces you to code one particular way -- using frames.

    Silverlight lets you get away from frames and keyframes, and go to time-based animations. Of course, if you love frames you can still do it too.

    The .NET framework has shown that Microsoft's master plan is working out the way it was intended, using some course corrections along the way.

    It's a great time to be a Microsoft developer. There are more new technologies than one person could possibly wrap their head around, yet as you explore each one, you see the same deep level of planning and thought went into it as the last one you looked at.
    • Find out the facts first....

      I wish people would find out about stuff before commenting - its really ignorant. Any Flash Developer worth his weight will tell you that since Flash MX 2004, Actionscript 2.0 has given us the ability to use or not use the framed approach to working.

      Animation frames are there for animators and creatives who don't understand programming if they want to do things quickly.

      Timelines are simple tools for video editing and easily understandable, as are layers for people who've used Photoshop. So I disagree - Flash is a tool for different types of users, from designers who like such things to heavyweight object orientated programmers who never use "frames". Consequently, its very flexible in approach unlike many other development environments that force you to use one approach all the time, so decisions can be made about the best approach for a project rather than being dictatorial.

      That is its power, and its appeal, not to mention its massive user and developer community, and cutting edge technologies added regularly with each Flash Player release. Its usage in across the web and multi-platform compatibility speaks volumes itself.

      I guarantee you any good Flash Developer could beat a Microsoft developer hands down in creating any rich media app, in terms of speed of build, quality, looks, interactivity and robustness.

      I won't mention the fact it will run on anything too not just IE with a certain Dot Net Library or Silverlight Plugin and Vista. Give up on Silverlight, its a non starter and will never be taken seriously, just like most other stuff Microsoft attempts and implements badly.
      • Well....

        [i]"I won't mention the fact it will run on anything too not just IE with a certain Dot Net Library or Silverlight Plugin and Vista. Give up on Silverlight, its a non starter and will never be taken seriously, just like most other stuff Microsoft attempts and implements badly."[/i]

        SliverLight is stuck on Windows Vista and IE only? I guess I imagined it running on Windows XP, Windows 7 and in Firefox. Oh it is also running on the Mac with Safari, those bastards Microsoft making SilverLight cross-platform!

        Since you are here defending Flash, SilverLight sounds like a real threat to you. Which means SilverLight has started and is taken seriously.

        Also... [i]"cutting edge technologies added regularly with each Flash Player release"[/i] ...Flash was in hiatus for a long long time took Adobe years to do anything compelling to Flash (Dev & Player). But now that Adobe has competition against Flash they are finally doing something! So SilverLight is not being taken seriously huh?

        Did you even research SilverLight? It sounds like you didn't.
  • RE: Podcast: Can Silverlight be the Flash killer?

    For any tech to advance, people need to stop re-inventing the wheel,

    Microsoft missed the boat and should give up and stick to OS development, they're years behind in multimedia terms.

    Silverlight is a tool for programmers who can't get their head around graphic layouts and animation.

    For any serious applications in any big industry skills become specialised. A single tool that does everything is "jack of all trades, master of none".

    No serious software house is ever going to get a programmer to design the packaging for a product, so there is no need for Microsoft to try dangling a carrot to all dot Net heads to make them think they can do the same, nobody has time to become an expert at everything!

    Of course there is also the anti-competitive approach Microsoft has been accused of by forcing users to use their tech by default, e.g. Internet Explorer v Netscape, and many other examples - has everyone forgot about this already?

    Silverlight is yet another example of Microsoft stealing other people's ideas and implementing them badly - de-polarizing current efforts.

    Think about HD video on the web, and how Macromedia and Adobe have changed the entire playfield by broadening scope - if most developers had started listening to microsoft's strategies, we wouldn't even had YouTube for years yet!

    I think its yet another bullying tech monopoly approach by Microsoft to force everyone to start installing it by default. Apple did the same thing recently using Quicktime to install Safari. Needless to say I now use VLC amd uninstalled it.

    Until Silverlight apps run on a broad platform of different OS's and be as broadly installed across millions of machines, no multimedia developer is ever going to take it seriously. Don't bother with it unless you're into .NET and used to working on your own and can't be bothered spending a little time using a far better multimedia platform.
  • RE: Podcast: Can Silverlight be the Flash killer?

    Silverlight will get adopted by .NET/Windows platform developers that are rolling IT/enterprise apps and want to deliver as RIA web app.

    Flash/Flex will be used for that too, but will also dominate as the consumer RIA web app technology choice. Flex is more accessible to web developers that may be using non .NET development tools and languages (PHP/Ruby/Java) as Adobe has opened up AMF and hence pretty much anything can be used to code the server-side for a Flex app.

    Plus the designers all use Adobe tools and those tools have great support for generating .swf files can developers can take for skinning, CSS, scalable vector art from Illustrator, etc.

    For anyone working in the consumer facing space of the web Adobe Flex is a far superior choice over Silverlight.