10 reasons to love Silverlight and 10 reasons to hate it

10 reasons to love Silverlight and 10 reasons to hate it

Summary: Update: I found out that this is the second most hated post on ZDNet in the past 90 days. That's an impressive and dubious honor and it was a wakeup call not to do posts like this.


Update: I found out that this is the second most hated post on ZDNet in the past 90 days. That's an impressive and dubious honor and it was a wakeup call not to do posts like this. I think Tim's post is awesome, but next time I won't link without substance and I'll use a better title.

I won't add much commentary to Tim's excellent post up on the Register because I work for Adobe and I don't want to get into a bunch of nonsensical arguments about Flash versus Silverlight. But I will say that Tim Anderson is one of the very few tech journalists who really, really gets the RIA space. He knows all of the technologies from the major companies and how they're meant to be used.

The last one in Tim's hate list is the one that kills me: You have to develop on Windows. This is particularly a problem for the Expression design tools, since designers have a disproportionately high number of Macs. I know Microsoft sells Windows and that's how they make money, but I've been doing some C# development lately and it really sucks to have to go into VMWare to load up my development environment. If anyone has any good tips on doing C# development on a Mac, let me know. Mono seems halfway there but I haven't found a great tooling option yet.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Software, Software Development, Windows

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  • VMWare sux?

    How about being content you don't have to maintain a second machine...

    • RE: VMWare sux?

      VMWare itself doesn't suck - it works really well, I just don't like having to boot into it to do development. Going into full screen mode helps a bit, but it still doesn't run as snappily as I'm used to.

  • really bad story

    must be a slow news day... they blog about a blog....

    wow did zdnet ever go down hill.
    • RE: really bad story

      It is a slow news day for me. But I thought it was one of the better breakdowns I'd seen and I'm also fishing for .NET/Mac hints.

  • Reason number 11 to love Silverlight


  • RE: 10 reasons to love Silverlight and 10 reasons to hate it

    Since you won't join in a nonsensical argument, I thought I would ;).

    I think he was right on with a few things, but mostly misguided in general.

    "The design tools are Expression Blend and Expression Design - but who uses them? The design world uses Adobe PhotoShop"

    Ok, I can understand the statement with Expression Design...But not Blend. ANYONE that makes a *great* UI in WPF, uses Blend...even developers. Blend is a UI designer (Like Interface Builder) and not really graphic design app.

    "While having solution compatibility between Expression Blend and Visual Studio sounds good, it???s actually a hassle having to use two separate tools, especially when there are niggling incompatibilities, as in the current beta."

    There have been many debates with "Blend should be in Visual Studio" vs "Blend should be its own app!" The reason its a different app is make the boundary of Designer/Developer event more clear. I do think Visual Studio could use a "Blend Lite"...The current state of "Cider" is very bad.

    "No support for the popular H.264 video codec. Instead hi-def video for Silverlight must be in VC-1, which is less common"

    The popularity of VC-1 vs H.264 is debatable. Instead of throwing out facts I made up on the spot, I'll say that Microsoft has a lot of customers that have invested heavily in WMV1, WMV2 and WMV3 (VC-1) and they wanted a more compatible way to deliver their media investment. On this, Microsoft came through.

    "It???s another effort to promote proprietary technology rather than open standards."

    Very true, but would we have YouTube with only open standards? Did we forget about SVG? I sure did. Honestly, I see very few technology innovations come from open standards. But I do see open standards adopting proprietary innovations (e.g. Ajax).

    "Yes Linux will be supported via Moonlight, but when? It seems likely that the Linux implementation will always lag behind the Windows and Mac releases."

    Yes Linux is the bastard child that is often forgotten. It's a sad state. I'm surprised MS is even playing nice.

    "Silverlight supports SOAP web services, or REST provided you don???t use PUT or DELETE, but doesn???t have an optimized binary protocol like Adobe???s ActionScript Message Format (AMF), which likely means slower performance in some scenarios."

    Forget about SL's support for sockets? I agree that it would be nice if it came with a protocol out of the box, but an "AMF" is possible with the SL runtimes today.

    "Silverlight is a browser-only solution, whereas Flash can be deployed for the desktop using Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR). Having said that, yes I have seen this."

    Can't argue here. SL is only officially supported in the browser. But seeing some demos some associates have made, really shows how possible it is to move SL to the desktop.

  • Fix your damn Flash

    Its pathetic Adobe Flash; its the only damn Application on the Mac which can make a whole web browser crash. For god sake, do something about it - I'd sooner use Silverlight than the crap that Adobe puts out.
  • RE: 10 reasons to love Silverlight and 10 reasons to hate it

    What's the point to have a mac? how many freaks are there in the world?
    • Only one in this thread <nt>

  • Redirect title?

    I came here to read the 10 good and 10 bad reasons. Instead I found a blogger's two-paragraph rant. And a link to *someone else's* list of reasons. Please title your articles/blogs appropriately!! That was misleading, ZDN!!!
    • RE: Redirect title?

      Yup, I'll do that next time. I was kind of in a hurry and didn't stop to think about the title.

  • RE: 10 reasons to love Silverlight and 10 reasons to hate it

    I can be a journalist too? If I link to other peoples work?

  • Are you sure?

    Are you sure you "have to develop on windows"? You said (as did the register) that the design tool is Microsoft's Expression line of products. However here:


    in the system requirements for Expression studio it says it runs on OS X 10.4 or later.
  • A rule of thumb to live by...

    If it comes from Microsoft, run. Find the alternative and use it.
    • I'll second that!

      And further, you'll end up with a better product/design/system in the end by NOT using their stuff.

      When you use MS-only technologies, you lose, even when you think you've won.

      At the top of the risk actualization tree is the branch everyone developing with Microsoft tools falls off of: millions of companies built for NT, rebuilt for 2000, revised for 2003/XP, now face rebuilds for the 2008 Server/Vista combination -and can look forward to throwing away any successes they achieve in this process just as soon as Microsoft gets whatever they want to sell next out the door.

      In contrast, non-Microsoft development tools I have worked with since the late 1980s have generally proven automatically upgradeable to new technologies. All you need to do is stick to standards and steer clear of all things that are Microsoft-only.

      • You stick with those '80s tools sonny...

        When you finally move out of Mom's basement and actually have to earn a living for yourself -- you'll discover the value of having skills in 'mainstream' products.

        These anti-Microsoft rants just kill me! :)
        Marty R. Milette
  • RE: 10 reasons to love Silverlight and 10 reasons to hate it

    It's another proprietary closed standard by the company that owns the idea of the idea of computing.

    Thats the only reason I need to hate it.
  • Dissapointed

    Ryan, I've been an avid follower of both your personal & ZDNet blog and it dissapoints me to see the immense drop of quality in your recents posts.
  • RE: 10 reasons Silverlight Vs Adobe

    Blatantly the Redmond gang understandably want to shore
    up their patch and creating a wunderkid that favours
    windows is a good strategy - but far too late - the world is
    going open source like a rocket. Meanwhile, swift kick up
    the butt for Adobe. It is leaving itself wide open by bloating
    Adobe to the point where it often causes slow downs or
    crashes in Mac or Windows. It is a new bloatware and
    memory hog. Fix it guys or let the Macromedia legacy team
    take over the firm.
  • 22 votes, 22 minuses

    Just a little note: Everyone who read this article so far, dinged it.