by Morgan McCollough
Silverlight is a relatively new technology from Microsoft that offers some of the same features as Adobe Flash, including multimedia, graphics, and interactivity in a Web context. It is distributed as a browser plug-in that provides a single run-time environment that can be used across multiple browsers in much the same way that Flash can be.
Some might question why Microsoft would go to the trouble of writing its own version of a tool that has become nearly ubiquitous across the Web. The obvious answer is that Microsoft is once again attempting to use its monopolistic power to gain control over yet another sector of the market–which would make sense, given Microsoft’s latest attempts to increase its footprint in various sectors of the Internet market. However, there is another, less obvious answer.
Recent developments seem to suggest that Microsoft is not really pushing Silverlight as a complete replacement for Adobe Flash. While it is true that Silverlight can serve the same purpose in terms of supporting multimedia-intensive websites, e.g. Netflix, it seems that Microsoft is putting more focus on the technology as a Web application development platform.
While an alternative to Flash that isn’t as buggy or won’t cause as many browser crashes is a welcome addition to the Web technology space, Silverlight actually offers quite a few more possibilities as an application development platform. In this sense, Silverlight is more on par with the Adobe Flex framework.
As they often do, Microsoft has done a pretty decent job of integrating support for Silverlight application development into its suite of Visual Studio development tools. With the release of Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight offers a very viable option for companies looking to develop client-server applications that are easily distributable over the Web.
Links to more information about Silverlight….