Microsoft released today the 1.0 version of its cross-platform rich-client platform, Silverlight. The company also announced an upcoming release for Linux.
In releasing version 1.0, Scott Guthrie, manager of Microsoft's developer tools division, noted that:
Silverlight is a cross platform, cross browser .NET plug-in that enables designers and developers to build rich media experiences and RIAs for browsers. The preview builds we released this week currently support Firefox, Safari and IE browsers on both the Mac and Windows...
Silverlight 1.0 is focused on enabling rich media scenarios in a browser.
Guthrie also listed Silverlight 1.0's main features, including:
Built-in codec support for playing VC-1 and WMV video, and MP3 and WMA audio within a browser. The VC-1 codex ... supports very efficiently playing high-quality, high definition video in the browser. It is a standards-based media format that is implemented in all HD-DVD and Blueray DVD players, and is supported by hundreds of millions of mobile devices, XBOX 360s, PlayStation 3s, and Windows Media Centers.
The ability to progressively download and play media content from any web-server. You can point Silverlight at any URL containing video/audio media content, and it will download it and enable you to play it within the browser. No special server software is required...
Supports built-in media streaming. ... Streaming brings some significant benefits in that: 1) it can improve the end-user's experience when they seek around in a large video stream, and 2) it can dramatically lower your bandwidth costs.
Makes it easy to build rich video player interactive experiences. You can blend together its media capabilities with the vector graphic support to create any type of media playing experience you want. Silverlight includes the ability to "go full screen" to create a completely immersive experience, as well as to overlay menus/content/controls/text directly on top of running video content (allowing you to enable DVD like experiences).
Silverlight is considered by many to be Microsoft's answer to Adobe's Flash. In commenting on the Silverlight 1.0 release, Adobe's Ted Patrick noted that:
It's great to have such a large company trying to compete with Adobe Flash Player... Silverlight forced Adobe to speed up existing plans and focus on broad adoption while adding great developer features in the runtime. Internally the gloves are off and teams are full speed ahead creating the next generation of RIA tools and runtimes.
Silverlight was a driving factor in creating "MovieStar" and pushing our H.264 adoption plans forward with full 720/1080p hardware scaling support. When "MovieStar" ships in the next few months, yes in 2007, it will support millions of existing H.264 video content by default without special streaming solutions or proprietary video codecs like Microsoft's VC1.
What do you think of Silverlight? Do you think it will successfully be able to compete with Flash Player?
It's good to see an Adobe employee taking the high road with regards to Silverlight.
What do you think of Silverlight? Do you think it will successfully be able to compete with Flash Player?f
Adobe has the market penetration and Microsoft has the better technology as well as the ability to push this out. If it was anybody else I would say no, but it's Microsoft. I still see it being a couple years before we consider it for our sites.
I'm waiting for Silverlight 1.1 with the mini-CLR, IronRuby, IronPython, etc..
> > For me, the most important property of Silverlight is > the > > easiness in programming rich interactive applications, > > especially the way bindings work (which save quite a > bit > > of coding). > > Thanks interesting. How is Silverlight's bindings better > than Flex's?
I don't know if they are better than Flex's semantically or syntactically, since Flex has quite a powerful mechanism for bindings, but with Silverlight, I can use any existing .NET components and thus save me a bit of coding. On the other hand, is ActionScript interoperable with anything else?