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Why Silverlight

    Question

  • I just don't understand what the fuss is.  From what I have seen the Silverlight applications can all be made with good old HTML5 and Javascript.  And because I know these technologies well, for me they can be made much easier and faster and available to a much wider audience.

    I was just looking at a new control in the showcase and was thinking that it would be so simple to make in html and javascript.  I just don't get it. Unless you are using the graphical aspects (like the demo of the rendering engine) I fail to really see the point of learning this technology.

    Should I even bother, what will it get me that I can't already do?

     

    Monday, February 08, 2010 5:42 PM

Answers

  • Here we go again in another one of those endless debates...
    I read the thread...
    Who's right... who's wrong... the point is if you feel at ease with one product
    more than another, or even use both then... let it be... that really won't stop the earth for turning...

    Sorry folks but I'm out... I've got more important things to care about
    for the time being... Business is business...
    Meanwhile...Have fun chatting...:)

    Monday, February 15, 2010 7:10 PM

All replies

  • I have to agree.

    I tend to watch a lot of sport and therefore have Sky Sports switched on via their website when I am working at weekends. One of the features offered by Sky was to watch Saturday Live via Silverlight instead of the normal Windows Media Player.

    I found no benefit from downloading Silverlight and using it instead of Windows Media Player and therefore as an end user did not see any improvement. I think I will be sticking with good old html and Javascript for my developments.

    Monday, February 08, 2010 6:13 PM
  • I don't want to go into every single detail on why (and when) Silverlight is a better choice than HTML5 + Javascript - there are towns of good and bad info on this on the net. But please let me bring up a few points since you were asking:

    • Yes, you can do a LOT of stuff with HTML5 + JS that Silverlight is good for. But HTML5 will only reach Candidate Recommendation status in 2012 - if Silverlight keeps the current pace, it will be at V7 by then.
    • HTML5 will only get you approximately what Silverlight had at V1.0. A Canvas element, some video playback capabilites, and a Javascript programming model. Can you imagine how further advanced Silverlight 4 is at the moment?
    • Actually, scratch that - the video quality and availability of HTML5 is a lot worse than what Silverlight has to offer. There is no DRM, no Smooth Streaming, not even full screen! No GPU acceleration either. Even the codec HTML5 has to support is not standardized! This results in Firefox 3.6 having only Theora decoder, and Youtube experimenting with HTML in H.264 (on the same day FF3.6 launched), only playable in approx. 4-5% of the world's browsers.
    • Internet Explorer is still the most widely used browser on the web, and does not have HTML5. Currently, there are more Silverlight capable browsers browsing the web than HTML5 compatible ones. I don't think that in the next 3 years you will be able to create an HTML5 app and hope that at least 50% of the world's population can view it without switching browsers. (and remember: installing a plugin is a lot less hassle than switching to a new browser!)
    • HTML5 will not be truly cross-browser standard for quite a long time, if ever. There are too many things that the browser developer can do as they wish - just think about the aforementioned video codec issue. There are too many little differences in each browser's Javascript implementation to make it really portable.
    • The developer story: nothing in the HTML + JS world comes close to the awesome Visual Studio and Expression Blend tools. Javascript is cool for small apps, but cannot hold a candle to C# when it comes to serious development. Fighting with browser and OS incompatilities takes up a huge amount of time for any HTML website or web app - with Silverlight you don't have this.
    • Just compare what the best HTML / Ajax company in the world (Google) did with maps, and what MS did to see the difference. Go to http://maps.google.com/ (watch out - the Streetview part is in Flash, not Ajax), and compare it to http://www.bing.com/maps/explore/. That is the difference I am talking about.

    This is just part of the pro-Silverlight story. Most of what I wrote applies to Flash as well, but this is a Silverlight forum :)

    Monday, February 08, 2010 6:31 PM
  • HTML 5 can stream H.264 video the best video around.  The iPhone uses HTML 5 playback so it has been adopted. Also try http://www.youtube.com/html5 and sign up.  You will need a web kit browser or Google Chrome but then all the vids on the site are H.264 and played with HTML 5.

    IE is most definitely not the most used browser.  Just looking at the plethora of web logs I see confirms that.  Nothing agenst IE, but its slow to adopt standards and hasn't to this day (as any web developer worth their salt can tell you).  The only reason IE has the market penetration is it is bundled with every Windows install (in Europe they were trying to get this removed).

    Show me an application that is ground breaking in Silverlight. I have been searching for a long time and haven't seen anything that's new and wonderful that tells me I must learn this new technology now.  Even the ComponentArt Silverlight components didn't wow me, they look like the HTML counterparts just a little slicker (and that could be added to the html ones)

    Google maps is awesome, bing maps is great too.  Do you need Silverlight, no.  I have used Bing maps long before I installed Silverlight.
    I actually prefer the non Silverlight version, you can't cut and paste, that a huge fail for Silverlight right there.

    The only good thing in version 1 or Silverlight, was the promise that you could bundle c# apps cross platform.


    Monday, February 08, 2010 7:00 PM
  • Silverlight (and Flash, for that matter) support adaptive streaming for a far better video experience. To date, I haven't seen this implemented at all in HTML5.

    When someone shows me an HTML5 page that can do everything here:

    http://www.ingebrigtsen.info/Silverlight/Balder/20100208/TestPage.html

    Without special plugins, etc, then I'll take more notice. So far I've seen some rudimentary drawing etc but nothing this complex because I suspect browser performance degrades significantly.

    I've yet to see a full-fledged Twitter, Facebook or other client written entire in HTML5. Why does this matter? Because it shows networking capabilities: i.e., reaching out to a third party service, easily discovering the signature of that service, pulling information from it, de-serializing that data into coherent business entities and then binding those for display and validation to the end user.

    What support does HTML5 have for animations? With Silverlight, I can simply provide a start, and end, and a duration, and we're off. I haven't seen this in HTML5 except through third-party libraries, which then makes me question how it is standard.

    HTML5 forces me into a single language. If I'm a Python or VB.NET or other user, so what? Forget it. For now, I've gotta learn JavaScript, and that's that. Silverlight is based on the CLR runtime. There is already support for languages like F#, C#, VB.Net, Python, etc. Support for other languages is possible because all that has to happen is a compiler that outputs intermediate language supported by Silverlight.

    I don't know about HTML5's support for sprites or graphic widgets. In other words, it's one thing to have a huge library of math to render points to a Canvas. In Silverlight, everything is abstracted as objects that can be overlaid and stacked or nested, and the rendering engine handles the ultimate output. This is one area I know is powerful in both WPF and Silverlight, I have no idea how or if it is supported in HTML5.

    Does HTML5 support data transactions? Data binding? I.e. can I take a list of widgets, point them to a control and render them? This is critical for business and enterprise applications, to have a clean model for transporting the data to the UI, abstracting those layers, and not having to write a huge block of code to support the interaction.

    Silverlight has webcam and microphone support. Last I checked, the notion of including this in HTML5 was still in flux with no resolution in immediate sight.Can HTML5 capture raw video/audio without server support? The only things I've seen alluding to this in the HTML5 world all came with the caveat, "A custom build of x browser is required" which means it's not part of the main, open spec that everyone is so excited about.

    How is HTML5's multi-touch support? I haven't quite seen anything in the standard that supports things like gestures which are rapidly becoming the input interface of choice.

    Finally, while I see people blasting IE8 for not having support of HTML5, there is no real support. People can talk around it all they want, but the fact is, Beta and VHS had a war, and BlueRay and High Definition formats had a war ... and, well, nothing is written in stone. It's fine that Google and FireFox are showing support for the HTML5 features but the spec won't be finaly until 2020 something ... that is years and years. So anything implemented now is based on a beta spec and not production. I'm assuming features will stabilize and perhaps the idea behind publishing features in browsers now is that it will force those areas of the spec to solidify but it's still very much in its infancy and a long ways away from being final.

    Where is your source that HTML5 is how the iPhone plays video? That's nowhere ... recognizing the video tag but then diverting it to a Quicktime player is not supporting HTML5. I can use Silverlight to scan a page, find a video tag, and play it ... that doesn't mean support. I could be wrong, but I don't believe iPhone supports HTML5, only playing direct videos it finds via the <VIDEO> tag.  

    I'd have to say with your component art example, that unless I'm completely blind, the Silverlight experience is far suprerior to the non-Silverlight one. Smoother animations, reflections, transparency, etc.

    The bottom line is I keep hearing, "Why not code to an open standard." My reply is, Silverlight is standard: standard for anyone who downloads the plugin. I understand it's not available on the iPhone or Linux, but last I checked, I didn't see much HTML5 on my iPhone, either. The fact that Silverlight is supported across Safari, FireFox, Chrome, and IE and creates a consistent experience, i.e. I can program everything the framework has available to me and know with confidence it will run correctly anywhere it is hosted by the plugin, means a lot for business critical applications. On the other hand, I can't do that with HTML5 yet. I still have to go to websites with matrixes that show the varying levels of support for HTML5 across browsers, which hardly makes for a standard experience. That will obviously change down the road, but I need to develop rich interactive applications now, not next year, so until HTML5 matures, it continues to be a speculative solution, not a practical, production-ready one.

    I have nothing against HTML5. I think it's great and look forward to tinkering with drawing and playing videos with it, and certainly understand sites mostly focused on media delivery probably have an option for adoption, but for what I've been doing the past year with rich, interactive business applications that communicate with remote sites over web services and then provide interactive dashboards and control mechanisms through an advanced user interface that has the look, feel, and performance responsiveness of a desktop application ... I have to stick with Silverlight, which works fine for users whether they are hitting the site with a a Mac or PC or using any number of browsers. (Again, sorry, I know Linux has been left behind, but I also just haven't had any demand for accessing these applications from Linux in the business world).

    Monday, February 08, 2010 7:10 PM
  • - HTML 5 can stream H.264 Video the best video there around.
    http://www.youtube.com/html5
    The iPhone uses HTML 5 playback.

    HTML5 was forced to remove any specific codec from the standard due to corporate politics. So, at this moment, the decision of what codecs to support for an "HTML5 compliant" browser for the video tag is up to the browser manufacturer. Yes, iPhone uses H.264 (baseline profile), and so does Chrome and Safari. But H.264 won't make it to Firefox in the near future, due to its closed nature and the fact that royalty must be paid for using it.

    - IE is most definitely not the most used browser.  Just looking at the plethora of web logs I see confirms that.  Nothing agenst IE, but its slow to adopt standards and hasn't to this day.  The only reason IE has  the market penetration is iut is bundled with every Windows install (in Europe they were trying to get this removed).

    IE is the most used browser according to http://www.statowl.com/web_browser_market_share.php. Yes, I agree with the reasons you list on why IE sucks or how MS is using Windows to spread IE, but that does not change the fact that only 33 % of browsers are somewhat HTML5 compatible at the moment, and merely 4-5% of them can display H.264 video natively, without a plugin.

    Show me an application that is ground breaking in Silverlight, I have been searching for a long time and havn't seen anything thats new and wonderful that tell me I must learn this now.  Even the ComponentArt wares didn't wow me for Silverlight, they look like the HTML ones just a little slicker (and that could be added to the html ones)

    I already showed you the Bing Maps Silverlight version. Check out the upcoming Winter Olympics broadcast or the 2008 Olympics thing. Check out my company's http://mix.zoomery.com/ or other samples at www.zoomery.com, or http://memorabilia.hardrock.com. Check out www.photosynth.net which is also integrated into Bing Maps. Let me know if you need more (but first think about how the above stuff can be done in HTML5). If you are in US, see the Netflix on-demand video player. The Playboy Archive (warning: NSFW, http://38.105.231.133/). The MSCUI healthcare concept app at http://www.mscui.net/PatientJourneyDemonstrator/.

    The only good thing in version 1 or SL, was the hope that you could bundle c# apps cross platform.

    That is actually one of the key benefits. A mature, fast, productive programming model, framework and development environment.

    Monday, February 08, 2010 7:32 PM
  • I guess the point is, with the web dev community moving away from 3rd party plugins such as flash and taking (albeit small) steps into being able to reproduce rich media functionality into HTML5 and beyond, where is the logic behind creating 'another Flash' in Silverlight? It seems like a bandwagon jump rather than a forward thinking innovation to me... No doubt I will be corrected for my lack of understanding of the features of Silverlight, but this is my impression as a relative layman in web technologies... just sayin what I see :)

    Monday, February 08, 2010 7:44 PM
  • The point in RIA plugins is that they can evolve a lot faster than a committee-driven standard can. There is no better example than the horrible pace with which the HTML5 standard progresses. Yes, more and more stuff can be done with HTML + Javascript, things that we didn't even dream about 10 years ago. But it is painful to do so. The plugins keep pushing the envelope further. They make amazing user experience affordable because they are so powerful. Things I wouldn't try with Javascirpt and HTML5 (even if they are possible) are extemely easy with Silverlight. I would compare HTML + Javascript to an axe, while the RIA plugins are more like a chainsaw. Yes, you can chop down entire forests with both tools - but would you say that the chainsaw has no reason to exist and develop, just because you can do the wood-chopping with an axe, too?

    As for Silverlight being a copy of "Flash", yes there is indeed truth in that. But the almost 12 year head-start of Flash means that it is still carrying legacy from the first Flash versions. Silverlight has more or less the same goals, but with modern architecture, that builds on top of new computer science and hardware achievements. This allows Silverlight to move a lot faster. In just 2 years, Silverlight has comparable feature set with Flash that has a 14 year old past behind it. Also, having a competition actually benefits the end users - Adobe has really got to pull its act together now, can't stay "lazy" as Steve Jobs said.

    Monday, February 08, 2010 8:02 PM
  • That's a pretty broad group to speak of ... "web dev community." The fact that Silverlight adoption has doubled and we have more and more companies asking us to specifically build new apps or convert existing apps to Silverilght tells me a very large part of the web dev community is openly embracing technologies like Silverlight. If Silverlight were only rich media technology, I'd agree with you 100%, but for reasons cited in my earlier post, it's about more than just displaying a fancy graph or video element.

    And you are welcome to say what you see, just as there is no issue in my mind with developers embracing HTML5 and building applications for it. That's great! I personally haven't been able to reach the audience or produce the functionality customers are demanding in applications with HTML5 + JavaScript, so I continue what does deliver the desired results and leaves them happy: Silverlight.

    I think people need to step back and consider what "standards" are and mean as well. These are still technologies driven by companies and individual contributors (make no mistake, major corporations are a large factor driving certain piecese HTML5 spec) so to me, a bunch of people agreeing, hey, these are the fancy new tags we want to see do neat stuff in the browser isn't that far removed from a bunch of people saying, hey, we don't want to wait for 10 years for full adoption, and we like what this plugin does, so let's all agree to use it and build great apps on it.

    Monday, February 08, 2010 8:40 PM
  • There was nothing in your test page that couldn't be done with HTML.  Check out http://ryanflorence.com/mootools-threesixty-viewer-featuring-the-ipad/.  For a 360 degree rotating image in just html and javascript.

    A lot of what you said is inaccurate or just wrong. 
    Of course you can have C# or whatever flavor of the moment behind html 5 with Ajax or whatever.

    No one is "blasting" IE8 (its a better browser then I could have written).  I'm mearly stating that its lack of support for emerging technologies is a definite drawback (as web developer has wrestled with it for years).


    Monday, February 08, 2010 9:15 PM
  • I agree 100% the pace HTML 5 is going could easily be overtaken by the time it would take a caterpillar to circumnavigating the globe.  But it does have a bunch of things going for it.  HTML 5 will eventually be adopted by every single mainstream web browser and people who are not "one company" will actively be developing for and evolving the standard.  Can you say the same for silverlight?  Real Audio, Quicktime VR, Shockwave and ActiveX web controls (just to name a few) used to be big as well but were developed by one entity and are now a distant memory, however the platform that launched them (HTML) is still around and better then it ever was.

    Well said about the speed of development, it may in fact be a lot easier to develop the "eye candy" effects with silverlight.  End users need eye candy.  But more important then eye candy is functionality, if the application from an IA perspective is unwieldy then it will not be used and eye candy effects can always be added later.  This is not to say that silverlight applications lack usability in anyway, however what I am saying is that you will be able to find a developer to fix your HTML based mission critical application (thats broken and your manager is breathing down your neck "give me a timeframe, we are out $1 million a minute) then then a silverlight developer.  (I love the .NET language, I think its slicker then that girl who took you for 500 bucks that night in Vegas.  But it is a learning curve, cough, cough..)

    No one has given me one solid example that can't be done with HTML.  The one link posted before about "you cant do this in HTML" (referring to a 360 degree view of an object governed by a mouse's moment [about a 25 line JavaScript]) Here

    Monday, February 08, 2010 10:10 PM
  • Just CSS
    http://www.romancortes.com/blog/pure-css-coke-can/

     

    Monday, February 08, 2010 10:50 PM
  • There was nothing in your test page that couldn't be done with HTML.  Check out http://ryanflorence.com/mootools-threesixty-viewer-featuring-the-ipad/.  For a 360 degree rotating image in just html and javascript.

    Are you saying that a clever way of displaying 180 different 40K pre-rendered image is the same as real time 3D rendering?

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 5:38 AM
  • No one has given me one solid example that can't be done with HTML.  The one link posted before about "you cant do this in HTML" (referring to a 360 degree view of an object governed by a mouse's moment [about a 25 line JavaScript])

    You may have missed my earlier post, which is #6 in this thread. Please let me know how you can reproduce those things in HTML, I am really curious.

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 5:45 AM
  • You are right, those examples would be hard to do in HTML. But how often do you need pan / zoom on an image.
    Does that really warrant the use of a new technology?

     

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 9:43 AM
  • You are right, those examples would be hard to do in HTML. But how often do you need pan / zoom on an image.
    Does that really warrant the use of a new technology?

    Sure it does :) But seriously, this is one of the areas where Silverlight really excels, but this is not all, not by far. I personally am obsessed with Deep Zoom, that is why most of my samples were related to that. But the http://www.mscui.net/ sample is not about deep zooming images, neither are the tons of line of business applications being built for intranets. Neither are twitter applications like Gadfly or Seesmic. Sure, you can do a twitter interface in HTML (see twitter.com), but the difference between user experience is mind blowing.

    If I translate your thought to the world of transportation: You can get from point A to point B on a horse, so why do we have to have cars?

    As I said, more and more stuff can be done with HTML. Just today I saw an amazing paint application in HTML5. I personally created a HTML+Javascript based, fully WYSIWYG drag-and drop web site editor in the browser back in 2004 (www.webezz.net still has some videos up on this one). But then we hit problems with Javasrcipt as it was not powerful enough for the complex problems we were facing. We had trouble with the increasing number of browsers we had to support, and just couldn't keep up with the test matrix. It was not practical anymore to develop beyond a certain point of complexity. With Silverlight, this point of practicality is pushed waaay back. Just like you wouldn't start chopping tons of wood with and axe, you would get a chainsaw instead.

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 9:57 AM
  • Wow a lot going on here....

    Sorry if i missed something along the way but a few comments:

    I have been developing software for a long time. I have done a bit of everything at some point along the way.

    SIlverlight Vs. Flash: yes they overlap in what they can do. But IMHO SIlverlight is a WAY better developer tool set than Flash to work with. thats a BIG plus for many of us who have to write the code and build complex stuff.

    Silverlight Vs. HTML: to me HTML more and more along with JavaScript has become like Frankenstines creature, it was never built for the things we do with it today and we keep bolting on more bits trying to make it into something that is everything to everyone and yet never taking the time to say wait is this right? Silverlight is a fresh look at how to do some things in a new way. yes when html5 gets to be a standard it may do some of the things that silverlight / flash do today but it's not a standard yet.
    but I would much perfer to be able to keep my code and my UI clean and to not have to deal with some of the things that can be a pain in Javascript and HTML. I can do things in SIlverlight very easy that in HTML are a real pain to do and to do 100% right.

    also ther is the issue of choise, now i have one more option when i need to create something. and it now gives Flash something to compete with. so it may also motivate Adobe to inovate and improve on Flash.

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 10:55 AM
  • All of the examples you showed were things I don't need HTML5, Flash, or Silverlight for. I can easily take a pre-rendered bit map or movie and flip through frames. I'm still waiting for you to accept the challenge of showing me something that compares to the dynamically rendered 3D animation I showed using just HTML5. The fact that you had to resort to trying to invalidate this with a "oh, well, when do you really need that" tells me you can't find a suitable answer, and also shows this isn't really a two-sided discussion because you'll simply change the parameters to fit your stance. And to answer your question: yes, it does warrant it. Any requirement a customer has warrants investigating the best possible solution to deliver what they are looking for in the most effective way possible.

    That's fine. I don't think any of us here needs to convince you to code in Silverlight. I don't see any problem or have any issue with you doing what your are comfortable with and produces results. If you don't see the need in your work to use it, then by all means go the route. We've been patient and explained why, as successful business developers who provide customers with real world solutions for their business needs, we have chosen to go with Silverlight. Obviously, there is not an overlap of what we needed to provide compared to what you do, and that's fine!

    I appreciate you raising some good points and wish you success in your HTML5 endeavors. If you're ever curious to learn more about Silverlight or show some real world examples of HTML5 that are able to do what we've mentioned in the thread, I'd be very excited to see those solutions. I think seeing a full featured social networking app written solely in HTML5/JavaScript would be thrilling to learn about, or a highly performant 3D rendering engine (and to answer your question, yes, there are many business world reasons for doing this ... one example from the top of my head is a company that has sensors that monitor the interior of large, rolling tubes that heat mixtures they produce and requires them to have a realtime 3D heat map of the interior of the tubes that they can pan and zoom to in order to detect faults or issues that would require them to proactively shut down the tube for repair.)

    Again, you have made up your mind, and there is no reason for me to change it for you - that's fine! We were just sharing why we've done what we do, and I still have yet to find anyone who can solve the business problems I've been solving with Silverlight using HTML5. I am focused on what works best for the customer so I always keep an open mind and look for new ways of doing things better, but so far have not had anything that would compel me to take HTML5 seriously for commercial/business/enterprise applications.  

    Thanks for the inspiring discussion!

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 6:10 PM
  • Excuse me for asking... but what are you trying to prove exactly?
    You seem already fed up with Silverlight without even having at least taken a minimum of time
    to experiment with it and see what it's really all about? Sorry but I'm afraid
    that in this case, your arguments regarding Silverlight don't really stand up.
    Beside how can you criticize and put a judgement on something you're not even aware of its functionnality?
    It reminds me of the the kid who refuses to eat something
    'till he finally decides to take a real good bite at it...
    My God... I never tought it'd taste so good... You bet it does... LOOOOOOL.

    I've worked a loooooooot with Javascript, long enough to know its advantages and its limitations.
    I've also worked a loooooot with Flash long enough to avoid making endless comparaisons between Flash & Silvelright.
    We're talking about 2 different entities and philosophies here...
    I fiirst discovered Silverlight 1 in 2007. Being an old Flash vet... I admit I was a bit sceptic at first,
    but I quickly changed my mind ever since.
    Today I look at everything I could build in Silverlight and other SLV masters "piece of art" and I really can't find any way I could
    ot they could have simply done it in Javascript and HTML 5... I mean we're talking about full professional app + interfaces...
    which corresponds to customers needs... not just a single Web page... and that's just the beginning...

    Happy Silverlight programming folks...

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 7:58 PM
  • I'm trying to figure out if Silverlight is a technology I should look into.  A lot of you are taking this way out of context, the initial question was "Why Silverlight" not is Silverlight better then XYZ. 

    As I can plainly see by the many replies from people who clearly think I'm attacking silverlight, this must be a touchy subject, meaning a lot of the functions can be preformed with other existing tools. Also, instead of taking the time to show me the positive aspects (most of you, not all) you have been quick to judge my motives, again this tells me a lot about you but not so much about what I wanted to know.

    So here I sit, watching yet another Silverlight video trying to find the answer, why Silverlight?

    Here is what I have found so far.

    Good things: Speed, Cross Platform, Pretty Effects
    Bad things:   Requires a Plugin, Load Times, Duplication of Functions, Lack of Cut and Paste Functionality

    I looked at a bunch of social media applications that use sl today, they looked nice from a UI standpoint.  But to tell you the truth, I didn't really find anything "new".  The closest I came was when I was looking more closely at Bing maps and saw the smooth transitions between multiple sets of data. 

    So, if you want to think of me as bashing Silverlight, go ahead, I am trying to find the truth behinds the technology.  Every technology is created for a purpose, what is Silverlights purpose and why is this the right tool for the job?

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 9:05 PM
  • As I can plainly see by the many replies from people who clearly think I'm attacking silverlight, this must be a touchy subject, meaning a lot of the functions can be preformed with other existing tools
     

    We have seen way too many "HTML5 will kill Silverlight" posts floating around the web that are unfair and not researched at all. This is why this may be a touchy subject.

    Good things: Speed, Cross Platform, Pretty Effects
    Bad things:   Requires a Plugin, Load Times, Duplication of Functions, Lack of Cut and Paste Functionality

    Let me add to that: Good things: Great tooling, productive development, one of the best and proven frameworks to build upon, multiple languages can be used.

    Bad Things: penetration is worse than flash (although better than HTML5 as I discussed earlier), steep learning curve.

    What do you mean by lack of cut and paste functionality?

    I looked at a bunch of social media applications that use sl today, they looked nice from a UI standpoint.  But to tell you the truth, I didn't really find anything "new".  The closest I came was when I was looking more closely at Bing maps and saw the smooth transitions between multiple sets of data. 

    That is the whole point of Silverlight. That is the answer to your "Why Silverlight" question. To make outstanding User Experience not only possible, but practical from a development effort standpoint. User Experience is becoming the key differentiating factor for applications and websites. Even in the case of LOB (Line Of Business) applications, the end user's expectations are increasing, due to the exposure to amazing UX like the iPhone.

    As I said earlier, you can do a lot of things with HTML + Javascript that Silverlight also allows you to do. The difference is the amount of work you need to put in. For a lot of tasks, one man working with Silverlight can deliver better end result than ten men hacking away at Javascript, and fighting with browser issues and an inferior platform. In reality, the client cannot pay ten times as much only to have things running without a plugin, and even then, to deliver a less than ideal UX.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 5:22 AM
  • I played with it a bit last night (after installing VS 2010 RC1), made a really basic game and a user percentage control.  They were real easy to make and I really didnt have any trouble just used LINQ and some generics and it was done in like 50 lines of code.

    Only thing that triped me up was some of the objects and there properties.  I liked how easy it was to embed resources in your project.  I will be using it some more today. 

     It is fun to play with.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 9:40 AM
  • For me it's as simple as I don't want to code JavaScript all day. Been there, done that. Also I like to write games and I haven't seen good enough performance from the HTML5 canvas. The performance of the HTML5 canvas also varies widely across browsers that support it.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:07 PM
  • I guess the point is, with the web dev community moving away from 3rd party plugins such as flash and taking (albeit small) steps into being able to reproduce rich media functionality into HTML5 and beyond, where is the logic behind creating 'another Flash' in Silverlight? It seems like a bandwagon jump rather than a forward thinking innovation to me... No doubt I will be corrected for my lack of understanding of the features of Silverlight, but this is my impression as a relative layman in web technologies... just sayin what I see :)

    Can you point me to your source of information that people are moving away from third party plugins?

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:13 PM
  • If anyone is curious, this is my test project:
    http://beta.devclarity.com/silverlight/weather/

    Took me awhile as I stumbled around Silverlight, could have made it in HTML but still cool.

     

     

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 6:30 PM
  • Yes, it is cool. Welcome to the dark side  :)

    Now try showing the icons only after the data has been downloaded, with some nice animations.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 7:02 PM
  • Yep... Silverlight really doesn't taste so bad after all... doesn't it? :)
    You can't really appreciate something new until you give it a try.  
    I've taken a look at your app. Nice... By the way can you send a copy of your Weather Forecast
    app to Mother Nature...
    I guess she got a bit mixed up with "zip code" in the past few days...
    People in Vancouver are the ones who need a real snow storm these days, not the ones in Washington...

    Welcome to the rainy side...

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 8:52 PM
  •  Thanks for the summary.  That makes things a lot easier to "digest" :)

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:49 PM
  • So would I be better off using HTML5 and Javascript rather than going through the Silverlight process please?
    Friday, February 12, 2010 3:42 AM
  • Quite interesting thread.

    I guess... it would go in another direction if the person who started thread would post this in an HTML 5 forum :-).

    Trying not to speak with my Siliverlight heart I woul say:

    • Do you like Javascript, HTML Div layouts, CSS, ... and that stuff?
    • What audience are you going to target?
      • Which browsers? Take into account some user still even have installed IE 6
      • Which platforms? Linux is not very well supported by SL
      • Mobile? IPhone?
    • What kind of applications are you going to develop?
      • If you have doubts give a taste to both technologies try to develop an small pilot. 

    From my point of view... I got tired of web development (HTML / ASP .net)... I don't understand why we need to use strange stuff like hidden fields (well.. maybe you have a wrapper around that but finally you are using hidden fields), ... or go replacing chunks of HTML dynamically, having browser compatibility issues... and I don't like the javascript way of OOP... and of course I like to have a "compile" button available :D.

    Friday, February 12, 2010 1:48 PM
  • I guess the point is, with the web dev community moving away from 3rd party plugins such as flash and taking (albeit small) steps into being able to reproduce rich media functionality into HTML5 and beyond, where is the logic behind creating 'another Flash' in Silverlight? It seems like a bandwagon jump rather than a forward thinking innovation to me... No doubt I will be corrected for my lack of understanding of the features of Silverlight, but this is my impression as a relative layman in web technologies... just sayin what I see :)

    Can you point me to your source of information that people are moving away from third party plugins?

     

    I guess it is based on a general impression - eg the comment thread on this digg post (not saying this is necessarily representative of the 'web dev community' just an interesting insight into some people's feelings).  The fact is a large proportion of flash and silverlight usage is for relatively simple multimedia applications - a video player, an audio player, simple animation.  If HTML5 can achieve most of this basic functionality and browsers WILL all support it soon (even IE, if it wants to survive), why would a developer take the time to learn and build in Silverlight unless they're trying to build a really complex web app?

    The other interesting thing is that the two main powers behind HTML5 are Google and Apple (the 2 main people developing HTML5 standards for W3C are a guy from Google and a guy from Apple).  It seems clear to me that they are taking on Adobe in a big way, and by extension Silverlight, and are therefore going to try and push HTML5 as much as possible in the coming years (there's a reason why the iphone or ipad doesnt support flash). It may be a way away from being able to compete with the full functionality now, but with these juggernauts behind it dont you think they will be working hard to catch up on the most used features in Flash and Silverlight to win developers over?

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:47 PM
  •  Just read this post on HTML5 vs plugins for RIA and it's a very good take on the debate. I guess browser compatibility is the big roadblock - so is Microsoft holding back on HTML5 support so that they don't end up killing Silverlight?

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 1:10 PM
  • It may be a way away from being able to compete with the full functionality now, but with these juggernauts behind it dont you think they will be working hard to catch up on the most used features in Flash and Silverlight to win developers over?

     

    Yes, maybe for HTML6 in 2030 or so, I don't think there will be major changes at this point to the HTML5 standard. This is one of the issues with open standard, they move slowly. Consider the progress made in C# over the past few years versus C++ or Java. 

    My biggest issue with HTML5 is that they didn't include an alternative to Javascript, if they had something like Ruby or even Python in there i'd take a closer look at it.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 1:15 PM
  •  Just read this post on HTML5 vs plugins for RIA and it's a very good take on the debate. I guess browser compatibility is the big roadblock - so is Microsoft holding back on HTML5 support so that they don't end up killing Silverlight?

    They don't need to hold back anything, users are holding it back on their own by still running IE6 after all these years. Do you really see the users all of the sudden deciding to upgrade to the latest browsers?

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 1:34 PM
  •  

    I am pretty much at a take it or leave it viewpoint. Unless I have a pressing need then its not for me....at this stage anyway
    Saturday, February 13, 2010 4:22 PM
  • I have played with SL and must say it has its merits for eye candy and little widgets, but that being said, it should never be used to create an entire website / shopping site or any type of site that needs to be searchable by a search engine.

    The very nature of SL limits it usefulness, imaging an online encyclopedia that is only available as a SL app, that would definitely be a fail, It could have the best interface and be super easy to use, but you wouldn't be able to cut and paste text unless expressly in a text field.  Need to search for something with google / bing, well your not going to find this site.

     For these reasons and others, I believe HTML5 / JavaScript and Canvas are the way to go. But, I did enjoy tinkering with SL.

     

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 10:30 PM
  • I have played with SL and must say it has its merits for eye candy and little widgets, but that being said, it should never be used to create an entire website / shopping site or any type of site that needs to be searchable by a search engine.

    The very nature of SL limits it usefulness, imaging an online encyclopedia that is only available as a SL app, that would definitely be a fail, It could have the best interface and be super easy to use, but you wouldn't be able to cut and paste text unless expressly in a text field.  Need to search for something with google / bing, well your not going to find this site.

     For these reasons and others, I believe HTML5 / JavaScript and Canvas are the way to go. But, I did enjoy tinkering with SL.

     

    I love Silverlight but you're absolutely correct in my opinion. I'm in favor of creating "islands of richness" and not creating an entire site in Silverlight. Text selection and copy/paste is coming in Silverlight 4 which will help a bit for that. If you need an embedded chart or animation or other rich content on your HTML page then Silverlight is a good option.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 10:49 PM
  • Sunday, February 14, 2010 12:03 AM
  •  Just read this post on HTML5 vs plugins for RIA and it's a very good take on the debate. I guess browser compatibility is the big roadblock - so is Microsoft holding back on HTML5 support so that they don't end up killing Silverlight?

    I don't believe Microsoft is holding back. If they wanted to squash competition, they'd prohibit the Flash plugin in IE, etc. No, they are realistic. The Flash plugin is stable and production ready, so it's included. HTML5 is far from finalized or standard, so they haven't included it yet. Once it becomes more mature, they will ... at least, that's my opinion.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 1:12 PM
  • hazlema:
     
    "it should never be used to create an entire website / shopping site or any type
    of site that needs to be searchable by a search engine."

    I don't totally agree with that cause we built an entire Silverlight/Web application
    for a BIG chain of electronic stores. (Silvelright runs in combination with Web...)
    It was built mainly to meet store managers requests and it deals with products + clients inventory,
    shipping task management from West Coast to East Coast and vice versa...
    We're talking about a pretty "big & respectable" amount of phone calls/minute to deal with,
    based on tasks all itemized in different time zones with their relative all day
    shipments performance ratio defined through graphics, added to performing search engines
    to quickly locate items and clients...
    Dealing with such a big rolling machine needed high performance and didn't leave big room for errors.
    I'm sorry but that could have never been done in HTML5/Javacript... We first did some
    tests in ASP.NET 3.5/Ajax and unfortunately it didn't quite meet our needs.
    We then decided to rebuild the whole thing in Silvelright + WCF and I admit we were more than
    pleased with the results.
    So were our client$$$$... They loved it and even asked for more :)

    As for shopping site, that's funny you brought that up... cause I just wanted to go a bit
    deeper with PRISM (Component Application Guidance)... so I decided to build a SLV shopping cart
    from an earlier project I did in ASP.Net 2.0 and decided to experiment with it using PRISM. 
    Hey what the heck... I want to experiment with PRISM... I ain't nothing to loose but everything to gain...
    I'm a bit kind of a sceptic person, so I have to see for myself for believing and I don't always
    follow exactly everything that's written in a book or in a blog...
    The shopping cart doesn't contain any fancy flip and flop page transitions, nor eye candy & zoom animation stuff,
    but concentrates mainly on the essentials. 
    Well..., maybe a few drag and drop here and there to add or retrieve new elements in a shopping cart, but really
    no overloaded UI. Don't remind me I know... I've worked long enough with Flash and preloaders to know that
    adding too much is often like not enough...
    The shopping cart was mainly a self test project. I wanted to see if it could be done using Prism , now I know...
    So far so good...

    Jeremy Likness:


    "Any requirement a customer has warrants investigating the best possible solution to deliver
    what they are looking for in the most effective way possible.

    I am focused on what works best for the customer so I always keep an open mind and look
    for new ways of doing things better, but so far have not had anything that would compel
    me to take HTML5 seriously for commercial/business/enterprise applications."

    Pretty well said Jeremy L. Indeed GET THE BEST OF WHAT OF YOU GOT IS THE KEY... and it is
    also my way of seing things. That's exactly what customers are aiming for...
    Getting the best of their own investment$$$ :)...

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 1:14 PM
  • I agree with the initial poster, MS is holding off on HTML 5 support so they can push silverlight down people's throats just like they pushed IE.  I think they will hold off as long as humanly possible until they realize that the dwindling amount of IE users gets even lower when you don't support standards and ignore what users and developers are crying out for.

    I have seen many new interface frameworks come out in the JavaScript arena with heavy use on the canvas element.   As a web developer I want to add this technology to my sites because it what the clients want.  If IE doesn't support these new elements, users will just use something that does (or IT will SMS push out a browser to desktops and hide IE from the users) [or google will make a wrapper so it does "snicker"].

    MS is just hurting themselves with their lack of standards and trying to circumvent things so they happen to unfold in a way beneficial to MS.  But you can't really blame them, all public companies try to improve their situation by manipulating the market.

    I know it sounds like I'm anti MS, but not true! I'm an MSDN subscriber and MS certified, I just think they could do things differently and that would benefit the end users and them in the process.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 2:45 PM
  • congrats on the dream gig, I wish huge projects like that came around more often :-)

     What didn't ajax and html do that was required?  (besides the graphs)

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 2:51 PM
  • hazlema,

    I totally agree. Time is too precious to waste on learning a redundant application.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 6:06 PM
  • Here we go again in another one of those endless debates...
    I read the thread...
    Who's right... who's wrong... the point is if you feel at ease with one product
    more than another, or even use both then... let it be... that really won't stop the earth for turning...

    Sorry folks but I'm out... I've got more important things to care about
    for the time being... Business is business...
    Meanwhile...Have fun chatting...:)

    Monday, February 15, 2010 7:10 PM
  • I read that article and disagree, they are not two totally different tools like the example of the hammer and the screwdriver, its more like a hammer and a hammer with a chrome finish.

    Take away what you want from this story:

    I worked for a big company, once upon a time, and during the Banyan Vines to Exchange migrations (am I dating myself to much here)  we had some manual jobs we had to preform.  Such as taking a text file of users and normalizing the names (users had 2 and 3 accounts it was a mess, names like Joanne Smith and Jo Smith and Jo E. Smith were all the same person, anyway I'm getting off track).  We had an intern that was out to prove himself and he wrote a program in Perl to traverse a small list of users and flip names form first last middle to last first middle (I'm over simplifying but it wasn't much more involved).  Well he spent days working on this program for a text file that was only about 75 lines long.  After the 4th day I just told him to stop what he was doing, showed him how to load up vi and make the necessary changes in about 45 minutes. 

    I'll just leave it up to you to infer your own meaning from this sad but amusing story.

     

    Monday, February 15, 2010 7:23 PM
  • You are very right, marking you as the answer to my initial question.

    It doesn't matter what you use as long as you get the job done and you users are happy.  (And you get paid)

    But as for my decision about SL.  I may use it to make little widgets if a user so requests but I am still going to go more on the javascript/html 5 side almost 99.9% of the time.  But thank you for this thread, it was very informitive.


    Monday, February 15, 2010 7:26 PM