Apparently the softies hit the ball outta the park at Mix07 this year. Early indications, aka the buzz on the net, are that finally Microsoft did “get it”. Microsoft’s history works kinda like this: let somebody come up with a good idea, let them test it in the marketplace, take that idea and come out with a version 1.0 Microsoft flavor, it sucks donkey balls until about version 3.0 and then they destroy the market. They did it with Windows, they did it in the word processor /office suite space, most everybody I know, myself included, now uses Microsoft Messenger (or Live Messenger or whatever they call it nowadays) and have ditched ICQ/AOL/etc. If they don’t use MSIM alone, then they use something like Trillian. Lately they’ve been trying to catch up with Google in search, MySpace in social networking, and now Adobe with Flash. Here’s some hightlights from liveside.net:
- Silverlight is cross-platform, running equally well on Safari or Firefox on a Mac as Firefox on a PC, and of course on IE.
- A single 4mb download that installs in less than 20 seconds is all you need to run Silverlight content.
- Silverlight is a .Net technology, meaning that developers can write web applications in C#, VB.Net, Python, Ruby, or other languages of choice.
- Since it’s .Net and compiled, Silverlight will run somewhere between “300 to 1000 times faster” than an AJAXÂ web application.
- Silverlight is tightly integrated with Visual Studio and Expression Studio, and while it’s not necessary to write Silverlight apps in these products, doing so means big gains in productivity, in end-to-end application development, and ultimately in creativity.
- Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live offers free or low cost hosting of video content, withÂ all the advantages of scale that Microsoft hosting can provide.
Of course they’ve decided to do some things the Microsoft way; aka… let’s not run with a standard but make our own “new” standard. For instance, instead of using the W3C’s SVG standard for vector graphics, Microsoft started from scratch and created its own XML-based vector graphics subset for XAML that is structurally similar to SVG. Is that a big deal? Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve used a web app that uses SVG. There’s also no Linux support (for now a least). I’m sure all the Linux fanboys will be up in arms that they are left behind. I would think that if it runs on OSX, it would be easy enough to compile it to work on Linux. Miguel de Icaza has already expressed interest in building an open-source Linux-compatible Silverlight implementation. In fact, de Icaza admits that he is “kind of happy” that Microsoft didn’t make a Linux-based Silverlight port, because he thinks that “implementing [Silverlight] sounds incredibly fun and interesting.” Since Novell, the company that sponsors Mono, has a close relationship with Microsoft, de Icaza and other Mono developers are well-positioned to build a Linux-based Silverlight browser plugin.