View Full Version : What is Microsoft SilverLight About?

05-08-2009, 11:19 AM
I have come across another new term and I tried to know what it is all about.But I really couldnt make it out...the definations are too technical rather than how it is useful.The new term is "SilverLight" it is from Microsoft.May I know if someone here knows what Silverlight is all about.Please do share if helps in making blogs better in anyway.

Thanks in advance:)

05-08-2009, 12:56 PM
If you've used Adobe Air at all it's similar. If you download and install Silverlight then anyone program developed for Silverlight will run on top of Silverlight and work on your computer. It's a way for applications to run across different platforms.

It's not really something for blogs. It's something if you download will let you run applications developed for Silverlight on your computer. Adobe Air seems to be the more popular of the two at this point.

05-08-2009, 03:38 PM
Steve, I want to make a point, its not quite cross platform compatiable.

My understanding now is it only works with Windows. I have yet to see it work on Linux and have no experince with Apple.

Its meant to be a competitor to software that lets you watch streaming media and other things. To mean its more of a competitor to flash then Air. Adobe Air is more useful in desktop appilcation development.

Silverlight is more web based, at least how Ive seen it. To me its more like Flex, Flash.

05-08-2009, 07:16 PM
You might be right. My impression was it was competing with Adobe Air, but maybe it was more Adobe Flash. If it's not cross platform then I hope it's web based otherwise it loses a lot of usefulness.

I can't say as I've used it at all or encountered it too much. I tend not to pay much attention to Microsoft products.

I'm trying to figure it out from the Silverlight site, but it's not helping much. I do see a mention of desktop so I think it can be used for desktop applications, but it's hard to tell. My advice to Microsoft would be to redesign the site to provide me the information I need before downloading instead of trying to force the download on me on every page. If you click a link saying 'tell me more' you should be taken to a page with more information, not a page where the only thing you can do is install the product or navigate to another page.

05-08-2009, 11:46 PM
Hi Vangogh and Rezzy.Thanks for the replies.I understand Silverlight is something to do with the presentation on the site with things light animation/multimedia...am I right?

Vangogh is right about the microsoft pages on Silverlight.Some detail on whhat it is and how it is useful can be a better way to share a product.

05-09-2009, 02:49 AM
From the Wikipedia page about Silverlight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Silverlight)

icrosoft Silverlight is a programmable web browser plugin that enables features such as animation, vector graphics and audio-video playback that characterizes rich Internet applications

Bryan you were right. Looks like it's competing with Flash as opposed to Air.

05-09-2009, 06:37 AM
I was into the whole flash animation programming at one time, this was when the whole flash market really took off.

Adobe's Flex came out (an advanced version of Flash, IMHO) and I started learning it. Then Microsoft jumped on the bandwagon with their app. I dont like it! And will most likely never like it.

Its Microsoft trying to grab marketspace where they have no business. I was going to go into a rant about their OS versisons, but I think Ill save it.

In any case, if you have netflix, and watch the streaming video, you have come across Silverlight!

05-09-2009, 12:14 PM
Guess that's why you knew what Silverlight was all about.

Microsoft does like to jump into markets where they don't need to be. If I understood what what I read, they see this as an improvement because you can program with .Net. They have a claim on their site how you don't have to learn a new programming language like ActionScript to use it. You can instead use the .Net framework you're already familiar with. So I guess it's made for people who already know .Net.

What Microsoft seems to miss is that some of us aren't already using their tools.

As long as it works cross browser and cross platform that's fine with me. Am I right in thinking you need to add a plugin to your browser before it will work? Or is that just to develop wit it?

05-10-2009, 12:12 AM
Am I right in thinking you need to add a plugin to your browser before it will work? Or is that just to develop wit it?

Yep, you need a browser plugin to run silverlight, of course.

And that is the largest benefit, and the hope for Microsoft is that .net people can move right into it. Mean while all the open source people are no closer to adopting the platform.

05-10-2009, 02:04 AM
Nor will they be any closer. I think Microsoft doesn't get that we aren't going to change just to adopt their new toy. They need to adapt their new toy for us.

05-12-2009, 02:38 AM
Good timing. A couple of days ago Smashing Magazine published this post on Flash vs Silverlight: What Suits Your Needs Best? (http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/09/flash-vs-silverlight-what-suits-your-needs-best/). It does a good job explaining what each is best used for.

05-12-2009, 08:58 AM
I have looked at Flash in the past and found ActionScript a nightmare to work with, whereas after watching a demo of Silverlight I was completely sold, and I'm very tempted to switch to ASP.NET/Silverlight just to take advantage of it.

Silverlight is based off Microsofts .NET technology - the idea was that Microsoft is developing a single graphical interface system - Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). An application that is written using WPF can run on both the desktop and within web browsers on ASP.NET.

Some of the key benefits I see in Silverlight are the fact that interface and code are completely seperate, and there are two seperate applications for developing each. this allows designers to work on the interface, and coders to work on the code, without having to share tools.

Additionally Silverlight is function/event based, and hooks in very nicely with ASP.NET pages. For example when clicking a button in ASP.NET it can call the DoSomethingFancy() function within the silverlight animation, and then when the animation completes the ImAllDone event triggers, which can be picked up by the ASP.NET page causing it to then load the next page or what ever is required. All Silverlight code is done in C#, so you dont need two seperate programmers for Silverlight & ASP.NET.

Silverlight is maintained by microsoft and is only available for Windows and Mac platforms, however microsoft also backs the Moonlight project, which is an open source implementation of the system, and is currently fully compatible with Silverlight v2.0 and is available for all platforms.

EDIT: Here is a link to the demo that sold me - its from a Microsoft keynote speach. Sorry - Silverlight is required to view it. Perhaps try searching youtube for "Microsoft Silverlight Airlines Demo" or similar - it may be on there.


05-12-2009, 10:01 AM
I have looked at Flash in the past and found ActionScript a nightmare to work

You may want to look into Flex, its the up to date competior of Silverlight, and also an Adobe product.

05-12-2009, 12:30 PM
Sorry - Silverlight is required to view it.

At the moment that's the biggest stumbling block to Silverlight. It's yet another plugin that needs to be added to the browser. Most people won't have it installed yet. Do you know if IE8 has Silverlight installed by default? It's going to take Microsoft including it in the browser to get the masses to adopt it.