My WordPress Blog



Silverlight developer demo

Last night, I attended a developer demo of Microsoft’s Silverlight hosted at the monthly meeting of the North Dallas .Net Users Group. The presenter was Chris Koenig. Chris is Microsoft’s Developer Evangelist for this region. For the presentation, Chris showed some full blown Silverlight application demos and gave an overview of Silverlight before proceeding with a simpler demo where he dove into the code behind it all. Overall Silverlight and the demo looked fairly impressive.

Here are some of my takeaway notes from the meeting:

  • Microsoft is not calling Silverlight an Adobe Flash killer. However, it is obvious that like JavaFX it is intended to compete in this space. I suspect Microsoft doesn’t want Silverlight to be compared too harshly against Flash at it’s current product maturity level. The 2.0 version will be able to compare more directly to Flash. DevX.com has a comparison article of the three technologies where a stopwatch gadget is created in each. One of the neatest demos that Chris showed had a cityscape with a bouncing ball moving in front of the buildings from side to side. Half of the cityscape was done in Silverlight and the other half was done in Flash. This demo showcased the interoperability between the two as the bouncing ball appeared to seamlessly flow across the entire cityscape.
  • The streaming video capabilities of HD 720p support the current standards for HD-DVD and BluRay.
  • Microsoft offers a companion service for Silverlight streaming on Windows Live.
  • Silverlight is cross platform: Windows and OS/X.
  • Silverlight is cross browser with plugin support for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Silverlight is not available for Linux. However, some Silverlight content can be run on Linux using Moonlight. Moonlight is an open source implementation of the Silverlight runtime that is being developed by the Mono project.
  • Microsoft has put a lot of attention into tool support for Silverlight in Visual Studio 2008 and a new designer focused tool suite called Expression Blend.
  • Current language support is only Javascript. 2.0 will add the other .Net languages like C#, VB, Iron Ruby, etc.
  • In addition to additional language support, version 2.0 will bring more support for layouts, common business and data manipulation controls, and networking.

With the introductions of Silverlight and JavaFX, Adobe finally has some worthy competition in this space. I look forward to watching it play out.