Thursday, June 07, 2007

Microsoft SilverLight - Light Up the Web and Adobe Flash Comparison

Microsoft launched Silverlight formerly known as WPF/E(WPF/E Stands for WPF Everywhere) on 30th April, 2007. By definition, Silverlight is, as per the official website of Silverlight - , is :
Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of Microsoft .NET–based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.
On fine morning of 30th April, I was in St. Pete, Florida when one of my colleague told me that MS has released SilverLight and after looking at its definition I was bit worried, worried for my till-this-date HOT Adobe Flash(formerly known as Macromedia Flash) browser Plugin. Silverlight by its definition gives an entire new meaning to this dimension of Web. In this article we'll see how these two technologies differ from each other.
Till this date Flash is famous for its stunning vector graphics, light weight, streaming media support, extensive script library and scripting support, Browser Compatibility and the most important one in my eyes, is Audience. Today as per Market research, Flash reaches 98% of the Internet users in one way or other. Let it be small advertisements, Flash based games, Video Streaming, Rich Internet Applications and much more. Silverlight, after I used it for a day or two in Microsoft Popfly, I believe Silverlight has a potential to do much more than Flash however there are some other factors too. We'll discuss about them at the end of this article.

What I found interesting in Silverlight is
- Backed by Microsoft
- DLR - Dynamic Language Runtime
- Huge Developer community
- Cross-browser compatibility
- Target audience and future plans

As we all know, Microsoft is proposing .Net at large and is literally taking out competitors due to its robustness, architecture, security, ease of use, support and development features. Silverlight is one more step to this strategy as well as to reach the audience which is rather difficult to reach due to diversity in OSes used. I have recently used a site based on Silverlight ie Microsoft
Popfly. As of now it is in Alpha Release and you can only access it once you get an invitation. Go ahead and register your any .Net Passport Id so that when next set of invitations are sent you get one. Now coming back to the topic, I saw following things when I was playing with Popfly.
- Extreme memory and CPU usage
- Difficult to use implementation
- 2MB Installation
- Higher bandwidth usage
As such Silverlight is still going through the production cycle so some of the above said cons will be ripped off in the final release, however when I compare it to Flash I see many things as a plus point in Flash.
- Backed by Adobe, one of the largest player in GFX and Multimedia segment
- Powerful scripting support and a matured authoring environment
- Developer and Designer community
- Almost 100% browser compatibility
- Reaches to 98% Internet-aware audience
- Streaming Video Support and industry acceptance
- Security and Mobile Device Support
I would have taken my time and listed cons from Flash's end too, however I would like if someone from the readers can point to cons of Flash and we can discuss it to get the better idea.
PS : This blog post was not copied from anywhere ;)