Wow… so lots has been going on lately. Adobe is trying to encroach on Microsoft’s turf with Apollo and in reply, here comes Silverlight.
Now, Silverlight by itself is alright. I am not going to profess that it is going to kick Flash to the curb by any means. To be honest, it has a ways to go before it will be a major competitor against the offering that Adobe already has out there.
However, given that Flex is still being adopted for RIA development if Microsoft focuses their efforts with Silverlight to that front, then they will most likely succeed. They will succeed due to the sheer mass of people developing against their technologies.
The big announcement that a lot of people seem to be overlooking in the big Flash vs. Silverlight debate is that beneath Silverlight lies something so massive that it could change things all by itself. CoreCLR. CoreCLR is a trimmed down CLR with all the goodies of the larger .Net Framework that runs cross platform. So what? Microsoft has done some cross platform stuff in the past and ditched it. I don’t see that happening in this case however. I think Microsoft is finally starting to come around on the fact that Windows, while holding a massive amount of the market share, is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to things like… the internet. Microsoft is realizing that it is time to start competing against people like Adobe/Macromedia who have ruled the internet for quite a while now, who have gotten so cocky with their market share on the internet side of things that they have started working toward a desktop takeover.
The other nice little inclusion with Silverlight is the DLR or Dynamic Language Runtime. The DLR allows Ruby, Python and other traditionally NON-.Net languages to be compiled into IL code so that they can utilize the CLR. This is being done with respect to the language as well. i.e. Microsoft is not trying to assert their way of doing things into these community run languages, but rather are taking the accepted ways of doing things and incorporating those into the DLR. If that wasn’t enough, Microsoft has released the DLR to the community so that it can be built upon and more languages can be added in over time.
There are too many things to list here and to be honest, since I am not at Mix and am relying on News and Blog Postings toget all of my information, I am going to quit writing for the time being and go continue reading. I would highly recommend reading Scott Hanselman‘s post on the subject though
I leave you with this: It is going to be interesting to watch what happens over the next year, between Adobe and Microsoft, things are going to move even further off of the desktop and this is going to cement the RIA into the mainstream environment. I am not going to say that one technology is better than the other at this point and I am going to concentrate on learning both Flex/Apollo and Silverlight/WPF over the next few months so that I can be proficient in both, because much like the battle between BluRay and HD-DVD, this is just getting started. Just don’t write Microsoft off because they are behind. They aren’t the underdog by any means. They’ve been sitting back and watching, silently plotting, and they’ve just made their move.