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Microsoft is Serious About Silverlight

Posted by Charles | March 2, 2008 .

The whole WPF and Silverlight thing is getting more and more serious. Even though Microsoft indeed took a short cut to roll out Silverlight (Flash/Flex showed the path, after many years of evolution), look at the RIA in general, we can’t discount Silverlight anymore. The WPF, Silverlight 2.0 and Expression Blend together will put a big dent here.

Microsoft released a Silverlight version of it Software Download Center. I looks and works quite well. The site is not just a Silverlight shell with transition to HTML, it’s a full function RIA application all the way. It’s not media show case so if you are interested in what Microsoft would develop a RIA web site using Silverlight, it’s the place.

msdownload thumb Microsoft is Serious About Silverlight

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12 Comments so far
  1. Samiq  March 2, 2008 8:54 pm

    Dude it is good to see some partial view to where the world is going… I play both sides of the coin (Adobe vs MSFT) although I’ve got more experience in the MSFT side… and it’s a bummer that people John Matlock et others fanboyz just get in the way from making the world a exiting and full experienced world!

    RIA world ahead is shaping in a really interesting way… we will have to wait, develop and participate in this ever changing spectrum.


  2. John Matlock  March 3, 2008 8:39 am

    Hey Charles Go Fu*CK your Mother. Silver light Stinks.
    Your nothing but a sweet little power bottom fag*t who doubles as a programmer during the day. Stick to your night job and keep the di*k in your mouth.

  3. Tom Van den Eynde  March 3, 2008 9:11 am


    Just keep up the good work! We all know Flex & AIR are better but there are nicer ways of saying it. It’s not because some silly guy abuses the freedom of speech that you have to listen :)


  4. Sean Leno  March 3, 2008 9:50 am

    Charles, There always somebody should be in hospital but running around in normal world making dump from his mouth rather than the rear end. So keep up your good work and ignore the human anomaly.

  5. jon  March 3, 2008 10:08 am

    wow…wow…charles you should be happy this guy doesn’t know where you live…why not just delete him..

  6. Charles  March 3, 2008 10:18 am

    hi guys, Thanks for the kind words here.

    I did deleted the hate comments (at other post too) but this guy put exact words right back here.

    I think Silverlight hurt him really bad. The damage is way beyond at the emotional level. It might be just leave it here to let him vent. At least it can remind us the love (or hate) towards technologies can twist our mind this far.

    Just want to keep reminding myself that technologies are created for the applications of them, which usually have nothing to do with technologies.


  7. Derek Vadneau  March 3, 2008 11:41 am

    Microsoft might be serious about it, but it still has serious issues.

    I went to the page you linked to and was prompted to update Silverlight. Once I did nothing seemed to be different on that page. I closed my tab in Firefox and opened it again from the link and was greeted with an “Illegal Operation in Plug-in” dialog: “The plug-in performed an illegal operation. You are strongly advised to restart Firefox.”

    However, the dialog kept popping back up after I would dismiss it, so I clicked the checkbox to not be notified about this error again during the session, so I could kill the tab and restart Firefox. Instead Firefox hung. I had to kill it via Task Manager, ending other browsing sessions.

    I don’t know if it’s a Firefox or Silverlight issue, but I’ve never seen the Flash Player do that, or any other plugin.

    Going back to the site after a FF restart seems to have fixed the issue.

    “The site is not just a Silverlight shell with transition to HTML, it’s a full function RIA application all the way.”

    How are you coming to that conclusion? I didn’t try every link but I tried links in various sections and each was a link to an HTML page. Even the search reloads the page to display the new content. So, that proves you can recreate an HTML page in Silverlight. Wup-dee-doo!

    Adobe realized quite a while ago that you shouldn’t just throw Flash on a site because you can. There should be a reason for it and it should add to the experience. Folding content blocks and fading buttons can be done with DHTML. And I don’t consider anything on that page to be RIA at all.

    Can you elaborate as to what is RIA about the Software Download Center?

  8. Charles  March 3, 2008 12:12 pm

    Hi Derek,
    I’ve got my share of frustration with Silverlight too. There was time that my computer would freeze every time encountered a Silverlight piece, which are more and more showing up withing Microsoft domain. It turned out that Silverlight didn’t work well with Google Desktop. I ended up uninstalled Google Desktop and fix the problem. I know I can easily say Microsoft exactly wants me doing just that.

    Anyway, the “shell” I meant was like those Flash intro pages that give you a bit of eye candy and move on with good old HTML. The download center bends Silverlight and HTML very well as you experienced. To me, RIA is more use experience than cool technology. Going 100% Flex or 100% Silverlight on a site doesn’t make it a better RIA application. I don’t know how to really define RIA. It’s more like “I feel it”. So, it’s very likely others could feel very differently.

    Anyway, thanks for visiting.

  9. Derek Vadneau  March 4, 2008 3:06 pm

    It’s not a “feel” kind of thing – there’s a definition for RIA. RIA is Rich Internet Application – note the “application” part. A glorified HTML page is NOT an application.

    Perhaps some people are getting confused with RIA being Flash, and translate that into flashy. An RIA doesn’t necessarily involve anything flashy.

    As you pointed out it should add value to the user experience. I just don’t think making it flashy is adding much to the user experience.

    Making a site 100% anything doesn’t make it a good RIA. Making a good RIA may require you to use 100% of a certain technology, and it may not.

    There are many examples of an RIA where you would have to use something like Flash, or perhaps eventually Silverlight. For example, While it _could_ be done without Flash, it would be a PITA without it.

    gMail would be a good example of an RIA that doesn’t use Flash. Google did its homework and built a very usable application that doesn’t contain any (what I would call) flashy bits.

    I’m not saying that you can’t build RIAs with Silverlight – I honestly don’t know – but that download center page does not say RIA to me. Is it a nice example of using Silverlight? Sure. And it does at least show MS is willing to drink their koolaid.

    IMHO, I don’t think the page warrants Silverlight treatment. If it gives MS easier control on the editing side then that’s something to note, but on the front, there’s nothing there I wouldn’t prefer to do with Dreamweaver or my trusty EditPlus, since you wouldn’t be required to install anything and it could all be done with DHTML.

    If you’re going to require someone install something to use your site (or an element of it), then you better give them a reason to.

    “Anyway, the “shell” I meant was like those Flash intro pages that give you a bit of eye candy and move on with good old HTML.”

    In your post you say:
    “The site is not just a Silverlight shell with transition to HTML”

    That’s why I was asking where you saw any other functionality, because it really does look like a flashy page that just goes to HTML pages.

    If there’s other functionality I’m not seeing can you share that?

    Btw, I’m not trying to get into an argument, I’m just trying to understand the RIA of the page since I am interested in learning more about Silverlight.

  10. Charles  March 4, 2008 4:49 pm

    This is a very healthy discussion that will benefit the readers. If you noticed the one other comment here you’d know I really appreciate yours.

    I do agree with you on the notion of Flash relates to RIA. Indeed, there shouldn’t be any technology prerequisite to be a RIA.

    In term of Silverlight, regardless the show cases Microsoft put out there, it’s still far from the RIA we’ve known from implementing Flex and AJAX. Silverlight is just a “Flash player” of many years ago. The different is that Flash was created without RIA in mind (I’d think). But Silverlight is geared to be a RIA tool since the day one. That’s why anything comes out of Silverlight I’d like to trace how well it does as a RIA player. I think anybody who cares about the RIA (not just Adobe’s stuffs) should start paying great deal of attention to Silverlight, especially when the 2.0 come out soon (might be this week).

    Again, thanks for the comments!

  11. Crawford  March 14, 2008 1:12 pm

    Yup. I agree. I think MS is making a huge play with SilverLight. Its not the initial releases of MS products that take over, but the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th release. I remember when JSP/Java was the cats meow and kicked MS’s butt. Now .net is becoming more predominate in the market place. I think the same thing could happen with SilverLight. It makes me a little worried for Adobe.

  12. Patrick Whittingham  March 26, 2008 6:53 am

    Too many JavaScript files….bad Microsoft, one should read Yahoo performance tips…:)

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