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Silverlight 5 — Back From the Dead? 213

Barence writes "When Microsoft executive Bob Muglia recently revealed that Microsoft saw HTML5 as the future for universal in-browser development while Silverlight was being repositioned as a native application development platform for Windows Phone 7 devices, most pundits saw this as an admission of defeat. Now Microsoft has released a beta of Silverlight 5, PC Pro's Tom Arah asks if Microsoft has managed to bring Silverlight back from the dead. With a flurry of Android and Linux-based tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes and other devices set to arrive on the market, Arah argues that Silverlight's time will come. 'Crucially, they will also want to integrate their desktop (Windows) and their main applications (Office and other WPF-based applications). Thanks to its work on HTML5, WPF and especially Silverlight, Microsoft and its army of desktop developers will be well set to deliver,' he argues."
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Silverlight 5 — Back From the Dead?

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  • Ok, I'm convinced (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:32AM (#34449586)

    I went to the MS store here in Bellevue today. Some of you may have seen me. But I doubt it.

    I was pretty much of the same mind as most of you. Silverlight is dead. It's a dead end technology, and no one will develop with it.

    Then today I saw a Windows Phone 7. I actually saw several models. They were actually really great. I was honestly ready for another piece of crap like every other Windows Mobile device I've ever seen. This was different.

    Microsoft has done something insanely great (to steal a phrase from Steve Jobs) with Windows Phone 7. I can't truthfully declaim the phone series to anyone who asks. So as more people buy the phone (and they will), more applications will need to be developed for it. That means more Silverlight programmers. As the key synergy is between the phone and the PC, applications for the PC will also be built in Silverlight.

    Sometimes when they are up against the wall with real competitors, Microsoft can produce good stuff. They are a day late, but this time they've brought a barrel full of extra dollars.

    • I guess MS is having to gamble a bit here. The recent app store model for mobile devices essentially means cordoning off portions of the web into device-specific apps instead of sites readable on a browser anywhere. At least that's what I suspect Apple are aiming for - get as much popular content as possible into app form so that using the Internet becomes something you need an Apple device for.

      For MS the question then becomes whether they can do the same thing and create a viable app ecosystem of their
      • Re:Ok, I'm convinced (Score:5, Informative)

        by pasamio ( 737659 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:15AM (#34449712) Homepage

        The problem is that Apple initially released their device saying that you wrote web apps for it and that would be the way to develop for it. And everyone hated, said it was a stupid idea and practically demanded an API which Apple subsequently delivered with a controlled way of deployment. The first iPhone SDK was for web apps and bashing Apple for delivering what was requested even if now we have it we realise it isn't so much of a good idea really just gets bothersome. More importantly Apple continue to make that gateway open for developers, Android does though to a lesser extent however Microsoft seem to have the view that anything that runs on a Phone 7 device will be Silverlight or else.

        • Microsoft seem to have the view that anything that runs on a Phone 7 device will be Silverlight or else.

          WP7 also supports XNA and of course HTML.

          • by Flipao ( 903929 )

            Microsoft seem to have the view that anything that runs on a Phone 7 device will be Silverlight or else.

            WP7 also supports XNA and of course HTML.

            HTML4 of course.

            • HTML4 of course.

              When HTML5 becomes a standard, then maybe Microsoft (and Apple) can say they support it; per the editor of the HTML5 draft specs, Ian Hickson [], expect HTML5 to be a W3C recommended standard in 2022.

              At least Flash and Silverlight are available on a majority of platforms today...

              • Silverlight is not available on most platforms.

                • by Creepy ( 93888 )

                  That is semi-wrong - Mono has an offshoot called Moonlight [] that offers most of the functionality of 1-3 (3 is still in beta). The only thing really missing is DRM because Microsoft refuses to release the encryption info necessary to make it work, but they have contributed licensed codecs.

                  I also believe Microsoft has a vested interest in Moonlight succeeding on Linux, though saying why is probably dipping into NDA territory.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          Right, these smart phones are effectively taking us back to the bad old days of a separate client for each network service; just when we were finally getting to where having a recent browser for your platform means you can use any service.

          • Because everything [] on the web yields such high performance.

            I could emulate that on a 386 full speed, that it lags on a modern quad core machine is ridiculous. While I'm sure it might be able to run full speed on chrome or maybe ff4 beta, check the cpu usage, it would still be ridiculously high compared to a native executable.

            • Hmmm just tested it...

              Firefox 3.6.12 0 runs ,ario land at 36fps using 9-10% CPU.
              Safari 5.0.3 (7533.19.4) runs mario land at 60fps using 5-7% CPU.

              Firefox 4 Beta 7 - runs mario land at a full 60fps using 1-4% CPU.
              Chrome 8.0.552.215 beta - runs mario land using less than 1% CPU.
              IE9 Platform Preview - runs mario land using 3-4% CPU (Although buggy, long start up, no display).

              I'm sure you had a point there somewhere, but it seems that all the (major) browsers either are, or will shortly be able to run that site

              • I'm running firefox 3.6.12 myself, and found it hilarious that it wasn't getting full frames.

                When a 12mhz 386 can do fullspeed and it takes up to 5% on a recent machine, something is still deeply wrong.

                Yes just in time compilers are becoming better, but it can't really be argued there will never be any overhead involved, even if most of the overhead is in the initial compilation at startup.

                • When a 12mhz 386 can do fullspeed and it takes up to 5% on a recent machine, something is still deeply wrong.

                  Actually, regardless of the platform, if I can do something with 5% CPU that people actually want done, where's my incentive to make it take 0.5% CPU? There comes a point where ease/speed of development, readability, maintainability, stability, and security trump raw CPU usage.

                  • Taking that logic to it's extreme means it is fine with you if a calculator app takes multiple cores maxed. After all it is doing something useful isn't it?

                    There comes a point where ease/speed of development, readability, maintainability, stability, and security trump raw CPU usage.

                    To an extent I agree, but a gb emu is a matter of a few hundred kilobytes whereas a full on browser requirement is at least several megs if not in the 20'ish range. So far as readability and maintainability you'd probably have an argument for a managed vm'd language like c# .net or java over c or c++ and you'd sacrifice a little speed there too, but java

                    • To be fair, the gb emu code is pretty inefficient. Using the same techniques with C/C++ would also run pretty bad (LOTS and LOTS of string concatenations, many many are just for readability). I'm not knocking the developer at all, as that was his choice for maintainability, however, the code would likely perform many times better if he removed code like this:
                      function gb_SWAP(...)
                      return 'A' +
                      'B' +
                      'C' +
                      'D' +
                      function gb_SWAP(...)
                      return 'ABCDE';

                      String concatenation is notoriously slow, and removin

                    • Well bsnes is similar in that regard (brings dual cores down to their knees for a snes emu), even when well coded emulation is always a trade-off between accuracy and speed.

                      That javascript emu is nowhere near accurate and I'd expect a 2-3x hit minimum to bring it up to par with something like VBA, but as you mention in this instance there are other things to worry about in implementation too.

                      I guess the point I was trying to make is layers of abstraction are there to help us more efficiently code time wise,

                    • Perhaps, but more often than not, the majority of code (and time running) is actually doing things that are unrelated to the problem you are trying to solve. Many of these, can be abstracted and handed off to a library in which it will be run in a more optimized way than if the author coded it himself. Often many things can be optimized that otherwise would not have been otherwise, leading to dramatic speed increases.

                      However, I agree, writing code by hand in lower level languages and optimizing it as best

          • I don't know if you've noticed, but the web sucks. You can _always_ design a better interface using a native client.

            The problem the web was designed to solve (in the realm of apps) was software distribution and cross-platform. Well, Silverlight/Flash/whatever use the web to deliver software - problem solved. And cross platform capability is mostly a dead issue for commercial software.

            So I do really hope we _do_ go back to the _good old days_ of a separate client for each network service, because web apps

        • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

          Technically, Apple initially released their device saying that you didn't write apps for it AT ALL. Adding the web app capability itself was a response to pressure. When that wasn't enough, they produced the SDK and app store. Now it's their number one bragging point despite the fact that, left to their own instincts, it wouldn't exist at all.

        • I blundered into a "feature" of DRM on silver light the other day. It turns out they are fingerprinting your system via it's harddrives (OSX version). You can tell this because If you boot your computer off of a removal harddrive the DRM on silver light refuses to run! (even if you re-install it or start witha fresh system copy). Everything about the silverl ight will work except it won't show DRM content. Also if you copy your internal harddrive to another computer then again the DRM will not work ti

      • I see mobile applications differently.

        I have a Nokia 5800 and it browses the web pretty well however I've noticed a lot of websites simply aren't designed for mobile access (Domino's and the redesigned BBC News site come to mind). There is nothing stopping Domino's from scrubbing their web content and proving me a simplified view for my phone. The UK News Application in the Ovi store does this pretty well.

        The idea isn't to move the web into mobile applications but to stop phone users from loading unnece
        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          That's surreal - I'm sure I saw this exact rant posted when I first started reading Slashdot- except of course it was "on my dialup" instead of "on my phone". Ten years in, and web sites are still controlled by the marketing guys who are more interested in a hi def corporate logo than actually getting your money.

      • by gig ( 78408 )

        The Web is the HTML you see in a browser. There have always been apps other than the browser on the Internet: email apps, FTP apps, and now Twitter apps, and so on. Web and native are 2 separate things. That is how Apple sees them also.

        Apple has done more than anyone to standardize the Web, to make it multiple vendor safe and consumer friendly. Apple offers by far the best Web experience in addition to the best native app experience. They don't need to trick anyone into anything.

        Silverlight is fine if it ru

        • Apple has done more than anyone to standardize the Web, to make it multiple vendor safe and consumer friendly.

          Yeah, I'll buy that when they natively support WebM or Theora/Vorbis.

          They've done exactly what's in their best interest, and stopped just short of actually having to take the slightest amount of risk (perceived or real) to support the platform. Had they been willing to support any modern open video format, the whole codec war would've been over instantly.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:46AM (#34449632)

      Microsoft has done something insanely great (to steal a phrase from Steve Jobs) with Windows Phone 7. I can't truthfully declaim the phone series to anyone who asks. So as more people buy the phone (and they will), more applications will need to be developed for it.

      It looks like half a clone of iOS and Android. Microsoft saw how Apple and Google finally developed effective smartphone operating systems, copied them, and is now going to leverage its monopoly power to try to force its way into the market while secretly poisoning the pool. Is this a surprise to anyone? This has been Microsoft's strategy for the last 20 years.

      It is time to reject this cynical approach. If Microsoft gets a monopoly here it is going to stifle development like it has everywhere else.

      • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @10:32AM (#34450412)
        This time I don't think they will. Both iOS and Android are way too entrenched in the market for MS to muscle them out enough to form a monopoly in this space. And that doesn't even include Blackberry which is in and of itself a powerhouse in the smartphone market.

        MS rarely if ever successfully competes with companies they can't buy out.
        • While Android and Apple have a strong foothold in mobile, the game can change really fast. Five years ago Android didn't even exist. Now as you say it's a strong player. Palm is dead. RIM was once a powerhouse and now is languishing. I heard similar comments comments about XBOX when it was launched a number of years ago, now it is quite a successful console.

          Now MS has a captive audience of gamers that are interested in the integration between XBox and Windows Mobile 7. Whether you like the Windows
        • So was IBM. Computers WERE IBM. You didn't buy a PC, you bought an IBM and later an IBM-compatible.

          And where is IBM now? Oh okay, still there, but insignificant on the PC front.

        • iOS and Android are no more entrenched than Creative was with MP3 players before the iPod came on the scene, or Apple was with Macs before Windows hit it big. Revolutionary new products disrupt things by their very nature, and with Microsoft's money behind it, it'll have every chance to succeed, entrenched competitors or not. If Windows Phone 7 is actually decent, it has no excuse at all for failing. And if it's a shallow imitation, as I believe it to be, then it'll flounder and die.
      • OSX has nearly 15% share in the US.

        It isn't 1999 anymore. What are you suggesting they would do anyways? Require a WP7 device to be plugged in for Windows to boot?
        • OSX has nearly 15% share in the US.

          Really? I've seen a lot of numbers for OS X market share, measured in various different ways, all in the 3-10% range. Where do you get 15% from?

      • Slashdot has become so anti-MS at this point that it isn't really worth reading MS related comments anymore. I'm an avid Linux user and the reality is that silverlight (and .net/wpf) are pretty nice technologies. Browsers are being asked to do a lot more than was ever intended. Do really imagine that RIAs are poisoning the pool or is it more that this is coming out of Redmond?
      • Silverlight was microsoft's attack on flash. At its heart, it's better technology, and with that, they opened the spec. Adobe's flash isn't open. Ouch. Alas, linux implementations of it suck. Until we see a single open-source codebase, that last 1% of internet users won't adopt it. If you want my personal opinion, apple who are going ahead of everyone and patenting things we might end up doing in the future are the bigger threat. Microsoft has backed down and given up fighting. Except for this. A t
        • by mrxak ( 727974 )

          I don't actually hate Silverlight. I'm not really sure why I should, other than the obvious (it's a microsoft technology). What can I say? It works just fine on the browsers and operating systems I use. It does seem like it's better than Flash. The only thing that bothers me is how often Netflix complains I don't have the most up-to-date version of the plug-in on the various computers I use. Would I prefer everybody use HMTL5 though? Sure. But we're not at that point yet, and I'm much more concerned about s

      • You've obviously never touched a WinPhone 7 device. The UI is NOTHING like iOS or Android (both of which, by the way, borrow HEAVILY from SPB Mobile Shell and HTC TouchFLO - the original "icons on a grid with widgets added in" user interfaces), unless you want to claim that having colored pixels on a touch screen is a copy of a UI.
      • Hi MR AC! If MSFT ends up win a monopoly with regards to WinPhone 7 it will be because of that age old bit "Developers,Developers,Developers,Developers,Developers" because as PopCap has taught us casual gaming is a BIG business, and with Silverlight 5 developers will be able to sell a user a game for their phone while also giving them a version for their desktop that will allow carry over of things like position, scores, achievements, etc. And if you want to see just how powerful silverlight is just check t []

    • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @08:23AM (#34449890)

      it seems to be "not bad" but what is GOOD about it ? ie, is there something it does other OSes don't, or something it does in a much better/easier/even just faster way ? Looking at

      the product intro, my impression is: Meh: so-so hardware, closed as an iPhone, fewer apps than other OSes (which can be understood), fewer OS features... and no Unique Selling Proposition ?

      • Re:Ok, I'm convinced (Score:4, Informative)

        by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @02:09PM (#34451902)

        For me, yes there are a number of things WP7 does better than iOS and Android.

        First and foremost is the integration with various microsoft products that I use. I realize this doesn't apply to everyone, especially Slashdot users, but it's great for me. Xbox integration is great as I can send messages between my phone and consoles, I can play games, get points, etc. It promises to be even better in the future with the possibility of multiplayer with console gamers. Also, the Windos Marketplace allows for game demos, which is a little nicer than the countless "lite" and "full" apps on the appstore.

        Then there's live integration. You just sign in with your live account and you have access to your calendar, mail, messenger, and best of all skydrive. No other phone offers this kind of integration, not even Google. With skydrive I have 25GB of cloud storage, automatically, for free, to which I can upload photos I take with my phone.

        Next, office integration. Again, free, and robust. It's not great for creating documents, but I've definitely edited power point presentations and excel documents on the road. The killer app here is Onenote, which allows me to take notes on the phone and sync them with my desktop notes.

        Then there's integration with facebook and twitter. I don't need to access separate apps to see someone's status updates; I just go to the people hub, and they're there along with texts, emails, and other communications.

        Beyond these integration features, there are some other features which stand out to me. Wireless sync is one iPhone users constantly crave, and one you have to pay for on Android. Music subscription service is great for those who love music. Then there's the Zune software itself, which I find much nicer to use (and better looking) than iTunes. I especially like how it doesn't install 20 different services.

        Honestly, I think most of the negative feedback about WP7 is coming from people who never used it, and have no intention of forming an informed opinion on the device. In terms of multitasking, it does a better job than iOS circa June 2010 due to a vastly superior notification system. The only thing it's missing is the various backgrounding APIs introduced by iPhone 4.0, which really only address the needs of a small subset of applications. Cut and paste and other missing features will come shortly (~3 months) according to devs. To me, the platform is exciting and has great potential. People only need to give it a chance.

    • by t2t10 ( 1909766 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @08:49AM (#34449966)

      Microsoft's competitors have produced better software than Microsoft for decades and it didn't do them any good on the desktop.

      Microsoft needs to be much better than Android and iOS or they have already lost. "Good" isn't good enough.

      • Better software? Like what? Nothing competes with Office. SQL Server is continuing to expand into higher and higher end markets. Windows 7 is a very good OS. Nobody's even close in terms of development tools. IIS is a ridiculously good web server these days.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @02:59PM (#34452448)
      so what's great about WP7 is that it will tie the phone to the Windows Desktop PC? Leveraging that desktop worked for desktop products but it has never worked for them otherwise. Seeing how Android is already hear and moving forward fast, WP7 without any compelling reason over the competition is a yawner.

      And what's up with using Sliverlight as the "native" development platform for WP7? I would have figured it would have been MS .Net. Way to go Microsoft for looking pretty schizophrenic on the vision thing. You know, that stuff you seem to say Google has none of when spreading your FUD about other companies instead of taking care of your own house.

      And they have always brought a barrel full of dollars to the table when bringing out products. They have to pay vendors to use it long enough to get people to think it really is worth using. WP7 is nothing new in this regard. IMO

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:36AM (#34449596)

    Thanks to its work on HTML5, WPF and especially Silverlight, Microsoft and its army of desktop developers will be well set to deliver,' he argues."

    Especially the work on silverlight undermines the standardization of the web. Even with the Novell Moonlight plugin available for firefox on Linux, Silverlight support on anything but Windos/IE is flaky at best, so developers who care about their websites actually working cross-browser, cross-platform should avoid this technology.

    • developers who care about their websites actually working cross-browser, cross-platform should avoid this technology.

      If you read the recent stories from MS itself, especially on HTML5 support vis a vis Silverlight, that's effectively the official position. Use HTML5 on the Net to reach the widest audience. Use Silverlight on the intranet or on corporate, limited-audience websites for rich in-browser apps.

  • ..just in case you we're wondering.
  • "It's a dead end technology"

    <video src="mySilverLightMovie">

    One just never knows.
  • Yes, I had gushing things to say about WP7 and I think it will lead to good things for Silverlight. That's my opinion after playing with actual phones today.

    But is it just me or is there a really strong pro-Microsoft vibe here today? Has Microsoft really turned a corner and started offering something people want and need? Or are the MS astroturfers out in force?

    • What is good about WP7?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        1) The UI is very responsive and visual effects are smooth.
        2) The UI enhancements seem to reach deep into each application. In WM6.5, the main screen may have been pretty cool, but once you left that screen the UI was the same old WinMo crap. WP7 seems to have solved that in a way similar to iPhone in that each app really seems to fit with the rest of the software.
        3) Better software keyboard than Android and iPhone. I have had a terrible time with the software keyboards of both Android and iPhone. Especiall

        • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @08:33AM (#34449918)

          Honestly, this is underwhelming.
          1) all phone UIs are responsive, now that we're finally rid of pre-7.0 WinMob.
          2) as you say "similar to iPhone", only better than.. WinMob before 7.0
          3) software keyboards are just that: software. Many of my heavily-texting friends have bought a favorite one.
          4) see 1)

          I'm not interested by something that's better than WinMob 5/6, because pretty much anything was. I'm interested in something that's better than the defaults choices, which are iOS and Android. In which ways in WInMob 7 better than those ?

          • all phone UIs are responsive, now that we're finally rid of pre-7.0 WinMob.

            I wish that were true. Alas, my Android phone (Nexus One) has occasional hiccups when scrolling around. It seems that some apps are better at it than others - e.g. Marketplace is particularly awful. But I get that even in the app list sometimes!

            I don't own an iPhone, and haven't played with one long enough to meaningfully compare. However, I did own and use an iPad for about a month - and one thing I distinctly remember about it is that thing never, ever had any hiccups in the UI. Always silky smooth. The b

          • FWIW Windows Phone 7 has one UI innovation that as a programmer I think is definitely worth looking at, even if you don't buy the phone. They have done an amazing job giving the phone a feeling of space and expansiveness for such a tiny screen. Open it up, open up Word, look around, it is really nice.

            The main advantage it has over Android is that the interface doesn't feel as clunky. This is most obvious in scrolling and changing screens. This has improved in the latest versions of Android, but WP7 is sti
        • The one thing I did not like was the constant requirement to use the Back button. If I want to close the software keyboard, I had to click Back. If I wanted to go back in a menu, I had to hit Back. This kind of thing seems like it should be done in the visual UI. The user shouldn't be expected to know that Back is a magical button.

          I thought that was a great feature of WP7 - if you went to far, or want to go back to where you were, just press the Back button. It's not on a menu in the app (and thus can be out-of-order if the developer wants to move it around), it's not called many things (return, back, exit, cancel, whoops, George), it's just "Back". Went too far? Go Back. Done with this screen? Go Back. I think it simplifies the UI for people - you don't have to look at menus or options, just go Back.

      • WP7 combines all the openness of the iPhone with all of the trendy shininess of Android!
      • Live icons. A combination of widgets and icons. It really works, it really does help the UI, and it really does offer functionality that is beneficial to the user.
    • "are the MS astroturfers out in force?"

      Good question.

    • by iserlohn ( 49556 )

      It's a lot better than WM6.5, but then again, what isn't? Its greatest strength is also its biggest weakness - because it is a clean departure from WM6.5, it also can't leverage the numerous legacy applications available for that platform, which leads us to the question - is it too little, too late?

    • Has Microsoft really turned a corner and started offering something people want and need?

      It's all thanks to Oracle. They've displaced Microsoft as the Most Evil Company. Now that Microsoft has lost the top spot, the pressure's no longer on them, and they've suddenly realised that they don't have to keep churning out evil products any more and can no concentrate on producing stuff that works.

      You just wait: they're already dabbling in open source, and this trend will continue. They'll never outright say they were wrong, but slowly but surely they'll gradually morph into an OS-friendly company l

    • by geegel ( 1587009 )

      Nah... It's just the fact that MS is no longer considered an evil monopoly and they're judged on their own true merits. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don't. Slashdotters are merely lucid enough to recognize when they do

  • by whiteboy86 ( 1930018 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:34AM (#34449750)
    Silverlight little applications are now trumpeted as native on WP7?

    The absence of true native code in WP7 (C/C++) is a major problem, see, Apple has a clear edge in applications, they allow native code C/ObjC/C++ so people like Carmack can run Doom, companies like Korg can make true synthesizer DSP driven software and even FOSS people can compile and reuse their cherished code on iOS devices.

    In the old days Bill Gates at least did know a thing or two about developers and what they need, it seams that MS is totally losing their vision, roots and edge by doing huge mistakes like dropping support for major native development inroads for their new mobile OS. So much for the Steve "triple developers" Ballmer's promises.
    • That isn't correct. You can write native code for WP7. I am not sure where that rumor got started. Even so, there are probably a handful of situations that benefit from native code like games, audio processing, and other graphics intensive applications. There is going to be little or no benefit from native code in most other apps.

      Having written both Android and iPhone apps, I can tell you which platform I prefer to develop for. Apple's toolchain is less than awful. Additionally, I doubt the fact t
    • Have a look at Quake in Silverlight: []
    • even FOSS people can compile and reuse their cherished code on iOS devices if they jailbreak their device and violate the Apple EULA.

      Fixed that. Remember that FOSS people are on the outs when it comes to devices like the iPhone and WP7.

  • So they basically decided that it's best for them to have web developers out of control from adobe even if they cannot take said control. Good news.

    However I still fail to be excited by HTML 5. IMO it fails spectacularly at anything they said it was good at. It creates huge privacy holes, makes it difficult to segregate components and still is not well suited to the mobile platorms. How do I activate an onHover() on my cell phone? Why does every page have a different idea on how large my screen is? On my de

    • I don't think your argument has much to do with html5 as such. Yes hover and so are an issue for touch screen devices; this is a problem that may have to be solved another way. It's tricky: a mouse-based interface and a touch-based interface simply both have their issues. Like multi-touch gestures that have no mouse equivalent.

      Then the presentation point: yes that's a problem, I'm experiencing that myself. The problem lies with the web developers: they want to control the presentation, That the web site lo

      • by butlerm ( 3112 )

        So if say a 10px letter would be the minimum readable size on the first iPhone, it's probably not readable at all on the latest iPhone model.

        HTML/CSS renderers are supposed to use a virtual pixel size (nominally ~96 dpi on desktops) so that a major change (a doubling for example) in display device dpi doesn't cause a pixel specified page to render at a radically different size.

        See here [].

  • Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mr_lizard13 ( 882373 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @08:06AM (#34449828)
    This should stop that proprietary HTML5 stuff getting a stranglehold on the web.
  • Kill it with fire!

  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Sunday December 05, 2010 @09:34AM (#34450124) Homepage

    What always baffled me was the 5 year gap between the release of .NET 1.0 and Silverlight 1.0. Remember when .NET 1.0 was released, everyone was asking, what is .NET? Part of the reason for the confusion was Microsoft's marketing department slathering the term on a variety of technologies, as they did with "Active" the previous decade. The other part of the reason was it didn't have a way to deploy to the browser. It seemed to me the main advantage of an interpretive run-time was to sandbox on the client. Instead, Microsoft built all these server-side technologies around .NET.

    If Microsoft had released Silverlight back in 2002 -- i.e. if it had the small footprint, Mac compatibility, and easy browser install that Silverlight has now and that Flash had back then -- then not only might Silverlight have supplanted Flash, the momentum of millions of Microsoft developers jumping in that early might have forestalled or diminished the role of HTML5 today.

    Not all of this is 20/20 hindsight. Browser install, to compete with Java Webstart, was a no-brainer. Then, if it had been a goal at that time of Microsoft to be the standard for all browsers, would have seen why Flash was succeeding (small footprint, Mac compatibility) and adopted those attributes for .NET client.

    • 2002 was when the dust had settled on the browser wars. Before FF was useful (or however it was called back then). Before Safari was a serious contender. Before Google even thought of building their own browser.

      But Microsoft also very much knew that the web browser was going to be the platform of the future - not the operating system. The underlying OS they knew would become irrelevant. And by allowing the browser to develop faster they would only help to make that happen.

      In 2002 it was definitely not in

    • What baffles me is that anyone still thinks that .net was EVER interpreted. It has always employed a runtime JITter.

    • Wow, someone else who remembers the advent of .net, and why it is called that.

      Here is what I think happened: internally, Microsoft was divided. some people saw what basically ended up as Azure and Silverlight as the way of the future. Others inside Microsoft felt no one would want that.

      The guys who wanted to keep it on the desktop mainly won out, maybe because the browser wars were over, or maybe because Microsoft really wanted to keep people tied to their desktop, and hoped they could stop the move to
  • Microsoft today announced the release of version 5 of its world-beating Silverlight multimedia platform. As a replacement for Adobe's Flash, it is widely considered utterly superfluous [] and of no interest to anyone who could be found.

    "We have a fabulous selection of content partners for Silverlight," announced Microsoft marketer Scott Guthrie on his blog today. "NBC for the Olympics, which delivered millions of new users to BitTorrent. The Democrat National Convention, which is fine because those Linux users are all Ron Paul weirdos anyway. It comes with rich frameworks, rich controls, rich networking support, a rich base class library, rich media support, oh God kill me now. My options are underwater, my resumé's a car crash, Google won't call me back. My life is an exercise in futility. I'm the walking dead, man. The walking dead."

    Silverlight was created by Microsoft to leverage its desktop monopoly on Windows, to work off the tremendous sales and popularity of Vista. Flash is present on a pathetic 96% of all computers connected to the Internet, whereas Silverlight downloads are into the triple figures.

    "But it's got DRM!" cried Guthrie. "Netflix loved it! And web developers love us too, after all we did for them with IE 6. Wait, come back! We'll put porn on it! Free porn! "

    Similar Microsoft initiatives include its XPS replacement for Adobe PDF, its HD Photo replacement for JPEG photographs and its earlier Liquid Motion attempt to replace Flash. Also, that CD-ROM format Vista defaults to which no other computers can read.

    In a Microsoft internal security sweep, Guthrie's own desktop was found to still be running Windows XP.

    • This thread was worth reading after all. The only rational reaction to deliberately disruptive, inferior technologies like silverlight is to "just say no".
      • Silverlight 1 was awful, but now Silverlight 4 is pretty good. I've been developing web applications for over ten years professionally. As I mentioned in a previous post there are a lot of things you can so in SL that you can't do very well in either Flash or HTML5. Your comment shows that you are pretty disconnected from reality and not privy to what corporate customers and end users are really looking to see in web applications these days.
        • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:06PM (#34450964)

          Silverlight 1 was awful, but now Silverlight 4 is pretty good. I've been developing web applications for over ten years professionally. As I mentioned in a previous post there are a lot of things you can so in SL that you can't do very well in either Flash or HTML5. Your comment shows that you are pretty disconnected from reality and not privy to what corporate customers and end users are really looking to see in web applications these days.

          It can do what? Lock you into Microsoft technologies? While I understand that, as a developer, you may see things that Silverlight can do that Flash or HTML 5 "can't do very well," what exactly does it do that those corporate customers and end users are "looking to see?" (btw -- I loved those examples you didn't provide) Those customers don't even know what Silverlight is. If they have it installed, they never meant to do it or it was just something they clicked while trying to watch the Olympics online.

          Just because Silverlight has some features that you find clever doesn't mean it's good for the internet. It wasn't designed to benefit the internet or small application developers, it was designed to broaden Microsoft's control over the internet, to make it another one of their platforms. Your comment shows that you are pretty disconnected from reality and not privy to what Microsoft's business strategy has been for decades.

        • Can you really call yourself a proffesional if you are willingly pulling a IE6 again by writing for a format that is NOT universally supported?

          Simple fact check, what runs on more environments? HTML5, Flash, Silverlight?

          And no, opensource efforts that will always be playing catchup do NOT count.

          You are once again tying your customers into a specific tech. Now I know who was building those IE6 only apps. It was you.

    • I agree that Silverlight is pointless: Flash is pretty much the same thing but has massive uptake and HTML5 is coming along nicely thanks (and I'm a great believer in open standards). Air can do just as much if not more.

      However, I'm a UX designer and I've seen a lot of positions available that require Silverlight experience. Daft really as a UX designer doesn't really need knowledge of the platform but then a *lot* of people don't grok what UX really is (hint: it's not skins either). It does concern me that

  • Microsoft announced Silverlight 5. Scheduled bata release it 1st half 2011. Announcement here. []

  • Then I bought an N8. I love it.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission