Key to Silverlights Success
Silverlight is in serious catch-up mode, but it has a chance,
Brad Becker, Microsoft's group product manager for Silverlight, said Silverlight 2.0 is now a real development platform with features such as data binding and a control model, which offers a bunch of controls. The platform has also seen the benefit of performance enhancements to the tune of 25 to 40 percent increases in graphics, list rendering and cold start time performance, Becker said. With the Microsoft RIA offerings, "you can go as high or as low as you want," Becker said. "Microsoft offers ASP.Net for lightweight Web applications, Silverlight for rich Internet applications, and WPF and the .Net framework for developers who want to get down and touch the hardware for their applications," he said. "With Silverlight and WPF, when you have to go to the metal you have .Net and DirectX." Read more here about Silverlight's role at the summer Olympics. Meanwhile, he questioned the security model around Adobe AIR. Becker, who was once a product designer for Flex and Flash while at Macromedia/Adobe, said that "with AIR, access to your local file store is an all-or-nothing proposition. It's kind of an immature model as far as security goes." In addition, Microsoft is targeting its tools at other platforms, including phones, devices and kiosks. However, Adobe's new creation already boasts key enterprise customers as users. Adobe AIR and the Adobe AIR SDK are available immediately as free downloads at www.adobe.com/go/air. The Adobe Flex 3 product line is available now in English and Japanese, and offered for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The open-source Flex 3 SDK is available free of charge, and a beta version of Adobe Flex Builder 3 for Linux is freely available at Adobe Labs (labs.adobe.com). Adobe Flex Builder 3 is available as a stand-alone product or Eclipse plug-in, with the Standard edition priced at $249 and the Professional edition at $699.
"The key for Silverlight's success is matching the Flash player's ubiquity but also getting all of the .Net programmers out there to start developing for RIAs for the Web rather than for the desktop," he said. "Deals like getting the Olympics to use Silverlight are the beginning of this. Adobe has had years and years to spread the Flash player, and Microsoft is starting at Day 1."