Microsoft recently released what they called “Silverlight” (nice name, btw). Microsoft claimed that Silverlight will be the future of Web with the ability to deliver compelling user experiences and rich medias such as videos and animation. If you haven’t aware about SilverLight, check out their FAQ at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/faq.aspx
We have been evaluating Silverlight (previously called WPF/E) since its first initial alpha release. In this post, I would like to share some thoughts about our experiences and challenges with Silverlight. There are at least 3 big challenges that we are facing before we could agree to vote on Silverlight:
- First of all, Silverlight relies on ActiveXObject. This is somewhat a big showstopper as large companies do not allow ActiveXObject in their domain group policy.
- Client requirements. Streaming videos, heavy-level animations and extensive 3D rendering means you need a very powerful PC to utilize Silverlight-based application. I think the client computer will need at least 128MB NVidia graphic card (similar to Vista requirement). Do companies ready to upgrade thousands of their computers to use Silverlight? In my opinion, not at least until 2008/2009 when Vista replaced XP (at least 85% dominance)
- Application. I was wondering what kind of business-type Web application that is suitable to use Silverlight features, such as the streaming videos and compelling animation. I agree that Silverlight is great for Webcast companies and Movies companies like Hollywood or Fox Movies (see a sample implementation for Fox Movies at http://silverlight.net/fox/). But for business-type applications like CRM or ERP?
So, will Silverlight be the future of Web – or perhaps Goldlight 🙂 ? Is Silverlight just another competitor of Flash? What do you think? Post your thoughts and comments.