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Microsoft Programming IT Technology

Microsoft Woos Developers Under the Silverlight 300

CWmike writes to tell us that with the impending release of their Silverlight 2.0 product, Microsoft is poised to enact the next phase of their plan, wooing developers and designers directly. Microsoft is funding a French open-source project designed to allow programmers to utilize the Eclipse framework to build Silverlight apps. "Microsoft is also releasing for free a set of programming templates called the Silverlight Control Pack under its Microsoft Permissive License, as well as the technical specification for Silverlight's Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) vocabulary via Microsoft's Open Specification Promise. The latter, said Goldfarb, should make it easier for would-be Silverlight developers."
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Microsoft Woos Developers Under the Silverlight

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  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:26PM (#25360765) Homepage Journal

    It is called Moonlight. []

    But I am not all that comfortable with it. I think that Microsoft has done enough that I just can not trust them with any "standards" any longer.

  • by rumpsummoner ( 1021011 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:31PM (#25360845) Homepage
    Have you developed on it? It looks good but actionscript is a nightmare if you're used to any language other than javascript.
  • by Dragonshed ( 206590 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:32PM (#25360873)

    SL Eclipse Tools project []

    MS Press release (interestly enough, it plans linux as a supported platform) []

    Silverlight 2 release is imminent.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:34PM (#25360897) Homepage Journal

    Too bad applets got such a bad rap. They actually work very well now and are fast and powerful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:38PM (#25360957)

    ActionScript is really not that bad.

    I am a full time as3 dev moving from C++ and Java. I still do quite a bit of work in Java as well.

    There are only a few real problems with the language: a lack of overloading constructors and the lack of generics (which will be changed in an upcoming version).

    If you're in ActionScript 3, it feels nothing like JavaScript. We've got strong typing!

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:44PM (#25361059)

    Oh it is a holy war based on language syntax. I thought I was missing a glaring design quality issue about it.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:02PM (#25361335)
    I seem to remember that the NBC olympics site (which used Silverlight) had plugin installation that was fairly easy with Firefox (which doesn't support ActiveX so it was obviously not IE only) and didn't require many manual user actions such as downloading and running an installer separately. Now granted, that was on Windows XP, but if it can be made to work with Firefox on Windows with a plugin then wouldn't that same Firefox plugin be available on Linux?
  • by eggnet ( 75425 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:08PM (#25361427)

    You can build Flash apps using the Flex SDK in any IDE you want.

    Also, Flex Builder from Adobe is based on eclipse. []

  • by Tweenk ( 1274968 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:07PM (#25362079)

    Except that a plugin is not available on Linux. MS touts Moonlight as a nearly complete port of Silverlight to Linux but in fact it's very far from being usable - even Gnash is light years ahead of Moonlight when compared with their closed source versions.

  • by Tweenk ( 1274968 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:17PM (#25362169)

    Unfortunately Moonlight is nowhere near usable, at least for the average user. Additionally it will contain closed blobs of MS code because of the Novell-MS deal: read up []

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:26PM (#25362263)

    Flash runs just fine on PPC Macs. I have a friend with a Windows Mobile phone that has no problem viewing Hulu Flash movies. (No clue what CPUs in it, but I doubt it's x86.) I dunno where you got the idea that it's x86-only.

  • by JPeMu ( 942971 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:57AM (#25366209) Homepage
    I work as Lead Software Dev for an online gaming company, and use ActionScript daily for my job (as well as other languages of course). We have found that we *cannot* use AS3 which is a real pity as it's much quicker and improved over AS2 (strict typing etc) due to 2 major bugs:

    First of all, there's an issue when dynamically loading images. No matter _how hard_ you try to dispose of allocated memory (Manual delete, NULL pointer, force GC etc etc) it does not free the previously allocated memory. Whopping memory leak. Furthermore, it's no longer possible to reference objects on the timeline until the frame _after_ they first get instantiated. Or the next one. Maybe. Or even the next one - all depends what mood the player is in. Sure, there's events you can hook in to to make sure you wait until the object's properly instantiated, but that kinda defeats the object of having a _time_line. So for us, AS3 is a bust until they can fix these issues.

    Back OT, as for Silverlight - I've yet to see this running anything meaningful at more than a crawl. Even looking at some of the most basic of UI widget sets implemented in Silverlight is a painfully slow experience, so that's not going to cut it for me either. Anybody have any links to either "meaningful" Silverlight content (i.e. more than just "hello world"), or a UI widget set implemented in Silverlight that's usable real-time I'd be interested to check them out...

  • by miguel ( 7116 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @11:53AM (#25369979) Homepage

    We are getting ready for our first beta of Moonlight 1.0, which will map to Silverlight 1.0, you have a few options to get it running:

    (a) Wait until our official Beta launch, and it will contain an easy-to-install plugin. Click install, restart browser, you are done.

    (b) You can use it today if you build from our source code, it is published here: []

    (c) Repositories like Packman have RPMs that you can install for various distributions that you can install today.

    We will be using Microsoft's Media Pack for Linux, which is a licensed version of the media codecs, binary drivers provided by Microsoft. This has the advantage that the media companies that own the patents on codecs have been paid for (MPEG-LA consortium and others).

    For those of you that live in a country where software/machine patents are not enforced (media patents are enforced in Europe, contrary to popular lore) or those that just want to stick it to the man, you can build Moonlight with the open source FFMPEG media codecs.

    Support for Silverlight 2.0 will ship in preview form in December.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"