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First Look At Microsoft Silverlight 3 228

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Martin Heller finds Silverlight 3 gaining ground on Adobe Flash, Flex, and AIR in all the areas where Silverlight 2 had lagged. No longer do developers need to build desktop WPF apps based loosely on corresponding Silverlight RIAs, as Silverlight 3 adds the ability to install Silverlight apps on the desktop, update them in place, detect Net connectivity state changes, and store data locally and securely. Moreover, solid Expression Blend 3 and Visual Studio 2010 betas provide developers with much improved tools to create Silverlight RIAs. '"I do not expect many Adobe shops to give up their Flash, Flex, and AIR for Silverlight 3. I do expect many Microsoft shops to do more RIAs with Silverlight now that it's more capable and to create lightweight browser/desktop Silverlight 3 applications where they might have fashioned heavier-weight Windows Forms or WPF client applications," Heller says.'"
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First Look At Microsoft Silverlight 3

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  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:36AM (#28318875)

    Well, not in the grand scheme of things it's not, I'd rather see the likes of Silverlight and Flash dissapear altogether. I think however in this context Silverlight might actually be a good thing. Flash has become so widespread because there was really no challenge to it, Java applets never really ever managed to perform as was originally hoped.

    On one hand I'm glad to see some competition for Flash rather than it be allowed effectively a monopoly on RIAs but on the other the worry is of course that this'll just mean more RIAs!

    I'd personally rather see the advances in Javascript allow us to move forward for RIAs because no plugin is required, and it's not some compiled proprietary lump of bits. Google's chrome demos mentioned here a couple of months ago looked very promising in this area so hopefully this will eventually the path we see taken for RIAs but in the meantime I think Silverlight is possibly a good thing, if not only because even in the worst case it forces Adobe to make Flash a better product.

  • Mod story flamebait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kramer2718 ( 598033 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:41AM (#28318885) Homepage
    Seriously. Silverlight is gaining on flash in all areas. What about portability ... open standards ... interoperability. Not that flash is really that much better, but at least Adobe is making a token effort.
  • Who needs this? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:43AM (#28318895)

    Where was the need for it? Why? Just because MS made something, there suddenly should be need for it?

    Who are they to decide what the world needs?

  • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @08:08AM (#28318997)

    There's at least one more "challenger" (I use the term loosely) in the form of JavaFX. The fact that you hadn't even heard of it says a lot about its potential for success.

    I do think you're being unfair on Java applets, though. It took a long time for them to perform as originally hoped, but I think they're there now.

  • by LizardKing ( 5245 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @08:14AM (#28319025)

    Applications that can be run in the browser or installed on the desktop? Java's had both for many years (applets and webstart).

    Ability to update desktop apps? Webstart again.

    Access to a rich, general purpose library? Yup, Java provides that - and it's very similar to .NET for some reason.

    So suddenly the old thing is the new thing.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @08:23AM (#28319057)

    For Silverlight, the only direction it had to go was "up". I mean, it had an almost zero percent installed base. Now if I were Adobe, I would seriously consider open sourcing Flash and all technologies around it. Otherwise Adobe will only continue to lose market share to Silverlight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2009 @08:35AM (#28319107)

    No? /me doesn't care

    That's just exactly the problem. TBH I dont care either. I browse with no flash plugins (if absolutely needed then yes I have a separate installed browser with it), noscript, and all the other little useful privacy goodies.

    I want information and I want it fast. In all reality text is still text information is information. I dont need popups, animations, ads, etc etc the list is long.

    The problem arises when technologies like flash, silverlight, etc come out. Major websites and corporations start publishing there material and information with these technologies because everyone wants to be "up to date". Then your normal user who doesn't have and idea about technologies being used comes along. These users who think the internet is that blue "e" or the little "fox around the globe" on their desktops. These types of people want content too, and if they cant view it then they start to feel they are "missing out". They just don't care and just want it to "work like designed".

    Like another reader commented about "balkanizing the web" I feel that this hits the nail on the head. Think of the repercussions if major social networking sites, or other major web presences starting implementing code "X" which doesnt run on every system. (And I am not saying it hasnt already happened) They are alienating people. Which then in turn makes movements like FOSS, OSS, or other kind of free and open standards look bad because your "normal user" thinks while it sounds nice and the idea is good nothing "works as designed" and is in the end limiting their user experience.

    imo I think its time that the experienced user base starts taking back the web. Implementing more "open" standards. Showing some of these major asshat corporations that it can be done differently. The internet was not intended just to make a $

  • by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @08:49AM (#28319163)

    What about portability ... open standards ... interoperability.

    No-one cares about such things in the real world. Everyone uses Windows, remember? /sarcasm... or is it?

    Doesn't seem to matter much. Slashdotters want such things, business don't care, because such benefits aren't seen when the vast majority of people are using Windows. I see it time and time again - we are losing the battle for open standards. If Silverlight and other proprietary technologies are GAINING prominence, how can we win?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2009 @09:14AM (#28319279)

    True, but in my experience the difference between Java and the .NET stuff is performance.

    Sure, some synthetic benchmarks might show that Java beats .NET by some margin, but in practice, that's not what matters.

    In practice, Java is demonstrably faster than .NET but what matters is that you say it is slow.

    What users notice is that Silverlight loads almost instantly (as fast as Flash), and that desktop .NET apps run just as fast as native, and look as good, or better than native apps.

    I can always tell when a Java app starts because the JVM startup brings my machine to its knees, and the end result is inevitably some "non platform specific" GUI that looks like a Solaris desktop app from the late 1990s.

    Swing's look and feel is completely configurable, and you can make your app look like whatever you want. You can have a near-native look, or you can choose a fully customized one, as it's done on Windows by other Solaris-looking applications like Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, Photoshop, Google Chrome, Windows Media Player, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Google Earth, Microsoft Expression, Visual Studio, none of which use the native Windows toolkit.

  • Re:I'll pass. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by legirons ( 809082 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @09:39AM (#28319423)

    For the forseeable future, the bulk of desktops and notebooks on this planet are going to be running Windows software.

    eh? go to any tech conference and the only people not using Mac laptops are the ones with asus eee (xandros or ubuntu) or thinkpads running linux. Maybe 1 or 2 Windows machines per hundred.

  • by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @09:55AM (#28319519)

    I hate to feed a troll, but obviously no one is suggesting Adobe should open source their dev tools.

    Just the flash interpreter. They give it away for free anyway (those commie bastards), why not let other people deal with fixing it? Then they can proceed to rake in tons of profits from people who want to build apps that they now can rest assured will run on the coming generations of Flash-enabled smartphones.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @11:03AM (#28319919) Homepage
    I think Java applets seem to perform better now because processors are faster, and because people are comparing it to Flash/.NET/Javascript, not to C++. For example, the JVM took forever to load, but I don't think the JVM is any bigger than the .NET framework. Java was just ahead of its time and hardware caught up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2009 @12:18PM (#28320443)

    Some people see the web as being like an early library, with beelions and beelions of books to be searched. However, they don't like these newfangled 'movies' or 'records' because they are in binary formats and aren't composed of text, which is all that the purists think belong in the library.

    Yet, in modern libraries, movies and music are integral, despite not being text. On the web, RIAs provide experiences that aren't available in other formats, yet the Old Librarians of the Web don't like them and want to eliminate them, because they're not text, or because the Librarians say that one day, someone will make a 'book' that kinda sorta does what RIAs do now, but the new format will be approved by the Old Librarians. I suppose there was once resistance in the Iibrary community about buying proprietary movie projectors and phonographs to access this content with, which sure seems silly today. If it were up to the Old Librarians, libraries today would only have books, and the web would only be text, and everybody would be using Lynx. Good thing the Old Librarians are limited to Slashdot ranting!

  • Re:I'll pass. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @01:14PM (#28320835) Journal

    Moonlight supports Silverlight 1. Support for Silverlight 2 is in "preview".

    Thus far the Moonlight project is "compatible" enough to tell you your version of Silverlight is out of date, and please upgrade.

    Silverlight 1 and 2 are much more different than 2 and 3. The Mono development team has explain that implementing the full CLR for Moonlight 2 is one of the largest stages of the development process. For instance, Moonlight 2 Preview already has many Silverlight 3 features implemented. So, once Moonlight 2 is out, it will not be long before Moonlight 3.

    Furthermore, I consider this the best pro-developer free software rant explaining the pros of mono in general: []

  • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @01:28PM (#28320967)

    Flash and Silverlight 1, yes, you're right. Flex and Silverlight, not so much: they're just not browser APIs, but actual app frameworks, so they go a lot further than just providing end user features: they help the programmer, too (like Silverlight can consume an ADO.NET data service with LINQ, which is a lot better than using the built stuff, even in HTML 5. Flex has BlazeDS, and so on. Just an example)

  • Re:Moonlight? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by benwaggoner ( 513209 ) <> on Saturday June 13, 2009 @03:35PM (#28321889) Homepage

    And I'm sure it'll remain consistently at least one version behind the Windows one, and still missing features, just as Microsoft would prefer. Moonlight has not even reached parity with Silverlight 2.0 as a final release, let alone 3.0.

    Functionally, Moonlight is probably somewhere between Silverlight 2 and 3. It already includes quite a few Silverlight 3 features in its current preview.

    And bear in mind that Silverlight 3 isn't out yet.

    Silverlight already had Mac/Win parity, and most of the code sits on top of a platform abstraction layer. So it's already proven to have full functionality outside of Windows.

  • Re:I'll pass. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JohnBailey ( 1092697 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @06:19PM (#28322905)

    Just in case anyone decides to post the parent as informative, I'll point out Moonlight which is an implementation of Silverlight that runs on Linux. There is also Mac support in Firefox and Safari.

    And I'll point out that it doesn't bloody work on video sites. So pretty much pointless. Offer Moonlight as a token effort, and then try to take over Adobe's niche. SOP pretty much.. Why yes Mr customer.. Silverlight is cross platform.. (It works with Vista and XP..) So your customers will be able to view the rich multimedia experience no matter what platform they use..

    Air on the other hand, works great with the BBC iPlayer on Linux AND Windows. No idea if it is available for Apple.

  • Re:I'll pass. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @06:25PM (#28322937) Homepage

    Microsoft is doing the right thing here

    I call the bluff. To run moonlight you need mono. Microsoft holds ALL the pattens on the dotNET programming environment. When you can show me an app that runs on Mono that Microsoft gives one of those royalty free licenses to, then come talk to me.

    I am an old Forth programmer so I don't mind building my own stuff. However, I would appreciate some actual "proof" that I won't get sued. A supporter of Mono saying that "Microsoft would not dare get into a patent war over dotNET with open source comapnies" just does not cut it for me as proof.

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