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Microsoft Silverlight 4 vs. Adobe Flash 10.1 379

superapecommando writes "The richest RIA platforms today (and for the foreseeable future) come from clashing titans Adobe and Microsoft, whose Flash and Silverlight platforms both combine excellent tools for developers and designers, broad client support, strong support for server-side technologies, digital rights management capabilities, and the ability to satisfy use cases as varied as enterprise dashboards, live video streaming, and online games. And each has spawned new updates, to Flash 10.1/AIR 2 and Silverlight 4 respectively, which put them on a near-level playing field. Which one should you choose?"
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Microsoft Silverlight 4 vs. Adobe Flash 10.1

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  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:51AM (#33300082)

    Insert your own joke here.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:53AM (#33300102)
      Two peanuts were walking down the street. One was assaulted.
      • by TheJokeExplainer ( 1760894 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:55AM (#33300906)
        Wake me up when Microsoft comes up with a tool that allows non-coder graphic designers or animators to create entire apps in Silverlight with the same ease that you can with Flash.

        That's the assumption sideline-commenting non-designer coders who aren't in the web or multimedia industry make, like a lot of guys here in Slashdot who do mostly non-frontend stuff. Until then, don't expect Flash to vanish anytime soon.

        Same case goes for HTML5. Without proper authoring tools for the non-programmer layman, don't expect any other tech to knock off Flash from its perch. Nothing comes close to the Flash Professional authoring tool's ability for creating vector animations and integrating motion, sound and interactivity with ease today.

        Even then, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch announced that Adobe would be the 1st one to build the same kind of tools for HTML5. In fact, they've already built HTML5 + CSS3 support for Dreamweaver [adobe.com].

        As for video, there's a good reason Flash exploded on the net long before it had the capability to play videos, so don't expect alternative video players to end it either.

        Heck, I heard even Blizzard used Flash for certain parts of Starcraft 2's UI. [citation needed]
        • by naz404 ( 1282810 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:58AM (#33300944) Homepage
          Two atoms were walking down a street.

          One of them goes: "Stop! I think I just lost an electron!"

          "Are you sure?"

          "Yeah, I'm positive!"
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:36AM (#33301552)

          Wake me up when Microsoft comes up with a tool that allows non-coder graphic designers or animators to create entire apps in Silverlight with the same ease that you can with Flash.

          Wake me up when Adobe or Microsoft (or anyone, for that mater) comes up with a tool that allows non-coder graphic designers or animators to create entire apps that don't take up huge amounts of bandwidth, don't run like drunk turtles, and don't reinvent ever UI widget under the sun (including label text.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by machxor ( 1226486 )

          Wake me up when Microsoft comes up with a tool that allows non-coder graphic designers or animators to create entire apps in Silverlight with the same ease that you can with Flash.

          The assumption that a non-coder can code an application (using any tool/language/whatever) is exactly why the web is littered with crappy web sites and applications that don't work like they should.

          People have skills in particular areas and need to recognize that and know when to ask for help. For instance I have a knack for coding but not graphics/design. So when I'm coding up a new web application I go search for a template/designer/whatever I need to fill the gap in my skill set.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gbjbaanb ( 229885 )

            whoa. hold on there.

            you're saying we have crappy GUI webapps, and the reason they are so crappy is because a designer (ie a non-coder) created them and not a programmer.

            If there's one thing I know, its this: Never let a programmer create any form of GUI.

            In an ideal world, we'd have design separate from the code... but then, in that same world we'd have de-coupled GUIs from applications, and DB code in the DB, written by DBAs!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:06AM (#33300216)
      A guy walks into a bar and sees a dog lying in the corner licking his balls. He turns to the bartender and says, "Boy, I wish I could do that."

      The Bartender replies, "You'd better try petting him first."
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Andrewkov ( 140579 )

      Which one would you choose? That's like asking if you would prefer a punch in the face or a kick in the groin.

    • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:29AM (#33300488)
      A Microsoft developer and an Adobe developer walk into a bar. Neither one lost their iPhone prototype.
    • Insert your own joke here.

      How do you stop a dog from shagging your leg?

      Suck it off first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sockatume ( 732728 )


  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:55AM (#33300114)

    Which one should you choose?

    The one with the largest tits? No, wait, that's for assistants.

    I don't fricking care as long as the page works? Yep, that's the one for the devs.

  • Neither.
    • Absolutely (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Casandro ( 751346 )

      At the moment it's better to wait than to use any of those two. They both have no long-term future.

      However if you only have a short term project and you really need something _now_, Flash is just somewhat more availiable.

      • Re:Absolutely (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gaspyy ( 514539 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:26AM (#33300452)

        "Somewhat" is an understatement.
        Flash is ubiquitous. You'd be hard-pressed to find a computer without it. With Silverlight, MS had to pay developers to build something with it and in many cases (NYTimes) thy still abandoned it. The availability is 98% Flash, 5-10% Silverlight.

        As for waiting, HTML5 and strong support is years away. Don't be fooled by "Browser X scores 100/100 on Acid 3" -- I am working on a HTML5/CSS3 project right now and all browsers have major rendering bugs and omissions, most of them documented (aliasing for transformed objects, no clipping in some instances when border-radius is used and many more).

        Even ignoring older versions of IE, developing any complex app for Firefox, Webkit and Opera is still a daunting task.

        "HTML5" may be the newest buzzword, much like "ajax" and "web 2.0" but the reality is in many many cases Flash would give better results in less time and with broader reach.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The only reason Silverlight has any install base at all is that Microsoft pushed it out through Windows Update.

    • by JasterBobaMereel ( 1102861 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:21AM (#33301284)

      Flash is for Flash Video - Will soon (Hopefully) be redundant

      Silverlight is for .....we nothing really

      Both are blocked on all my browsers, Flash with Flashblock so I can play video when I want, Silverlight by not installing it ...

      Games are better played on the PC not in a browser, and I would not trust Silverlight with a Windows Machine, and it does not work properly on any other

  • by bemenaker ( 852000 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:56AM (#33300122)
    I would go with Flash just because most people have it. The install base is substantially higher than silverlight.
    • What? A serious answer?

      I agree with you. Just coz I'm a google fanboi.

    • by jijacob ( 943393 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#33300152) Homepage
      Silverlight has absolutely abysmal support on Linux. Seems like the only Silverlight applications that are actually publicly use stuff not included in Moonlight. Flash may use what seems like an unnecessary amount of CPU, but at least it works. Booting a VM just to watch online video hardly seems worth it when there are other easier (less legal) alternatives.
      • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:05AM (#33300214)
        Silverlight has abysmal support on WINDOWS! I have all the dev tools installed and certain Microsoft pages still ask me to install silverlight when I visit them.
        • by ma3382 ( 1095011 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:03AM (#33301012)
          When I was developing a Silverlight 2.0 application almost two years ago, we had something similiar to this issue when (I believe) your plugin version did not match the version of Silverlight coded for. More specifically, when Silverlight 3 was available/installed it would complain to us to install Silverlight, when in reality we should have been downgrading to continue supporting our Silverlight 2.0 app.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Agreed. Seems like basically anything using features above Silverlight 2 doesn't work in Moonlight, e.g. Netflix or kivabank.org
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drewness ( 85694 )

          Agreed. Seems like basically anything using features above Silverlight 2 doesn't work in Moonlight, e.g. Netflix or kivabank.org

          Netflix is a (somewhat) special problem. Microsoft won't license the Silverlight DRM library to Novell for implementation in Moonlight. Novell is still trying to convince them, but no luck yet.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:47AM (#33301736)
        Silverlight has absolutely abysmal support on Linux. Seems like the only Silverlight applications that are actually publicly use stuff not included in Moonlight.

        Which is why Moonlight was doomed to fail from the get go. The devs could implement the thing perfectly and it still wouldn't play the DRM'd content that most Silverlight sites actually use it for. So that is more or less that.

        Silverlight as a concept is sound and in many ways more desirable than Flash. e.g. you can write proper multithreaded apps in Silverlight. It's too bad it's firmly stuck to one platform and any claims it works on others are just a bad joke.

  • WebGL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by advance-software ( 1770510 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:57AM (#33300130) Homepage

    Ummm ... how are either of the above better than WebGL + natively JIT compiled Javascript ?

    • Re:WebGL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#33300154)

      how are either of the above better than WebGL + natively JIT compiled Javascript ?

      A catchier name.

    • Firefox 3 doesn't support WebGL, and Firefox 4 isn't due out until November according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia's article about Safari doesn't even mention WebGL. Requiring Internet Explorer users to install Chrome Frame for its WebGL and JavaScript engine is just as much a logistical barrier as requiring them to install Silverlight.
      • Firefox 3 doesn't support WebGL

        Really? It works for me, although you need to use the non-standard namespace because it currently only implements a draft (Firefox 3.6).

        Wikipedia's article about Safari doesn't even mention WebGL

        It's in the WebKit nightly builds. I think it's in the latest shipping Safari, but only enabled if you write a user defaults value you enable it.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          It works for me, although you need to use the non-standard namespace because it currently only implements a draft (Firefox 3.6).

          What might this namespace be called, so that I can Google it? I tried Google searches for firefox 3.6 webgl and firefox 3.6 webgl namespace but neither appeared to produce relevant results.

          It's in the WebKit nightly builds.

          This page, last updated a week ago [learningwebgl.com], states that that only Snow Leopard supports this version of WebKit. Users of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) aren't likely to buy a copy of 10.6 (Snow Leopard) just to see your site.

          I'm guessing that in the short run, WebGL apps will have to use a layer written in JavaScript that implements

    • Aside from not being vector based, WebGL and Javascript are pretty low level compared to flash and silverlight. There's the question of, "what technology will allow me to animate X across the screen and react to input?", and there's the question of, "what technology will my development team be able to use?". The intersection of those domains are valid for your project.

      Flash and silverlight are usable by a lot of people, some of which really have no business coding. WebGL is going to demand a higher calibe
  • by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#33300144)

    Neither one. Given the prices they are asking, particularly for upgrades after they have their hooks into you. You might as well sign over a significant percentage of your annual income over to their CEO's retirement package as you become an indentured developer.

    Better for the community to seek and develop Open Source Solutions with equivalent functionality via web service architectures. Given the way the global economy and the environment upon which it is based is headed, we need cheaper and more efficient solutions, not ever more expensive ones that lock developers in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples ( 727027 )

      Given the prices they are asking

      There exists free software to produce rich Internet applications for all three platforms: Flash Player, Silverlight, and HTML5. Yes, you do need a Windows license to test your RIA properly, but if you rely on your web site to pay for food and rent in a developed country, $300 every three years is chump change.

      Better for the community to seek and develop Open Source Solutions with equivalent functionality

      You mean like haXe and Gnash for Flash Player, MonoDevelop and Moonlight for Silverlight, and Firefox with developer extensions for HTML5?

  • Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#33300146) Journal

    Which one should you choose?

    HTML 5. Until that's finalized, I luckily don't require any of the features these two hold as RIAs (like Video). And, if I had the need for video, I would only evaluate these two on their video capabilities and only use it for that component on my content. And since neither of them list Ogg Theora in their codecs on this review and that's what browsers I care about support so far in HTML 5, I'd have to weigh storing videos in multiple codecs ... everyone's really done such a good job of making me just not want to think about video right now as a web developer. I guess I suffer from video anxiety.

    Side note: Anyone else find that these *world sites release similar yet different articles daily [infoworld.com]?

    • HTML 5

      Viewing HTML5 properly on Windows requires either A. installing the Google Chrome Frame BHO for Internet Explorer or B. installing another web browser. I'd estimate that far more PC users have Flash Player installed than Chrome Frame.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jellomizer ( 103300 )

        Also to add that most Modern Commercial Web developers are more concerned about having computability across browsers then any Open vs closed standard. Being that Microsoft is dragging on HTML 5 support most will stay with flash as it will do what they need functionally. While supporting and working with 99.99% of the user base.

        Flash works for Linux, Windows, Mac, and even for some other Unixes (how ever may not be the most updated). And for IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari. All in all a good choice.

      • I'd estimate that far more PC users have Flash Player installed than use Internet Explorer.


    • Re:Neither (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:36AM (#33300580) Homepage

      Fine, HTML 5. HTML 5 is great, we can all agree on that. Now which video codec? The one nice thing about Silverlight and Flash is that they're, more or less, all inclusive packages. HTML 5 relies on too many outside variables ATM to make it viable. The openness of HTML 5 is a blessing and a curse. We still need Silverlight and Flash for the time being for the 75% of the market who's never heard of a codec. The road to HTML 5 is going to be an ugly and bloody one...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rockoon ( 1252108 )

        Fine, HTML 5. HTML 5 is great, we can all agree on that. Now which video codec?

        Flash provides DRM
        Silverlight provides DRM.
        HTML5 does not provide DRM.

        The codec is the one with DRM, so that rules out H.264, Theora, and WebM. Got any in mind?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by naz404 ( 1282810 )
          Big networks and hollywood studios will not release a lot of their content for streaming on the web without DRM protection. As much as we hate DRM, content producers & clients demand it.

          Sorry, gotta pay the bills. In its current form, native HTML5 browser media players are no solution.
    • Right now, there aren't any HTML5 methods of embedding live video. Apple's got HTTP Live Streaming, but it isn't a standard or universally supported.

      HTML5 is great, but we need to be very, very, very careful of fragmentation [alistapart.com] and non-standard features.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      I know this is going to piss on the HTML5 love-fest, but for those of us who *do* need web video (especially interactive video), Flash is still the most efficient and well-deployed way to go. Fanaticism can't change reality.
  • Which one should you choose?

    I know which choice I'm making - HTML5.

  • JavaFX (Score:3, Funny)

    by mattwrock ( 1630159 ) <mattwrock@gmail.com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:03AM (#33300190)
    I know there is a Java bias here, but as a Swing developer JavaFX really rocks. I like that I can do the same things as Adobe and Microsoft, but code in my preferred language. The enterprise tools are coming out now, but the ability to animate objects easily makes you think out of the box for some applications. If you are a Java guy, check it out!
    • I know there is a Java bias here

      Well, yes, in the same way there is a Microsoft or COBOL bias, i.e. a strongly negative one.

  • by dmgxmichael ( 1219692 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:03AM (#33300194) Homepage
    I know the W3C is slow, but even they can't take 15 years to complete a spec I should hope. HTML 4 was completed in 3 years, as was HTML 3. (2 and 1 I don't believe where ever formalized). If they do take that long then they will have long since ceased to be relevant.
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:15AM (#33301190)

      Between HTML 4 being published and HTML 5's beginnings, the W3C changed their process. What used to be called a Recommendation (the level HTML 4 reached) is now called Candidate Recommendation. In order for a specification to reach Recommendation status now, it has to have two interoperable implementations. That means waiting for browsers to fully implement it in a reasonably bug-free way. HTML 4 didn't have that final barrier to overcome before it was published as a final recommendation, but HTML 5 does. That's why the final publication date is so far off. HTML 5 is expected to reach Candidate Recommendation status - the level of maturity that was required of HTML 4 before it was considered "finished" - in 2012. So if you are comparing HTML 5's maturity to HTML 4's, then 2012 is the date you should be using for HTML 5, not 2022.

  • WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:04AM (#33300198) Journal
    This is like comparing shit with corn in it, vs. shit with peanuts in it. Which one would *you* rather eat?
    • This is like comparing shit with corn in it, vs. shit with peanuts in it. Which one would *you* rather eat?

      As good as an analogy as that is ... I'm not sure I can finish my peanut butter toast anymore.

      That's just wrong.

    • I dunno, which one is Flash? The one with corn? Then please serve me some of that.

  • magazine excerpt? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DriveDog ( 822962 )

    Sounds like it came straight from a magazine that worships only those spending on ads. I vote neither, but rather to look forward and leave the fossils for future archaeologists to study or laugh about. Seriously, just because it's an ad for both MS and Adobe doesn't mean it isn't an ad.

  • AJAX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:06AM (#33300220)

    Plain old HTML plus AJAX where required, plus whatever parts of HTML5 are working now = superior functionality when compared to Flash/Silverlight, except if you are youtube or a pornsite.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by terjeber ( 856226 )

      For simplistic websites, sure. Works like a charm. Developing a major LOB app that has to deal with entity state, client state etc, doing it in JavaScript/AJAX and HTML would be suicidal at best. The functionality simply isn't there, and you'd be insane to try it.

      The vast majority of SW development is in-house apps that cater to very specific LOB needs. For those apps, Silverlight is the optimal choice if you have control of the environment, and Flash/Flex if you need to share with the general world outside

  • Use standard HTML for as much as possible. Complement the rest with flash.

    If you choose Silverlight you'll exclude automatically all platforms which are not Windows mainstream (Vista and 7). Flash is well supported about everywhere.

    I'm typing this on a Ubuntu workstation with Chrome. No Silverlight available here.

    • And to add to that, moonlight 1.0 couldn't do a lot of stuff supported by Silverlight. Even if you installed moonlight on ubuntu as a way to try to view silverlight websites, it just didn't work. Rumor was Moonlight 2.0 was "near release" and would most likely fix the issues I was personally encountering, but I never bothered to try again.
  • JavaFX (Score:5, Funny)

    by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:18AM (#33300342)


  • It's time for html5. flash and silverlight need to assimilate each other and take their closed-source security nightmares with them.
  • by inshreds ( 1813596 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:38AM (#33300620)
    CmdrTaco, I am stunned to see such a biased and ridiculously slanted summary coming from your desk. Come on... “both combine...strong client support”? Are you kidding? Silverlight only runs fully featured enabled on Windows. Mac users suffer sub-par SilverLight performance due to issues with hardware acceleration, Linux users are left in the cold, and even the Windows technology has an awful track record. Let's take two large rollouts of SilverLight for example: Major League Baseball and Netflix Instant Play.

    MLB: It does not take long to see that MLB had such an uproar of customer complaints about SilverLight that the MS player was quickly “benched”: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10212843-93.html [cnet.com]

    Netflix: The Netflix subsidized SilverLight player has resulted in an absolute flood of complains and a continual stream of glitches: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10199350-56.html [cnet.com] http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/03/netflix-updates/ [wired.com]

    Of course, being that this is /., I would think the fact that SilverLight does not play on any open players or Linux distributions would be enough to reject this summary's premise alone. Flash, in spite of all the horrendous attributes inherent in that technology, at least actually plays on most platforms and mobile devices. Thus, I respectfully disagree with your primary assertion that these two technologies are even on the same playing field.
    • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:02AM (#33301938) Homepage Journal

      Funny, I have only ever had a handful of issues with the netflix player, and those I'm pretty sure were attributed to other aspects of the machine (likely a temperature related failure).

      Jumping over to Flash though, to watch the Daily Show, or anything through Boxie or Hulu, I get choppy play back, or the video drops out, or I have to try to skip ahead a second after the player hangs coming back from a commercial. Total pain in the ass. My favorite is when the Flash player crashes the tab in IE8, so IE tries to restore the tab, which fires up the Flash player, that crashes the tab... and the cycle continues until I bring up the task manager and kill IE. Pure win.

      The MLB jump was totally expected. At that point they were using SL2, which was really SL1.1 with a name change so people wouldn't associate it with SL1, that used an entirely different system (SL1 was basically a XAML rendering plug in that depended on JS for everything). SL2 was the first iteration of SL to use the Silverlight Framework (a trimmed down version of the .Net framework).

      It was too much, too early. And I would expect the exact same failure if the MLB attempted to make the same transition to Flash version 2 or to HTML5 today. They would have been much, much better off waiting for another year and getting SL3 out, THEN trying to crack into the bigger markets.


  • Wow... are those the only choices? No!

    Javascript and HTML do well in a modern browser. That is the first choice.

    Flash would be the second choice, that at least has multiple platforms it can run on. You only exclude the iCrap...

    Silverlight? NOT the 3rd choice. The third choice is Java (and I hate Java). It is multiplatform but developing for it requires you to be a Java Developer and that is a bridge too far.

    Silverlight would be behind Hypercard, RealPlayer, Quicktime and other things that
  • I choose neither. I did not buy a 3+ ghz quad core processor to run a crippled web application.
    I do not need a RIA environment to run rudimentary word processors or spreadsheets, plain old HTML form controls would get the job done if I was desperate.
    Google mail is doing just fine as is and is about the only Web application I run.
    But just like the last 20 years, the mass public will run around with its head cut off about how the web will take over everything, which it hasn't and never will. Jeesh, remembe
  • Well this is the obviously (on slashdot) the unpopular choice, but I would say Silverlight. Maybe I say this because I work on a SL product. The fact is, HTML5 would be preferred (for cross platform), but it's hardly fully supported, and more importantly the project I work on is an enterprise application that has over 20 developers. Good luck co-ordinating an HTML5 effort like that. And Flash? Ya right. And while we could have done ASP.NET/ajax, it didn't have the kind of interactivity and "nice-looking" we

  • Flash of course. Freddie Mercury never wrote a song called Silverlight.

  • A number of years ago the question was whether or not to use Flash. Flash may have become more ubiquitous since then but those arguments are still relevant. Do you favor pop/sizzle over accessibility/compatibility. Should you have valid reasons to go with pop/sizzle, then the question becomes one of Flash or Silverlight.

    My hope is that HTML5 will render the pop/sizzle question meaningless as you could have sufficient pop/sizzle with something that is both accessible and compatible.

    As it stands, if yo
  • Going through, I'm shocked at how many blind idealists who's answers are basically one of two things:

    Neither, because they don't do X the way I like.
    Neither, because they aren't free.
    Neither, because HTML 5 will be mo' better.

    As George Thorogood said "Get a haircut and get a real job"

    If you work for a BUSINESS and that business is interested in making MONEY you are going to pick a platform and get to work. No business worth it's EIN is going to say, oh, lets just wait until this other product is finalized

  • by terjeber ( 856226 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:53AM (#33301810)

    For major LOB apps, the kind that needs to keep state on the client to a degree, the kind that deals with data from a large number of data sources, say Oracle plus a couple of WebService servers integrating some financial data from a IBM system-i solution etc, the choice is IMNSHO rather easy. You go with Silverlight. If it is internal.

    Typically such apps are developed by moderate sized, or even small-ish development teams who have no need to deploy outside of the corporate network. Silverlight has, by a decent margin at 4.0, the upper hand on Flash. The tools and the programming language are simply better - maintaining C# code is far easier than maintaining Actionscript code. C# is basically just Java, to the degree that you can almost copy and paste Java and compile it with a C# compiler (not that I recommend that, there are things you'd miss that you should make use of in C#).

    Some people would recommend you do this in Javascript/AJAX etc, they are insane or have never developed a serious LOB app. You really, really should not even try. GWT makes it a little less painful, but only a little so. There are still a significant amount of differences between browsers, even when compiled by GWT to browser-specific Javascript, to make GWT a maintenance nightmare.

    Flash/Flex (haven't moved on to the latest one) is good if you need to integrate with the external world. For suppliers and partners you can just mandate Silverlight, but for the general public you should go with Flash. On the other hand, if your app exposed to the general world is of a high complexity with client state management etc, you might want to re-think the approach in general.

  • by amn108 ( 1231606 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @01:03PM (#33303566)

    For those who don't read subject line:

    Silverlight 4 only 'runs' on Microsoft Windows. Moonlight goes as far as supporting Silverlight 2.0 specs, and even that is flaky - no DRM support (don't bitch about it to me, bitch about it to content developers deploying it), some parts of API is missing, codecs have to be downloaded manually and more funk. Compare that to Flash Player, a similar and similarly abused technology, but one which works on most platforms today without a lot of funky quirks. I would know, I write Flash Player applications on Ubuntu.

    In a nutshell: Silverlight is not even in the same league as Flash, as far as adoptance and platform support is concerned. Microsoft is also out of touch with reality and it is my opinion that they should not be depended upon when it comes to "enriching" the Web, but I have elaborated on this before, so I am not going to repeat myself.

    In fact the whole article sounds (didn't say it in fact is) like someones desperate pitch to bring peoples attention back to Silverlight, as if it is already forgotten. Which it should be, because there is at least one wrong thing with it - the abovementioned platform support, which I believe will not catch up anyway. Things just go too fast these days, if you are not on top after a year, scrap it and redirect dire resources elsewhere.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Silverlight 4 only 'runs' on Microsoft Windows.

      No, it also runs on Mac OS X.

      And Linux? The global stats for desktop Linux users on the web are still on the order of 1%. Of course, it may be different for a particular task - you may be writing an internal app for an all-Linux shop, for example - but it's certainly not a reasonable argument for most scenarios.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.