Silverlight: Features and Future - A Brief Analysis

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Friday, February 6, 2009

There’s been much fuss about Silverlight, Microsoft’s web browser plugin. On most talks I find it as a hot technology that seems to be the future of web and even an most likely runtime alternative for present day OS-es. It’s as if this web app was just in time to take the client business apps to new heights. Well, It’s hard to deny facts that its a rich application with best navigation characteristics and deployment. Still what bugs is how could this small fry be the future of computing.

With an zing for convergence, two emerging trends in the industry have found an answer in Silverlight. The first drift seems the next big thing that would supersede the current world wide web and the second trend is a the progressive cogitation to drift from the hardware and conceivably the Operating System.

I’ll discuss the developments in two parts - first the features and then the  future.

Silverlight Features

Let’s go with its features to make out more about Silverlight

Independent of Windows

Silverlight overtures in another feature that is it’s independent of Windows. So its possible to instantly establish interaction with other clients. It’s great to have it working across Windows versions without hitch ups.

Support for .NET

Clearly what stands out for Silverlight is the additional interactivity features and support for .NET languages and development tools. It integrates multimedia, graphics, animations and interactivity into a single runtime environment.

Compatible with Mobile Devices

It can do with multiple browsers products that are used on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. More so Silverlight is also compatible with mobile devices like Windows Mobile 6 and Symbian (series 60) phones.

Meeting Cross-platform Requirements

For those dealing with government often have cross-platform requirements laid out either the market or by law. The Silverlight gives them the option to to use .NET to run apps on the MAC. So you can switch between Windows and MAC.

Is Silverlight the Future OS

For so many reasons, Silverlight(with Mesh and Azure) seems Microsoft’s future WizKid to revolutionize Computing. So we can expect a runtime that might make a browser or even the Windows/Mac/Linux desktop extraneous. For the average users relying on core OS, The Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) that can be deployed in a deskop or hosted in a browser, could still remain a solution.

There’s a two point abstraction that’s making Silverlight a hot property. On one end there’s a rising demand to obsolete the OS and on the other end its the prescient approach to the evolution of the web itself.

Thorns on The Bed of Roses

With so much talk Silverlight still has competitors to beat. Most arguably the Flash/Flex/Air but then the Silverlight allows an ambit for .NET developers to leverage their existing skills. Google’s Gear seems a valid competitor. With chrome in tandem with Gears, Google’s anticipating the browser itself to be the next OS. But still that also requires a new start leaving behind the already acquired .NET skills. Silverlight clearly deems a dark horse that could edge its adversary without notice.

March 17, 2009: 12:41 pm

[...] on interoperability and comes up with first of its kind where the free and open source Eclipse and Microsoft Silverlight go hand in hand for eclipse4sl. So very simply you can now develop silverlight apps if you are an [...]

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