Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Choosing Silverlight

The internet is abuzz because Microsoft’s Silverlight was chosen to stream the Presidential Inauguration today.  Some open source people are complaining that “the popular and/or open source alternative” should have been chosen.

I don’t know of any OSS alternative, so I’m going to assume they mean Flash.

Flash is crap.  I spent a day learning it and it’s horrible.  I felt like I was becoming stupider while working in it in this class I took from an Adobe representative.  If I had a site with a lot of Flash, I’d start porting everything to Silverlight as soon as possible. 

Silverlight is technically superior to Flash.  The primary language is C#, not actionscript.  The development environment is Visual Studio – so basically the best out there.  You can even write client side code in IronPython or IronRuby.   The only thing I’d say Silverlight is missing out on is the animation aspect that Videoworks Macromind Director Shockwave Flash is good at.  The Expression Blend tool is just not as fleshed out yet as Flash is for doing animation.  And Silverlight is missing H.264.

Anyway, don’t you think that our government should be deciding on its suppliers based on merit?  Do we no longer live in a society that believes in encouraging creation of and using the best tool for the job, or did they outlaw that with the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule?


Anonymous said...

Interesting, I hadn't thought about Flash being open now. That gives Adobe the ability to say Flash is open, even though right now they have the only viable implementation.

What I find most annoying about the way Flash and Silverlight are generally used is that they're often used because of the complete control they give to the author, which means that the user has little or no control over the experience, including lacking any way to make the damn thing shut up. Too many things are done in Silverflash that could have just been less annoyingly in plain HTML.

Trimbo said...

Can't quite agree with you there.

I'll agree with one thing... I hate going to a website for simple text information where the entire thing is one big flash panel that takes a bunch of time to load. Yes, I find that annoying because all I wanted was some text.

But I don't agree that apps are better in the browser. Take Gmail. I can't type a tab in an email as I type it. Right now, in this comment box on Blogger, I can accidentally hit control-backspace or the back button on my mouse and lose all of my typing since drafts aren't saved. These are straight up usability problems with apps developed using DHTML inside of the browser. Not to mention that rendering between platforms and browsers is consistently inconsistent.

When .NET was introduced I was hoping Microsoft was going to do something like Silverlight with it. I'd like to see a reasonable platform for the web develop that has some semblence of standards that others can implement. As it stands right now, implementing a truly compliant browser seems like something we'll never see (or people will never use). Whereas the fact that Moonlight was able to stream the inauguration today on Linux and Mac gives me some hope that the OSS world will, in fact, be able to keep up with Silverlight reasonably to make it a standard with a good, free implementation.