There's considerable hype around Microsoft's new Silverlight technology. It's high time that Microsoft came up with a counter to Flash and also put its money where its mouth is (remember MSN uses Flash Video, not Windows Media).

But it has drawbacks:
  • It's immature and therefore is likely to lack features and have bugs
  • The installed base within web agencies has invested considerably in Flash technologies
  • The technology currently doesn't support cross domain serving for security reasons, so you can't serve ads from networks such as, er... Microsoft's Atlas system
  • It only works on Intel Macs (60% of Macs are non-Intel)
  • You have to develop in an unfriendly environment and need low level programming experience
  • It doesn't support H.264
In three or four years I'm sure the technology will catch up with Adobe's, but for now, with the new H.264 support, I'd plump for Flash any day.

Please see the comments section for a good counter-argument.


Anonymous said…
I agree that we will probably experience(are actually experiencing) some bugs. It also doesn't support H.264

But I have to disagree on couple of points.

Silverlight does support cross domain media serving. It does not allow cross domain redirects for security reasons. So it is possible to serve ads from Microsoft's Atlas - although it depends on the source of the video.
Ad agencies once the redirect issue is resolved do not have to even know about sivlerlight because it can deliver WMV video without any special requirements.

Version 1.0 does work on both Intel and PPC based Macs. Version 1.1 will probably discontinue support for PPC-based Macs. But looking at current trend and the possible release timeframes for version 1.1 (Q3-Q408) the relation Intel vs PPC based Macs may change a lot.

You definitely do not need a low level programming experience with Silverlight 1.0. Basically all it is is a subset of XAML + JavaScript. And programming in Javascript does not differ that much from AcrionScript in Flash. Also there is designer support for XAML with Microsoft Expression Blend product (also for silverlight specific subset of XAML in Blend 2 CTP-s). Also there is Visual Studio 2008 coming that integrates on the solution level with Blend, gives developers JavaScript intelisense and debugging. Therefore designers can work in one tool that they are familiar with and developers in other that they are familiar with. This also gives nice separation of concerns.
Iolo Jones said…
Good points.

But, pretty much all web development is done using Adobe tools. Winning on the web is about critical mass and MS are to late to the game IMHO. MS tools are very cumbersom in comparisom to Adobe's.

However, I do agree that Silverlight is an important technology and, personally, I'm proud that Narrowstep is supporting both technologies. I only wish that Microsoft were more behind the real developers in this technology rather than over-hyped alliances with Brightcove, Skinkers and others. It shows how lost they are as a company.