Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor, Trevor Parsons, Sandi Mappic, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Silverlight, Java, Wireless, ColdFusion, .NET, Adobe Flex, SYS-CON MEDIA, AJAX & REA, AJAXWorld RIA Conference & Expo, iPhone, iPhone Developer Summit 2008 East

Silverlight: Article

Is the Silverlight Adoption Rate Artificially Inflated?

Silverlight 2.0 is a phenomenal RIA development environment, above and beyond Flex can ever be

First, a brief history of Silverlight to date:

1. Silverlight 1.0 comes out. It's essentially XAML that you can manipulate with JavaScript. The developer community issued a massive collective "meh" in response. In other words, nobody writing code actually gave much of crap. Sure, there was some people who loved it, but everybody else was like.."XAML.. but no CLR support. No data binding. No controls. No networking. WTF is this crap?"

2. Silverlight 1.1 comes out. Now we have XAML and CLR backing to manipulate the XAML and do "real" programming. Still no controls, still no databinding, still no templates or styles or resource dictionaries. Oh, and networking sucked pretty badly as well, as the best you could hope for was same-domain HTTP access. Small consolation was that we got an Astoria client for this version of Silverlight 1.1. Developers now were basically thinking "OK. Silverlight still sucks, but it if they add what we want, it will not suck anymore."

3. Silverlight 2.0. Despite being called 2.0, this is what we're thinking of as the first real version of Silverlight. It contains data binding, template support, resource dictionaries, multiple modes of networking support including sockets, the ability to do cross-domain networking (not trivial, but still do-able), and more. I'm sure some people were excited about Python and Ruby support in Silverlight 2.0, but I really was focused on Silverlight 2.0 with C#.

So, that's where we are today. Microsoft is now also claiming that they're measuring the downloads per day in the  millions (may not be accurate, that's just what I remember from the last Channel 9 video I watched). Partners have been popping up everywhere and people are using Silverlight applications for what looks like everything under the sun. The problem is that this thriving partner community is a little misleading.

Everything from the Oscars to huge websites and the upcoming Olympics in China seems to be coming out in Silverlight nowadays. The problem I have with this is that these really can't be used as effective case studies because they would be, in my opinion, biased. Microsoft essentially approaches these people who have huge reach on the Internet. They then send in consultants or MS people in droves to actually write the Silverlight app for the new partner (or cooperate with their existing dev team), and then provide financial incentives for being a flagship Silverlight adopter.

On one side of the coin, we all know that in order for an RIA framework to gain huge public following, it needs critical mass. It needs to be a control on the page of a significant percentage of a person's daily visited sites like Flash is for most people. To do this, Microsoft essentially develops these apps with partners almost like they were marketing campaigns. The site's already huge existing customer base hits the site one day and all of a sudden everybody is prompted to download the Silverlight control.

So here's the thing. Silverlight 2.0 is a freaking phenominal RIA development environment and I would actually, at this point, put the development experience in Silverlight 2.0 above and beyond Flex. I can do more faster and have it look better and run more efficiently in Silverlight 2.0 than I can in Flex. BUT, when you're looking for case studies, look for ones where the person or organization who adopted Silverlight did so of their own volition, without being approached by Microsoft. I'm interested in hardcore, unbiased opinions from people who have been in the trenches doing their own coding, not watching Microsoft consultants do the coding for them. There are plenty of case studies like that out there, you just have to look past the shiny bouncing balls that are the Olympics and the Oscars and all the other crap that probably cost Microsoft a hojillion dollars in marketing funds and incentives.

Also, for the conspiracy theorists in the crowd: How quickly do you think Silverlight adoption would've risen if MSFT had finished the Yahoo! takeover and then put a ban/moritorium on Flash use within Yahoo properties?

So - go get Silverlight 2.0 and do some coding on your own. You'll find that it's a fantastically powerful and easy to use RIA development platform. There are things it does well, and things that need work - those things you're likely to find out by reading blog posts, forums, and through your own experience and not by listening to case studies that are essentially bought and paid for by Microsoft.

tags:          
links: digg this  del.icio.us  technorati  reddit

More Stories By Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Steve Wortham 10/21/09 11:31:00 AM EDT

For what it's worth, I built Regex Hero in Silverlight without any incentive from Microsoft. Of course, my goal from the beginning was to create a .NET regex tester, and Flash or Flex wouldn't have worked so well for that. But I've also done Flash development for years and I wrote about my opinion of each recently.

radixweb 08/22/08 02:17:34 AM EDT

Interesting Post......

Java Consultants......

Tom Van den Eynde 04/19/08 07:25:06 PM EDT

Maybe you can code faster in Silverlight than in Flex but being someone familiar with both worlds: Flex is available, tested, deployable, sexier AND allows you to deliver a solution faster.

Anonymous 04/05/08 12:57:25 AM EDT

Dude, you are so right. I think SL has tons of potential, but I get tired having to filter out the hype. Please more posts like this about SL that tell it like it is! It would be interesting to hear what these "partners" say about SL's real pluses and minuses, off the record, after a few beers.

Silverlight News Desk 04/03/08 02:16:58 PM EDT

Silverlight 2.0 is a freaking phenominal RIA development environment and I would actually, at this point, put the development experience in Silverlight 2.0 above and beyond Flex.

@ThingsExpo Stories

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.