Mink Machine

Silverlight dominates at MIX07

The MIX conference is currently held in Las Vegas, just as last year. The reports are pouring in and they mostly contain the word “Silverlight” in one way or another.

Flash is the most popular choice for graphics-intense presentations on the web today. It’s great for non-technical bosses who judge success by counting moving objects in a precompiled movie, but developers doing fairly advanced stuff have to fight with Actionscript and debugging in a less than perfect environment.

Silverlight provides a way out for Microsoft-centric developers. Simply write code-behind calls in C# or another CLR language just as you already do with your ASP.NET stuff today. Among other things, this makes data access a lot easier than the dirty plumbing that Flash requires of developers. Ever been tearing your hair away while trying to debug Actionscript? By using Silverlight in Orcas we can debug code on the client as well as on the server.

In addition to all this we have the CoreCLR that powers the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha, as well as the new DLR with support for Ruby, Python and more. Silverlight is also bridging the gap between JavaScript and CLR code, which in other words enables the CLR code to manipulate the DOM. Confusing? Scott Hanselman has a nice schematic picture and there is also a developer reference chart. Silverlight will also be available on Linux.

I’ve heard interviews with people claiming “it’s world changing” and “The day Microsoft rebooted the Web”. As always, these kinds of statements are intended to create a marketing hype, but the fact remains: Now we have managed code in the browser. It will definitely affect the future for all ActionScripties and JavaScripties out there. Good or bad? You decide.


  • avatar
    04 May, 2007

    Just when the Web where heading into a system independent, browser independant form, Microsoft comes and tries to shoot that trend down. No way that Silverlight will work as well on non-Windows/IE platforms as they will on Windows/IE. *sigh* They will behave very well for the first couple of years, since they have zero market share, but when they have gotten 60-70 per cent, things will … change.

  • avatar
    04 May, 2007

    There are lots of people who recommend building accessible, standards-compliant web sites, and I am one of them.
    Unfortunately, there are 100 times that number of people who shouts for advanced interactivity, flashing animations and desktop-like behaviour. Microsoft is simply giving people what they want, and developers tend to use new tools from Microsoft without giving any thought to the consequences of their actions.

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