Feeds

Silverlight 2.0: killer features, no Flash killer

Open, with limitations

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Web bling tone Microsoft's Silverlight 2.0, released this month for Windows and Mac, is a tipping point. This is the version that gives developers the features they have long been waiting for, including a cross-platform implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework.

Microsoft will use its massive Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles, California, this week to introduce a small army of developers who'd been using beta code to the finished product. Before we look at what's inside Silverlight 2.0, and its importance, it's worth seeing how far Microsoft's browser-based media player has come in such a short time and what Microsoft is aiming for.

Silverlight's progress has been fast. It was announced almost as an afterthought by former platforms group vice president Jim Allchin at Microsoft's last PDC, in September 2005. "We're introducing something called WPF/E, the Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere. This is very early work," he said.

Six months later, at the first ReMIX conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Microsoft revealed that WPF/E would also include the .NET runtime. Silverlight 1.0, the JavaScript release, appeared in September 2007 and a year later we have the full thing. It seems that Silverlight has enjoyed priority treatment by Microsoft.

The reason is likely to do with the rise of Adobe Systems' Flash Player and the trend towards cloud computing. Microsoft did not worry much about Flash when it was a decorative thing with a "skip the intro" button, but when it started running applications, that was different. The story begins around 2000, when a company called WebVertising Inc created a new version of an online booking system called iHotelier, using Macromedia Flash 5.

Its innovation was the user did not need to click between pages to make a booking: everything happened on one screen, just like a desktop application. Jim Whitney, WebVertising chief technology officer (CTO) at the time, told me: "I was building the project, and searching on questions and finding no answers, and I started to think, maybe no one is really doing this. I was forced to just work it out."

A phrase is born

Whitney's efforts chimed exactly with the direction the then Macromedia was planning for Flash MX, and his application became a showpiece for what that company's CTO Jeremy Allaire started calling "rich internet applications" or RIAs.

The world took little notice at first, but now it is 2008, developers are trying to figure out how to make browser-based applications more compelling and useful, and Flash turns out to be an excellent fit, iPhone users excepted. Silverlight is Microsoft's answer. Now .NET developers can code RIAs without leaving the comfort of C# or Visual Basic.

Let us be clear though: although both Flash and Silverlight address the same territory, in some ways they are worlds apart. I write this shortly after reviewing Adobe's Creative Suite 4, which targets the new Flash Player 10. From a designer's perspective, Adobe's tools are far ahead of Microsoft's Expression Blend, the design tool for Silverlight - and they run on the Mac, too.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.