A Flash of Silverlight? My Analysis.

By now, everyone has heard of Silverlight (previously WPF/E), Microsoft’s answer to the Flash player. There have been a lot of posts on the topic of Flash versus Silverlight, but I thought I would chime in with my own thoughts on the subject. I have not played with Silverlight in much depth, so please feel free to correct me if there are mistakes.

From my perspective, the discussion can be broken into four categories: opportunity, runtime, tools, and intent.


As a professional developer, one of the most important aspects to consider when deciding what technologies to embrace is the opportunities they provide. This includes opportunities for advancement, promotion, and financial recompense for the time you invest to learn the technology.

In the short-term Silverlight offers a lot of opportunity. Microsoft has *really* deep pockets, and in typical MS fashion they are throwing a lot of money around to convince developers that Silverlight is worth learning. I know a number of Flash developers that are currently making decent money working on Silverlight projects that are directly or indirectly funded by Redmond. Adobe simply cannot compete in this respect. They have capital, but not the kind of “buy a small country” cash-on-hand that Microsoft has.

Over the longer term, the underlying knowledge you gain from Silverlight development is applicable to technologies that are unlikely to go away anytime soon (WPF desktop development, for instance). However, if you’re really interested in building cross-platform web interactive, Silverlight’s opportunities largely hinge on its success as a platform, and that depends a lot on the other categories in this discussion.

Summary: Flash may not have the gold rush opportunities of Silverlight, but it is a very entrenched technology (98% installed base, 85%+ for Flash Player 9) that will continue to expand its reach, and offer stable growth in web interactive (and beyond) over a long period. There’s money to be made in Silverlight development right now, but its future is less certain once MS stops throwing money at it. However, it is worth considering that the skills you acquire using Silverlight will be fully applicable to other Microsoft platforms.


Most of the discussion of the two technologies has focused on the capabilities of the virtual machines. This is valid, as the success of a platform will be determined largely by its capabilities, which is a function of the player (AKA runtime, plugin or Virtual Machine). I haven’t done a lot of work with Silverlight, but from my reading, the current 1.0 beta VM is basically a glorified SVG/WM plug-in. It doesn’t support components (AKA controls), doesn’t have a built in language interpreter, and doesn’t have much in the way of exciting features. This is obviously going to change as new versions are released (much of this is in the 1.1 alpha), but Adobe has a huge lead, much more experience with cross-platform development, and a better understanding of the target market.

Plug-in size and availability are also factors. The Flash player, which contains two VMs, and a ton functionality is only 2MB, versus 1.2MB for the anemic Silverlight 1.0 beta plugin (5.3MB MB on the Mac). The 1.1 alpha with dynamic language execution is already up to 4.2MB (10.3MB on the Mac), and I would anticipate that it will expand even more. Size isn’t nearly as big an issue as it was a few years ago, but it still impacts adoption rates. Silverlight will have to be installed manually by Mac users, and as an update for Windows XP users, whereas Linux support is likely a no-go. On the other hand, the Flash player is already on 98% of web-connected computers; has auto-update; is available on Windows, Mac and Linux; and is the most rapidly upgraded software product ever released (in terms of user adoption of new versions).

Summary: Silverlight has a lot of potential in this area if Microsoft can innovate. Unfortunately, I have yet to see evidence that they can, and Adobe has a massive lead, both in terms of capabilities and adoption.


I’ve looked at the Expression suite and I’m impressed. Microsoft has a big advantage in this category. They can learn from Adobe’s mistakes and duplicate their successes. Microsoft also has a lot of experience building really good developer tools, and it shows in their expression tools. Adobe does not have much experience building developer tools (this also shows). Microsoft also got to start fresh with Expression, whereas Adobe has to struggle with ten years of legacy code and workflow in the Flash authoring environment. Adobe is also doing a terrible job integrating their tools to create a cohesive workflow (ex. Flash and Flex).

On the other hand, Microsoft has no experience with designer tools, and virtually no understanding of designers. Their tools will only be available for the Windows platform, which cuts out half the designer market right from the start. At last year’s Microsoft MIX conference, one attendee asked Lynda (of Lynda.com fame) during her session how she would convince designers to switch to Windows so they could work with Expression, her response was that as a Mac user herself, she wouldn’t switch. I applaud Lynda for her honesty, and think it clearly demonstrates the resistance Microsoft will encounter trying to move the creative community onto their tools.

Summary: Microsoft can and will build a better developer toolset, and provide a better story for tool integration. However their unwillingness to support Macs, and their inability to truly understand creativity or designers will be their Achilles heel. Adobe has a deep cultural understanding of the creative process, and experience with cross-platform support that Microsoft can’t match.


While easy to overlook, this is a very important issue. Why is Microsoft building Silverlight? What are their long-term intentions? I can only guess, based on past observations, but Microsoft is pretty consistent in its behaviours, so I don’t think this will be that far off.

Microsoft is notorious for its strategy of jumping into technology sector once it has been proven, throwing a ton of money at it to kill the competition, and then letting the technology stagnate once they have a monopoly. Microsoft also has a long history of abandoning cross-platform support for technologies at a whim. Literally every cross-platform product they offer has been dropped or crippled in some significant way (MAPI in Entourage, IE, VBScript in Office, Windows Media versioning and DRM, heck, even Halo). I see no reason this trend would not continue with Silverlight.

Adobe isn’t a benevolent overlord, but they do have a proven track record of successfully supporting multiple platforms, and of continuing to innovate even when there was little competition in the web interactive space. Silverlight should force them to do this even better – for example, I wonder if we would have seen Flash player 9 for Linux as quickly if there was no Silverlight.

Summary: Cross-platform support for Silverlight is not in Microsoft’s best interests if they kill Flash. Neither is continued innovation. As a long time Mac user, I really don’t trust Microsoft’s intentions, but I do welcome the pressure Silverlight places on Adobe to continue innovating.


In summary, while I don’t entirely trust Microsoft’s intentions, I do think that Silverlight has potential, particularly in the short term while MS is still in “buying love” mode. Microsoft’s developer toolset is likely to be more robust, and have a much better integration story than anything Adobe can offer in the near future, but being Windows-only makes the tools inaccessible to many developers and a large portion of designers. I think the Silverlight plug-in will be an adequate runtime, but it will never pack the same punch per byte that the Flash player does, and it will never enjoy as large of an installed base.

I welcome the competition that Silverlight brings to the space, and will continue to follow its progress. I’m not opposed to doing development on the platform (I will likely continue to play with it on occasion), but in its current incarnation it seems like a big step down from Flash.

What are your thoughts? Comment below.

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Grant, I echo your sentiments nearly point for point on a couple of posts at my blog. I really find your view that MS doesn’t understand creatives especially true. Adobe has a long history of creating design tools.

  2. Well written Grant.

    However, I do feel that the workflow between designers and coders has been greatly enhanced. If you take a look at the new fireworks integration with flex and adobe photoshop imports, this a MAJOR step up on the integration of customization of interfaces. It’s not 100%, but close to ideal.

    I find working with designers a breeze using flex, except when Im trying to customize widgets. Now that we have the flash 9 cs3 components and flex/flash integration kit it makes it awesome.

    I feel that adobe really needs to upgrade flex builder so that it has a lot more features similar to FDT. Then it would rock.

  3. Austin,

    I agree, integration has gotten much better, but it’s still a long way from perfect. The integration kit is a patch, not a solution. Adobe’s working hard on it, and will continue to do so (as evidenced by Mike Downey’s move to the new Platform Evangelist Group). However, Microsoft has the advantage of building a new integrated suite from scratch, whereas Adobe is retrofitting that integration into products that were developed in isolation (and in some cases at separate companies).

    Right now it is still mostly a set of separate tools with good import options. The integration story is still pretty weak, but I expect good things in the future.

  4. Great analysis.

    Yes, MS builds great developer tools. I’ve been working for the past 6 months almost exclusively in visual studio and now going back to the Flash IDE sucks beyond description (I’m using now Eclipse+FDT but it’s still a kludge), the debugger is a joke, etc.

    The problem is that, as a developer, adopting a new technology costs time and money, and hence the dilemma we are facing: should we invest in MS tools and learn the new technology or stick with what we know? In a perfect world we’d all answer “learn something new”, however as I said this costs and if the technology is not going anywhere, it’s wasted time & money.

    In the end, I wouldn’t be worried about Microsoft not supporting Silverlight; dropping support for Mac is an almost certainty. They can push it as a Critical update via Windows Update to get the adoption rate high enough, Mac and Linux be damned. What really worries me is if they try to put roadblocks in front of Flash (remember Stacker?). What if they start pushing critical updates that break flash “by mistake”?

  5. Great post Grant.

    I want to find out for myself what to think of Expression/Silverlight. Since I’ve used C# for six years now, I am confident I’ll be able to make things move fairly quickly. 😉

    For me though, like it or hate it, I think the largest drawback is going to be the lack of incentive to switch over from Flash. I just don’t foresee user adoption of any substantial numbers except for maybe in a controlled environment like an intranet where you can know that your users have all the necessities and download time is not a consideration.

    I’m anxious to see where this ends up a year from now.

  6. Chris Griffith May 4, 2007 at 12:23pm

    I think this is right on the mark Grant. As another Mac user (and an Intel Mac early adopter excited about native Adobe tools) I think your observation about MS’s long-term commitment to the platform and innovation is very likely correct.

    MS and Adobe both really hate competition (hence Adobe’s Macromedia buyout) but it’s what drives innovation on both sides. If either of them has the entire playing field to themselves, the developers and end-users suffer. Ultimately, if one of them has to win in the end I’d definitely rather it be Adobe, but a little pressure to step up their game and improve their toolset would only be good for us.

  7. Nice analysis–a little different than mine, but solid points. One clarification is that Silverlight 1.1 (the one that supports C#) does give you the ability to create components. With .NET, Silverlight actually has a very solid component model. Check out Ashish’s post for more info: http://nerddawg.blogspot.com/2007/05/silverlight-ui-controls.html

  8. Excellent post.

    I do think that Silverlight might have caused Adobe to have had extra motivations in some of their recent decisions. For example, I don’t think it a coincidence that after Silverlight was officially announced on 4/15, Flex went open source 11 days later, or FP9 for Solaris Beta was released 15 days later. If for this reason alone, I’m very pleased to see MS enter the market.

    However, I especially agree with your discussion about Microsoft’s poor cross platform support. They are terrible! Or maybe arrogant is a better word… If a company spends money developing something on the web that is intended to generate revenue, they would need some very serious incentives to willingly choose to cut out a portion of their target audience.

  9. A Flash of Silverlight? My Analysis: by Grant Skinner

    “By now, everyone has heard of Silverlight (previously WPF/E), Microsoft’s answer to the Flash player. There have been a lot of posts on the topic of Flash versus Silverlight, but I thought I would chime in with my own thoughts…

  10. Great post.

    Being a new Flex Developer, I have had trouble finding a lot of support by ways of forums. The Adobe site and LiveDocs are extremely slow, and the help system in Flex seems poorly organized. I have never received a helpful answer on any posts I have put on the Adobe forums. Many days, when I am frustrated, searching for the answer to a seemingly simple question, I find myself longing for the huge developer community that Microsoft has. Just my opinion, but I think this is the greatest advantage Microsoft has.

  11. Great write up Grant. I think you are spot on talking about how Microsoft is buying developers and projects right now. They have to and they are signing up big names like MLB.com and Netfilx. What will happen once the hype dies down and the money stops flowing?

    What I’m interested in seeing is where this all will be in a year or two after all of the buzz dies down. There will be a lot of innovation from these two companies – Adobe & Microsoft – and I think we as developers and the customers we serve will all benefit from this product coming to market.

    I’m a C# guy as well as a Flash guy. I’d prefer to stay in Flash because of the cross platform support for authoring. My designers are all on MACS and I use both, sometimes on one machine. That is the biggest concern for me and my partners moving forward and looking at this technology. Nowadays, compatibility on the major OSs – MAC & PC – for authoring is just as important if not more important than the multiple OS/Browser support for the runtimes.

    Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.

  12. i agree grant. good text.



  13. Great post Grant! One of the best Flash versus Silverlight comparisons that I have read to date.

    Armand, regarding automatic updates, Microsoft pushed IE7 as an automatic update, yet looking at various web browser statistics most of them still have the majority of IE users using IE6. I think Microsoft has a very long way to go to get Silverlight enough computers before most companies start seriously consider using the technology.

  14. Adam,

    Flex’s community is quite young, and still hasn’t found it’s major centers. Flash on the other hand has quite a robust and active community.

    Adobe’s forums are usually not the best place to go for help. I’d definitely recommend signing up for the FlexCoders mailing list. Its signal to noise ratio isn’t great, but you can often get answers on it. Here’s a list of other community resources:


    Hope it helps.

  15. With the new Silverlight CLR, couldn’t Actionscript3 a supported language?

  16. Marlon Smith May 4, 2007 at 9:55pm

    Great post,

    I agree most of your points but the intent one, I understand your and many others distrust that MS has earned. When I step back and look at the MS platform and where MS has gotten some design religion with Office 2007 and Vista, in addition to talking with some highly respected designers and influential MS employees, it get the feeling that something bigger than MS is afoot.

    I personally see a software design resurgence coming, mostly influenced in my opinion by Apple. If Apple had the platform and tools, I may even switch, but I make my living on Windows and .Net. But at this time, to me, MS to has the best chance of changing the face of software development and engineering, by this I mean it’s large developer base, developer/designer tools (if they keep innovating), marketing and it’s desktop OS market share.

    Now this will become a feature race, but I think it’s much broader than just one-upping each other. MS is working hard to bring all it’s assets to bear on the design space (IA/VD/UX/ID). Just like they are addressing SDLC issues with Visual Studio Team System, I expect they will begin to address design in the same way along with Office/Visio and Expression Studio and on the .Net platform to bring designers and design process completely into the fold of SDLC.

    Now for them abandoning Mac support, if they get major adoption and contracts from large media and content firms, it would be risky for them to just drop Mac support, so that depends.

    As far as Silverlight killing Flash, I doubt it!

  17. I’m a Flash designer/developer, probably more designer-oriented. I’ve started to work with Expression Blend and Expression Designer because at my work, we are a MS shop. Here are my two cents so far: Blend is too developer oriented. It is a nice tool. There are things I really like it about it, but the designer part of it just blows. I tried to work in Expression Designer yesterday and nearly went insane. After a few hours of trying to work with it and working with the odd workflow, I had to open my Fireworks back up. I’ll deal with making a XAML version later — for now, I’ll do my mockup designs in FW and Flash.

  18. Grant,

    That was one bloody good read 🙂 and of course there will be a few points in which I respectfully disagree but in the end this is a great start in rationalising the Silverlight piece in the RIA equation.

    X-Platform reach within Silverlight though has to be in place, not so much to simply comply with an expectation but to open up more markets for the millions of .NET developers around the world using the future direction of Silverlight going forward.

    At anyrate, rather then debate it point for point, it’s well worth the read and others can arise to their own opinion through more reading of posts like this I hope.

    Scott Barnes

    Developer Evangelist


  19. Microsoft was a late arrival to the party at the internet. But when they took aim look at what they did to Netscape. At this time the killer app is video on the web (because IP TV is the future of television) and Flash is the KING of this particular bash. And Microsoft is too nerdy to get any attention. Are there parallels here? Is Microsoft going to use its monopoly to utterly destroy competition and innovation in the market? They have done it before (and were found guilty for it). Its about controlling Media. Even the name Silverlight speaks about media. Right now Apple yeilds a lot of control. If Silverlight gains significant marketshare, they will control the media. And Apple won’t. And we all had better get used to the Microsoft world of software deveopment. I shudder at the thought.

    I have downloaded and tried Expression Blend May Prerelease, which is the first version of Blend to support a Silverlight project. When I started such a project I was shocked to see all the UI components disappear from the toolset. It seems to me that Silverlight is more aptly called WPF Lite. Really light. There is a good debate on this very issue here:


    Silverlight is still more or less vaporware, so its is a wait and see game to see what features it will actually have.

  20. There are certain things about Silverlight that were announced at Mix07 that weren’t in the first preview that are important to know. The CLR fully supports .Net languages including dynamic languages like Ruby and Python. Apparently the optimized final Python might be 2x a fast as any other python out there and it run on PC and Mac, and the Mono community seems eager to embrace Silverlight. The reality of these languages are they are much much faster than javascript and html.

    Saying there isn’t custom controls for Silverlight is a misnomer. You can create custom controls in Silverlight and I suspect there will be an entire “component” industry springing up around them as they are in Visual Studio thanks again to the CLR in Silverlight.

    The comparisons to Flex also don’t take into account that Microsoft’s Web platform ASP.NET, already has a preview version out with ASP.NET controls that render out to Silverlight as well as HTML, the new controls include an asp.net Media control and a XAML control.

    Silverlight and HTML designs can be on the same page and even go full screen and layer HTML and Silverlight elements.

    I also don’t really think it’s fair of you to say that Microsoft doesn’t support Macs. They have a Macintosh Business Unit and have never ever discontinued the Mac version of Microsoft Office since it’s inception. When I saw Silverlight running and debugging on the Mac and all the samples running on the Mac transparently I realized that this wasn’t same company and that they understand the needs of designers. In fact Expression Media and Design have Mac versions (under other names).

    Saying they don’t understand designers and creative people is also a disservice to the new design group inside of Microsoft (see http://www.microsoft.com/design/People/Master.aspx for details) many of their people are ex-Macromedia folks..

    The only thing I see about your point of view that has real basis in what you are writing is what you said at the end that you “don’t entirely trust Microsoft’s intentions”. I hope this changes because change and maturity comes to all companies including Microsoft.

    Whether it’s with an influx of hires from another organization or the realization that they were missing something in their own efforts. The new efforts are monumental, and the functionality of the new .net CLR included in Silverlight goes way beyond Flash in terms of the reach and capability it extends things to.

    I think you should take the time to explore further what can be done there and you might think differently about it. When you actually look at what Silverlight is and what it isn’t, the comparison to “Flash” that everyone is making really is apples to oranges and they both have very different functionality once you look beyond the surface.

    I think you really should take the time to go a little more in-depth in your evaluation and look at what is actually there in Silverlight..

  21. Well written and a great overview of Silverlight from a Flash perspective. Thanks.


  22. Don,

    I appreciate the input, but I think you’ve drunk a little too much of the Koolaid. Looking you up online, you’re either a very fervent Microsoft fan, or a shill. I’m personally not really a fan/supporter of any company (except my own) – I appreciate a lot of Adobe’s technologies, but as any reader of my blog knows I also criticize them loudly when they mess things up, or when I think they could do things better.

    Your response basically boils down to 3 points:

    1) Future versions of the player will be better.

    I agree. As I said in my post, my criticisms of no controls and no language execution was based on the 1.0 feature set (the beta), not the 1.1 feature set (alpha) – I’ll edit the article somewhat to make this more clear. However, while the Silverlight runtime will improve with time, so will the Flash player. My point was that Adobe has a huge lead in this space, not that Microsoft won’t be able to build a decent player to compete.

    2) It is unfair to distrust Microsoft

    We’re talking about a company that has been charged with using anti-competitive practices by multiple governments. Looking at their history, you’d be a fool to believe they’re in it for the common good.

    Likewise, their record of cross-platform support is appalling. MS has literally never had a Mac product that maintained parity with its Window’s counterpart. This includes content delivery products like Windows Media (to address Scott’s point). The closest they have come is Office (which the Mac BU works hard on – those guys rock!), but even there MS has announced that they are dropping features.

    Maybe they’ve had some kind of corporate epiphany, but I’ll believe that when I see evidence of it. In the mean time, not trusting their intentions doesn’t mean you can’t develop with their technology, it just means you should understand the future implications for your projects if they drop cross-platform support, or leave the platform to stagnate.

    I am very interested in hearing about the Mac versions of Expression Media and Design though. Do you have a link?

    3) Microsoft understands designers.

    Microsoft IS working hard to understand designers. They’ve also hired some people that understand designers. But, MS does not have a design-centric culture, and it will take them a few versions to really “get it”. Even then, their tools will run on the wrong platform for half the designers out there.

    I have yet to talk to a designer that feels comfortable working in the Expression suite.

    As I said, I will continue to explore Silverlight, and I will keep an eye on the samples people are building. So far I haven’t been really impressed, but that is to be expected from a post-pre-1.0-1.1-beta-alpha release (the versioning is a bit silly).


  23. MS has developers. Millions of them familiar with .NET and its powerful toolset.

    MS doesn’t have the hearts and minds of artists/designers or the tools to lure them over.

    Money drives business, and the suits don’t ask the artists what platform their business software should run on – they ask developers. Artists are a dime a dozen (as are code monkeys) and when the paid gigs for Expression start rolling out, I imagine you’ll see a large shift, regardless of whether the tools are equivalent to Adobe’s offerings.

  24. MS has developers. Millions of them familiar with .NET and its powerful toolset.

    MS doesn’t have the hearts and minds of artists/designers or the tools to lure them over.

    Money drives business, and the suits don’t ask the artists what platform their business software should run on – they ask developers. Artists are a dime a dozen (as are code monkeys) and when the paid gigs for Expression start rolling out, I imagine you’ll see a large shift, regardless of whether the tools are equivalent to Adobe’s offerings.

  25. I know that Silverlight can do animation. I have seen a few examples of the programmatic animation. But I haven’t found any example of the more “traditional animation” such as those done in the ecards of http://www.jacquielawson.com or http://www.ojolie.com. So my question is, can Silverlight do that kind of animation? If so, is there any example out there?

  26. Forcing the design community to use a tool that its not suited for their job, and here I refer to my early review of the Expression Suite , is a HUGE mistake.

    Flash is what it is today only because of the design community not because of the huge developer base.

    The result of software companies producing consumer products,that neglect user interface and interaction design in their workflow is self evident, and unfortunately currently prevalent.

    Let’s face it, most of the consumer software today is windows based and its plain ugly and not usable. I’m not saying the MAC based software is by design better, and the reason is because I do not work on a MAC and I have no intimate knowledge on that topic.

    But what I think is that the devastating current result in the windows world is a direct result of MS policy.

    How so?

    They have a great developer toolset and not one decent design tool.

    They also do not have a single mention of how to integrate designers in their workflow for software engineering.

    I think its hilarious, to introduce a huge development product like the new Team Studio and to not have a single role in that workflow for a designer. What does that speak to you as an “enterprise” developer. You are to produce fantastic, ground breaking products and you are about to do that without a team of designers?

    If that was acceptable for standalone apps because you can find workarounds to patch that nonsense, now with Silverlight unless Adobe products start directly exporting XAML I don’t see how the designers will do their job. And their job is not to change their workflow around a new tool that seams more suited for front end developers.

    I can see MS shops that produce ready component sets to make a lot of money in the short term but the faith of Silverlight success lies in the hands of the User Interface Designers and Interaction Designers. I have no doubts that if MS succeeds in pushing Silverlight to the users computers via updates or other distribution model it will outperform Flash but consumers do not care about stats and unless the design community embrace this technology as a new ground to be explored I think its going to end up being the next windows update in patch Tuesday.

  27. “..now with Silverlight unless Adobe products start directly exporting XAML I don’t see how the designers will do their job” – horror dreams starts to become true: microsoft has really deep pockets – http://www.erain.com/products/harmony/

  28. “..now with Silverlight unless Adobe products start directly exporting XAML I don’t see how the designers will do their job” – horror dreams starts to become true: microsoft has really deep pockets – erain.com /products/harmony/

  29. All very good points, however I’d be willing to bet Microsoft is counting on leveraging Apple’s BootCamp or (Parallels) software to enable sudo-cross-platform development tool support. Anyone have any stats on how many Mac users also have a flavor of Windows installed?

    For another good analysis check out Thinking About The Strategy Behind Microsoft Silverlight: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/009000.html

  30. Personally, I expect Silverlight to be about as successful as Microsoft’s Chromeeffects. Anyone remember that? Nope, didn’t think so!


  31. My thoughts on why Silverlight isn’t for Flash Developers, and what does it really mean for Microsoft

    A lot of discussion lately happening on the topic of Silverlight, especially in relation to Flash. One discussion that is a must read if you haven’t done so already is on Grant’s blog. I’m not going to rehash what Grant has said as he…

  32. I think in a market they expect to grow, they care about new users a lot more than old ones. Lets face it, even though flash is very popular, RIA’s themselves are not. So there aren’t really that many people to win over in that space.

    As far as Silverlight, I think the scale and complexity are going to make it hard to be consistant cross platform, and probably that is a non-goal anyway. The expression tools are not suited to deisgners or developers, but cater mostly to the xaml syntax (huge mistake imo). Animating with it is a joke. Sure v2 blah blah, but as it stands now it isn’t even pointing in the right direction.

    The player seems solid which is great (I converted some flash animation, and it actually plays very well — blog.debreuil.com/archive/2007/05/06/5011.aspx). Of course .Net+tools blow away anything on the flash side, but everyone knows the platform is all about MS, so it literally can’t fill some spaces.

    What it will do though is put pressure on Adobe, esp their profit margin. There are lots of examples of companies that compete well when MS targets them, but they all have one thing in common. They didn’t screw up. So Adobe, step carefully! : ).

  33. Understanding Silverlight

    Understanding Silverlight: Link goes to a Microsoft evangelist, and contains MIX feedback from Canadian attendees. The quotes presented are all positives, but for me the interesting thing was reading the backgrounds and motivations of the people select…

  34. After reading this post (and all the comments) I decided to have a look at Silverlight (having put it on my ToDo list a while ago)… so off I went to microsoft.com

    I followed the links to the silverlight page (nice logo but the strap line ‘Light up the Web’ made me think of my tenage years, holding a can of fuel and a lighter!) Anyway, off to the downloads page, and started the download procedure… everything went fine until the last moment, when I was greated with a popup saying ‘Silverlight could not be installed on your computer.’ – What the ???? – I have a Win XP machine accessing the site with IE7.. what’s wrong with my computer??

    Wait, there’s a ‘Get more info’ link…

    Error 3010: Installation has completed successfully. However, a restart is required to complete the install. Please save your work and restart your computer to finish installation.

    Ahhh, so that’s what they meant when they said ‘Seamless, fast installation for users’ – Thanks for the experience Microsoft!! : )

    Flash-1 / Silverlight-0

    Now lets see if I get more joy from the MS Expression install?

  35. I appreciate when people take the time to write balanced, unbiased posts. I mean, you’re a flash head, and this is about as even a post as you’ll probably find while doing a comparison

    The only thought I had was that, in Adobe’s defense, they inherited Flex/Flash work flow from MM. I’ve personally been really happy with how FCS3 came out in terms of UI and space management. So, I can only assume and hope that they’ve got something up their sleeves with Flex2/Flash work flow in next versions. It’s seems pretty obvious to me.

    Thanks G!

  36. Kudos on a great article Grant! I’ve been recommending this post to dozens of folks to read (as well as all the great comments).

  37. Excellent analysis Grant!

    Nice to read such straight-forward talk about the 2 technologies without slamming one or the other. I agree that MS builds great dev tools, however I’ve always been a fan of Dreamweaver, and now with CS3 it looks like Adobe is pulling the pieces together and offering the needed integration between their tools.

    But as you said, the competition that Silverlight brings to the space may indeed push Adobe to become even better (at least that’s my hope!)

  38. A good summary, Grant.

    There’s a bigger picture here that I don’t think anyone’s commented on. Silverlight is an interim step. It shouldn’t scare anyone, because it’s just a browser plug-in designed for demoing next-generation technology on legacy platforms (WindowsXP) and other platforms (Mac).

    The real news is XAML and WPF. It isn’t a matter of IF this stuff will take hold, but WHEN. I’m glued to the newswire in anticipation of a response from both Adobe and Apple.

  39. Silverlight can be more of a threat to Flex/Apollo, and less – to Flash itself.

    It depends on how MS will position Silverlight platform – as a animation/designer tool or a application/developer tool. Probaby – the later.

    >> Microsoft also has a lot of experience building really good developer tools …

    >> MS has developers. Millions of them …

    From my experience with most application developers, including MS developers – they are not familiar with “movie timeline” concept. And they would not learn to think about “movie clips” overnight. That would be MS camp’s weakness for some time.

    In a similar way, Adobe designers would not rush to learn “events” over “frames”.

    Application development support was not strong at Macromedia, and was not present at Adobe. Simple fact – Adobe never had a “developers conference” – they just acquired it with Macromedia.

    So MS will dig from developers side, and Adove is digging from designers side – to win the hearts of both: designers and developers.

  40. Flashes successful market penetration *was* largely (at least partly) due to Microsoft including it in the default Windows and IE installations. I’ve found Flash 6 player buried deep behind firewalls in banks and schools where it’s impossible to install anything without administrator rights. I wonder whether MS will use the fact that most flash players run in MS browsers to their advantage. They only need to stop shipping Flash player with their software and make the installation process seem like it’s a very serious security risk to cut off access to many corperate users, students and people that use the net at public libraries etc.

    Having said that I do think MS have changed their policies and become less cut-throat over the last few years, simply because it’s not good business to be percieved as the evil empire.

  41. I agree with the last comment. I think that creation of good interactive database driven Flash movies has always fallen between two skill sets.

    On one hand there are developers who dont like to use the crappy coding interface and tool set for creating object orientated Flash Actionscript code when you could be working on a .Net project with lovely authoring tools and on the other hand designers can’t make Flash do anything ‘useful’ with a good understanding of OO coding.

    Hence why a good flash programmer is always like gold dust.

    With the advent of SilverLight, it is exciting for Developers as you can at last use Visual Studio for authoring but the design tool are wqay behind Flash’s when you consider integration with Freehand / Illustrator.

    I think that if Adobe sort out their development environment and MS sort out their design environment we could have some two decent possibilites for Animated DB driven content.

    Penetration I dont think is a problem due to the fact MS has released SilverLight on Vista and will continue to make upgrades seamless for all windows users.

    For the most part corporates and media companies drive what technology will be used and corporates all use windows.

    Even 20Mb for a download is nothing these days as far as plugins are concerned, a 20mb download now is a few seconds.

    I hope MS do get it together, but I also hope Flash sorts out its crappy development environment. Then we’ll have two platforms to choose from instead on one.

  42. 3) Microsoft understands designers.

    Microsoft IS working hard to understand designers. They’ve also hired some people that understand designers. But, MS does not have a design-centric culture, and it will take them a few versions to really “get it”.

    I think this is a very important point. Companies have a “DNA” and trying to change that DNA is a lot harder than hiring a bunch of people from competitors and saying that you are now something (a “design” company) that you really haven’t ever been.

    MS’s DNA is Office, SQL Server, IIS, etc. etc. and they rock that domain. But Adobe’s DNA in design goes back to the 80’s and I don’t care how much $$ MS throws that way I just don’t see them doing design-y things that feel right. Like all of their UI’s so far – things are just going to seem kind of “off”.

  43. Can anyone confirm that the statements posted on Jesse Ezell Blog is true? That Silverlight really is far better than flash? Check out the arguments:


  44. Hi Grant,

    Having just come out of a two event here in Australia called Remix essentially re-hasing Mix 07 in Vegas I can only second your observations.

    The bottom line really is that Microsoft fundamentally doesn’t understand the creative market.

    All the technical aspects put aside (which btw I agree with your observations), what gave Flash it’s tracktion in first was the fact that you had creatives with some coding background embrasing the technology because it allowed the to do something they couldn’t do with other tools… Joshua Davis is one of those people who comes to mind.

    From having had a really good look at Silverlight it seems all they are tring to do is copy Flash’s ability to desktop application like content to the web. Okay they improved somewhat on the workflow but essentially it still is only a copy… and we all know a copy is rarelly better then the original. Ipod example anyone?

  45. I am a developer / designer and i speak from experience in that i truely believe SilverLight is better than Flash.

    I’ve only been using SilverLight for 2 weeks, and flash for over 2 years, and im already a fan of it.

    I started a project to create my first SilverLight app (iTunes application) and it has been the most rewarding experience ive had as a designer/developers! Truely..

    Check out my adventures in silverlight 1.1 series to see my side of things!

  46. liquidboy,

    You don’t seem to be being entirely honest. Browsing through your blog, I see no evidence that you have ever worked with Flash or as a designer in any professional capacity. In fact, you specifically state “I’ve been holding off on learning flash (mainly because i was a bit scared that and very lazy)”, and hint that you are a .NET developer at various points in your blog.

    This paints a much different picture than the one you are trying to paint above, of a converted Flash designer/developer. I’m interested (if unsurprised) that you, as a .NET developer, are finding SilverLight more approachable than Flash, and that you are enjoying working with it, but I’m concerned that you obviously feel you need to mislead people to try to promote a Microsoft product.

    I think the kind of dishonest representation apparent in your comment, and shills like Don above are actually damaging SilverLight’s reputation with more experienced (non-MS) developers. My first reaction is to wonder why, if the technology is so great, do its pundits need to mislead rather than arguing its merits.

    With that in mind, there have been some good points posted by other commenters and bloggers in favour of Silverlight, which I respect and appreciate.


  47. Grant,

    you’ve hit on an excellent point, about Microsoft not really understanding the creatives, but i fear that you and many of your readers may have missed the dual role of that point.

    The flip-side of your argument is this:

    Microsoft DOES understand developers and development!

    There are many of us in the industry who are NOT “creatives”. Many of us use flash as a technology base that is cross-platform (web sites / RIAs etc), and being forced to think in very odd terms to use the creative-orientated adobe/macromedia toolset is a constant struggle.

    The main issue i find as a flash devleoper, is that most people in the industry believe that i’m also famaliar with PhotoShop and am really a designer who writes code. What is key for me, and i’m sure many others like me, is that Silverlight will probably give me far better development tools without having to go fighting through the designer-orientated adobe/macromedia layout.

    I love Flash. I’ve been a Flash developer since Flash 5, but i’ve always felt like i’m fighting with Flash (and now Flex) to do coding/developing in a logical “developer” way.

    As i’m sure most people will know in the industry there is a large gap for Flash Developers. This stems from the fact that creatives and developers work and think differently (indeed, think differently with different parts of the brain); and in that respect having a program that will be built for the developer rather than the creatives will be a good thing for the whole industry.

    You, and your creative flash loving readers are totally right about Microsoft not getting creatives, but i have to stress that Adobe (and macroMedia before them) REALLY dont get developers; and without us, you’re just building pretty pictures that dont do anything.

    (wow, that last paragraph sounded harsh, didn’t it? i didn’t mean it an agressive “flame war” kind-of way, but i’m not too sure that many creative people realise how hard it is for us logical thinkers to train our brain to work within the existing tools).

    Thanks for your time, and keep up the blog.


  48. Kevin,

    Not to be defensive, but I really didn’t miss that point. In fact if you read the “Tools” section I state that “Microsoft also has a lot of experience building really good developer tools, and it shows in their expression tools” and continue “Microsoft can and will build a better developer toolset, and provide a better story for tool integration.”

    Likewise, if you are familiar with my background, you’ll know that while I do love “creative flash” I am a professional developer, and have been fairly vocal in the community about the current weaknesses of Adobe’s offerings to date.

    I really do wish Adobe built a decent toolset for developers. I would rank this as one of their biggest weaknesses right now (along with tool integration). If you look at current industry trends though, product differentiation is moving away from functionality (dev), and towards usability and aesthetics (design). You can see this in MS products like Vista, Office, and in modern applications (online and off). While this does not diminish the need for great developer tools, it does greatly increase the importance of excellent design tools (and integration of those tools in a cohesive workflow).

    Neither company has an offering I am really happy with yet. Adobe would be close if they could integrate their suite better, and offer up a half-decent concept-to-deployment workflow story.

    Thanks for the comment though, level-headed, honest opinions are always welcome here.



  49. Hi Grant,

    I suppose it wasn’t so much that i thought you missed the point, but more the phrasing.

    “Microsoft also has a lot of experience” i felt was somewhat derogatory, but that’s because as a man I have “alot of experience with women” but it doesn’t mean that 1) understand them nor 2) am good with them. It really just means I’ve been around the block a while.

    I suppose, and this is the point i struggled to get across (it was 5am with I wrote my last comment – sorry), was that it’s very easy and very common for Microsoft to be viewed in a different light simply because of who they are.

    I mean, no-one was up in arms and bad mouthing Adobe with they tried to create a “Flash-Killer” with Live Motion. It was widely reported as “competition will improve the marketplace”. The same when they tried to kill the Fireworks user base with the first 2 versions of ImageReady. I don’t remember Adobe being referred to as EVIL once (i appreciate that you’ve not done it here, but given your level-headedness I’m sure you’ll agree that alot of the creative view Microsoft in this way).

    When Adobe couldn’t beat MacroMedia at their own game they decided to weaken their position with countless lawsuits, before instigating a takeover instead. Neither the lawsuits, nor the takeover (even though it KILLED competition and created a monopoly) was every regarded was ‘evil’. Can you imagine the reaction if Microsoft had sent the lawyers after MM, or tried to takeover MacroMedia? I think we can both safely say that the reception given would have been different.

    Like you stated mate, there is a HUGE gap in the market for Flash Developers. It’s a gap caused by Adobe/macromedia neglecting developers and proper development for a large number of years. I just don’t get what’s wrong with a company, any company, creating a product that can fill that gap? When there was a gap in the web market for interactive content that wasn’t just animations it was 100% ok for a company called macromedia to buy a smaller company and edit the scripting engine in their product (rather than develop it themselves). But if Microsoft takes advantage of Adobe/macromedia creating a market they can’t fulfil, it’s looked upon badly.

    People quickly forget that Flash wouldn’t have anywhere near the penetration rate it’s got if it wasn’t added as standard to IE5.5 and IE6. Anyone who was around back in the day, as I’m sure you were Grant mate, will remember that convincing people to download a plug-in was not an easy job. Oh, and Microsoft included the Flash player with Netscape/Mozilla wouldn’t. How evil of them…

    You only have to look at the above comments, to see how the news of this is taken.

    One user posted about how a beta idea of dHTML in 1998 didn’t come to fruition. I mean, seriously, what does that say about the open-ness and willingness of the community to see if this new product can improve our output as a whole? Lets not embrace something, lets ridicule it and any other attempt we can find on the internet over the past 10 years.

    Grant, your post is excellent, as always. I do though fear that it’s the community itself that will cause the issues with Silverlight. People have become very polarised, and rather than seeing where products may take us, they’re quick to jump on the band wagon, and it’s sadly very easy to jump on the Evil Microsoft bandwagon.


    (So that it’s totally transparent, I worked as a vendor at Microsoft for a short while in 2003, and for Macromedia for a year after)

  50. I am seeing first hand how this wave of new technologies is affecting yer run of the mill code monkey (me) – I have been developing desktop applications for 10 years, in .NET for the last 2 and all of my applications, while being functionally sound, are not rich, appealing or interactive in any way.

    I have just started a new role as a WPF developer using .NET 3.5 and have recently created a product selector that is a rich interactive UX with seamless data binding, icon animations, with a skinnable and customizable interface… and it only took me 2 days! The integration of server side code and inexorable UI (be that in a WPF Desktop app or a Silverlight plugin) is something to be reckoned with.

    I have been thrust head first into the “future” of application design and development and I likes it…

    Thanks Bill!


  51. Good.

  52. Interesting post and comments.

    It’s not really surprising to see the evangelists from either side take shots in defense of either product a or b. Maybe we’ll make soft-war to see who’s product is better. 🙂

    Hopefully MS will “get” the design bug and AD will find the developers cure. Then the MS development clan can continue with their sub routines, and the AD club will keep calling their functions–one big, happy, development family.

    As the Soft-World turns (soap opera).



  53. I had absolutely no luck with my first two attempts to get it to even run on an Intel Mac. Suspect they have a *very* long way to go.


  54. Thread’s still going… congratulations, Grant. 😉

    “I mean, no-one was up in arms and bad mouthing Adobe with they tried to create a “Flash-Killer” with Live Motion.”

    Well, we tend not to badmouth in general.

    Like Sparkle/WPFe/Silverlight, LiveMotion also had lengthy pre-release hype. The “Ground Zero” evangelists dissed Flash, and lots of the community reacted to it when they finally met their schedule and delivered something. At Macromedia, the honest reality was that we welcomed new SWF-producing tools. But the anti-LM arguments in the community were significant back then.

    Silverlight has a different dynamic, because they’re proposing a new runtime engine for Windows Media files. LiveMotion could immediately deploy to the widespread Player. Microsoft did not choose to use this universal capability. They want to control the entire stack, top to bottom, soup to nuts.

    (The “IE caused Flash ubiquity” argument has been publicly debunked for years, and it shows a certain unawareness to reach for it again. Microsoft asked for free Player distribution rights only after Macromedia funded Netscape for distribution. You could better argue that Macromedia Flash Player kept Microsoft Internet Explorer competitive, than you could argue that the small IE adoption rate affected the much larger Player adoption rate.)

    Microsoft is a special case. This company has been convicted of unethical monopoly practices, across many years, across many nations. They also own the majority operating system, the majority office software. They’re different.



  55. JD,

    I appreciate what you’re saying; but you’re missing a few points.

    To say that “Well, we tend not to badmouth in general” is a gross mis-representation of what blog comments actually do! I mean that as a joke of course, in a nice way, as we all know that blog comments (especially on polarised subjects) do have a tendancy to “bad mouth” people/companies/iedas etc.

    Heck, you only have to look up the page to see that an awful lot of peole have taken pot-shots at Microsoft, and indeed 1 person (as i commented on) only left a link to a defunct microsoft project from a long time ago as an example of why Silverlight wont work.

    And indeed, not to be picky, you yourself have “bad mouthed” Microsoft in your last paragraph.

    I apprecaite that many people will tink that i’m in the ‘pro-microsoft’ camp. I’m not. I’m very happy to work with the best tools availible to me, no matter what company makes them. But the sad reality is that as a developer (i began coding HTML in 1994 before i started using photoshop), the adobe/macromedia toolset really works against the way i code/think. And clearly, if there is a market for silverlight, I’m not alone in that respect.

    I also mean no disrespect when i suggest that because a case has been “publicly debunked for years” (on the internet on blogs like this) doesn’t make it not true. As Johnny Rotten said when asked what he thought of the general public thinking 1 thing (in accordance to a poll), he replied “I’ve met the man on the street and he’s a c*nt”.

    The problem is, as always, that we’re all put into little boxes of categories. It’s safe to say that people who use Macs are generally against Microsoft. People who really push firfox are generally against IE. People are very polarised, and given the anonimity the internet gives, opinions tend to be very strong.

    Indeed anyone who creates a product for which a larger comapny is muscling in generally dislikes the larger company. Painting a rosy picture between Adobe and Macromedia over teh years is really really papering over the cracks, and hoping that maybe some of the people reading this weren’t around for the lawsuits and public bitching.

    As I said in both of my Macromedia User Group talks back in 2003/2004; there will come a time when the products that MM is producing will need to incorporate developers from the base level, and with it Designers will need to feel part of the process and accept that maybe they’re not the integral part.

    It’s a concept that didn’t go down well, and while MM/Adobe have moved towards that model; an awful lot of developers out there DO feel like it’s not enough yet.

    As people want less flashy (the term not the product) websites, and indeed more contained systems, the need for more integration has arisen across all levels of development. I’m not putting flash down (i’m a flash developer, why would i?) but as many of us have stated for the last number of years, there will become a time where the number of flash developers will be so low in comparison to the market for a development orientated interactive coder, that a gap in teh market will arise.

    It just so happens that this time, Microsoft are looking to fill it from within their own existing user base.

    I’m not saying one is better than the other, i’m just saying that MM have droppped the ball, and it’s happened in slow motion with people like me telling folks like John it for years. If anything, folks like me are gutted that MM/Adobe hasn’t listened, and now we’ve to go through the mire of blog wars and side picking.

    John, Grant, thanks again for the conversation.

    Oh, but John, we can all link to websites based on keywords: e.g.


  56. Great article,

    However there are 3 very big advantages of SL over Flash:

    1. You can use any .NET language to work with your SL projects. Actually this is simply amazing – i’ll create my interactive SL components with exactly the same technology/tools i’m building my web sites. And seeing how the user base of VS.NET is growing, the ppl who are able to produce things in SL will explode in the very near future. I’ll not talk how fundamental great in .NET/VS at the moment compared to anything else.

    2. ActionScript is complete crap. Compared to C# it looks like a bad joke. Flex looks good, but… iis build on top of that crap (sadly).

    3. To my understanding, with SL you can script your SL object with JS. This means that all internal object’s methods/events can be exposed to DOM, right? If so, well… you can imagine the power 🙂

  57. im glad that you read my blog posting and you have correctly pointed out that whilst i did state i don’t know flash that i had said ive been using it for over 2 years. Let me expand on that…. Yes i have been doing flash for over 2 years but only very very simple stuff like advertising type animations (simple images rotating), work would ask me to create a simple banner. Thats all i’ve ever done!

    I have tried to learn to do complex animations with actionscrip, ive tried to learn to use the flash development environment. BUT i just get lost in there!!! I just don’t get how to use actionscript to build complex animations, it just doesn’t make sense to me!

    On the other hand, i undestand how to use pixel/vector based graphics tools like photoshop. That’s easy, despite what you may think i do classify myself as a designer and i have clients to prove it!

    I also completely understand .net / asp.net / c# and microsoft’s programming methodology. It just makes complete sense to me compared to macromedia’s methodology! In my opinion Microsoft just understands us developers better!!

    So SilverLight and it’s development tools logical just makes more sense to me!

    I don’t intentionally misslead people i just didnt fully clarify my points…

    SilverLight will take off because it was built by Microsoft and will make sense to Microsoft Developers. There are alot of people that don’t understand flash and it’s way of doing things! Thats all im saying!

  58. To be totally fair, Adobe are hiring everybody they can get for the upcoming faceoff between Adobe and Microsoft.

  59. It must be nice for MicroSoft to sit around and wait for people to invent/master something then come along and copy it and attempt to make it easier for developers. Bottom line is that pound for pound the latest Flash version is better than Silverlight right now.

    And to the guy who compared ActionScript to C# – Two totally different sides of the world. Think JavaScript instead. Now if you want to compare C# to Java, then we could have a debate.

    I was a .Net developer for 5 years before I jumped ship to Adobe stuff and I can say without a doubt Adobe stuff is 1000x’s more developer friendly than any MicroSoft has to offer. Microsoft at this point is a lot of fluff because they need to sell a new version of VS every 3 years – and now SilverLight can be included in that bundle as well.

  60. Ben,

    Your complaint of Microsoft’s waiting for someone else to invient things can also be levelled at macromedia and adobe.

    MacroMedia didnt’ creat flash, they bought it after 3 versions. And Adobe bought it after 7, though the 8ball-beta was already out.

    And you missed the point about C~ vs. ActionScript.

    Back in the day it would have been a stupid comparison as they were used for different things. But now C# is used to output scritping code in the exact same way that AS is. That is the beauty of Silverlight.

    It’s cool if you prefere the way Adobe think, loads of people do. But please take the blinkers off…

  61. Kevinjohn …you almost sound like you kow what you are talking about…but no, FutureSplash (the software MM bought from FutureWave Software ) – was NEVER Flash. A predecessor, perhaps, but not even close to the earliest versions of Flash.

    That would be like comparing you to a monkey. While true on some Darwinian level, its hardly the state of affairs today.

    You see they took a product and made into something new and more powerful. MS is never guilty of such a thing – they either kill it alltogether, or make it worse.

    Get back to your cube in Redmond Kev…

  62. @kc

    KevinJohn is correct. The first version of Flash was just a rebranded version of the FutureSplash Animator. We have a box here in the office, and it actually has the “Macromedia Flash” logo sticker stuck on over top of the FutureSplash logo.

    It wasn’t until Flash 2.0, released 6 months later that Macromedia added anything.

    For more info, see the wiki.


  63. “Get back to your cube in Redmond Kev…”

    Why is it that anyone who doesn’t have an inherent dislike of Microsoft, or worse, someone who’s attempting to see both sides of an argument – is automatically considered to be a fan boy of some sort.

    The realism is, through a fundamental process breakdown on the part of Macromedia (and now Adobe), there is a strong market for what Silverlight “should” bring. Who knows if it will or not. Microsoft may balls it up. They’ve ballsed up things in the past for sure, but then, so have Macromedia (does anyone remember how bad Generator and Ultrabeat were??).

    The point i’ve tried to make is this:

    If you think something is bad, evil, or wont work simply because it comes from THE most successful computer company in the world ever – then you really need to have a wee rethink.

    If you think it wont work because Flash is somehow “untouchable”, i’d suggest you look again at human history and see that no technology or product is untouchable.

    If you think it wont work because there is not a market gap, then you and I clearly dont get the same emails about the HUGE gap in the market there is for developers (actualy hard core developers) that can output flash-esque content.

    If you think it wont work because Microsoft “donesn’t get designers” then you’ve not understood the market they’re going for. And anyone who’s programmed on Visual Studio and then gone back to working on an Adobe product will tell you that they really get their developers.

    But, if you weigh up the pros and cons, if you can make an impartial judgment, then you have to see that Silverlight is a good thing. Even if it fails in a blaze of glory, it’s competition to a product that has not had any. Even if you believe Adobe and MacroMedia can do no wrong – surely you can understand that competition is healthy?

    On a side note, i didn’t agree with alot of the article, but i thought it was an excellent jumping on point to discuss. To that end, i’m a little shocked that so much… rumour/conjecture/opinion has been stated as pure fact by those with a bad opinion of microsoft; and in return Facts stated about adobe/macromedia are lauded as lies – even though they’re not (thankfully Lanny @ gskinner.com, I too have a box of Flash 2.0 – but i appreciate you backing up my fact).

    Guys and Gals, blinkers off. Why can’t something like this be discussed as Adults?

  64. MS is loser .. stealing application and market it for a big box ##&@^&*&!!!!. They can’t replace Flash and say to people its better , SL will just be a trash like their other apps and can be seen in their Recyle-Bin projects.

  65. SilverLightOwns May 18, 2008 at 3:07am

    All you naysayers on SilverLight get a grip. You wanna mess w/ M$ in a language/platform battle? What, you think Adobe is Google? Forget about it, already. Weak-butted Adobe will be crushed by not just M$ but also Sun w/ their JavaFX.

  66. Great post!

    I’m a computer science major and have been using Flash for a very long time(10 years since version 3) and the trend I noticed(at least in Asia) is that many children use Flash as one of there very first development tools to show their friends animations of things that they created, so in the long term I think Flash will always have a strong user base just because it is more easily accessible to the masses compared to Silverlight which seems more programmer oriented.

    However as a programmer I will definitely check Silverlight out just to see what it can do.

  67. Kevinjohn, I completely agree, very good summary. As a Linux developer I have very little support for M$, but that said I do see the extreme potential of SilverLight for developers (not designers). With the state of .NET (CLR) and microsoft’s new ‘open’ approach with language specification I don’t see why Linux will lag behind for too long.

  68. A question – why has Adobe not worked the Live Motion / After Effects timeline into Flash CS3? Even with all the contrasting opinions here, I think most people can agree that Flash’s timeline is still crap after all these years.

    I suspect that it would require a ground up re-engineering of the Flash IDE, the Flash player and Actionscript, in order to purge the frame-based paradigm and move to time-based.

  69. I’ve been doing most of my research work in flash and as3. Even then, I’m still fairly new to flash development and consider myself part “creative” part “developer”. I get the timeline and I get AS but the workflow as to bridging the two modes of thought just isn’t what it could be. I have yet to dabble with Flex but its been something on my list of things to do.

    I have been doing some personal projects in C# and recently decided to look into Silverlight to see what its all about. I haven’t done any sort of heavy developing yet but just some quick experiments and have been pleased thus far. The learning curve is there but the workflow between VS and Blend has so far been relatively nice. I’ll have to see how the experience holds up with heavier development.

    However, as a user/developer I have been frustrated that some early demos in Silverlight are unusable unless you’re running an older version of Silverlight. Its understandable with something that is still in beta but frustrating none the less.

    For me, I think reluctance stems from the fact that Microsoft tends to have some great ideas but rarely follows through (Vista, XNA, Zune, etc… though Office ’07 was a pleasant surprise).

  70. Silverlight not good? see


    Can Flash do same application?

    If it can, post it’s link.

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