XML aware front-ends and the talented MS Silverlight

As a small update on an earlier article about how XML-based front ends favor the adoption of XML technologies throughout the stack, I would like also to mention a newcomer: Silverlight from Microsoft.

Silverlight is a cross-platform, cross-browser web client runtime which facilitates a lightweight subset of XAML for building rich media experiences on the web.

For a demo visit Silverlight homepage and install the demo plugin.

What will be the answer from Sun? Here is an interesting suggestion from Yakov Fain…


4 thoughts on “XML aware front-ends and the talented MS Silverlight

  1. D’oh, my mind is almost filled with acronyms. Anyway, if memory serves, XAML is more or less an XML schema to describe applications’ workflows and user interfaces. So, a few random thoughts on silverlight.

    Another XML schema for UIs. Why, didn’t we have XUL for, like, 4 years? Is this gonna be different? Could someone in the know please elaborate?
    Another browser plugin? Aren’t we using enough plugins already? Java has been around for like, a decade and people still refuse to install the JRE. How are they going to install this CLR plugin? Oh wait, that one’s coming preinstalled with windows, right?
    This one is going to be searchable. Like all other XML based technologies that were around for quite some time. Should I be impressed?
    That one’s got vector graphics. SVG anyone? Is there a real reason to have yet another vector graphics engine inside our browser? Firefox and Opera have got a native implementation already. That means no plugins. Some cellphones already implement a tiny SVG subset suitable for mobile devices. Hold the presses, here comes VML V2 (capital V on purpose).
    This one is going to be cross platform. Well, sort of. For the time being, only MacOSX and Windows.

    I am not sure that this is correct, but I didn’t feel that Silverlight provides something really new or at least something that we can’t do with a recent version of Firefox. We already got XmlHttpRequest and AJAX, toolkits like GWT, SVG, Canvas, XUL, and Javascript. Oh, and Flash in most cases. Of course, as always, the devil is in the details. Maybe its just better integrated into one big happy product. Will people want to adopt it? Or will they want to adopt similar products like Flex for that matter? What do you think?

  2. A few quick comments:

    – The plugin is very small compared to Java. Besides that it will propably come with windows update in the near future or maybe built-in the next version of windows (assuming there will be one).

    – I find your opinion on SVG valid but we both understand what happened when Adobe abandoned it (for Flex..?)

    – What I feel Silverlight will bring is the easiness of development that accompanies most MS technologies. A plugin for Visual Studio can streamline RIA development 🙂

  3. -About the VM size: The Java side is also well aware of this. I don’t know how important it is nowadays, but anyway there are already thoughts on creating a small JVM.
    -About SVG. When adobe acquired macromedia, suddenly they had two competing products on their hands. So they tried to pull the plug on SVG. But the fact is, there were already solid implemenations like firefox, apache batik, opera, libsvg etc. SVG is here, they can’t make it disappear.
    -I agree wholeheartedly on your third argument.

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