Thoughts on Silverlight
I was at MIX this week speaking on a panel about web services. Obviously, the big announcements there were around Silverlight, so I’ve been getting emails asking what I think. Here you go, just a raw brain dump:
- No matter what happens, everyone wins. Competition is good for us. Adobe has urgency to improve Flash at a rapid rate, and Microsoft has urgency to catch up. Awesome for you and I – who cares who “wins” or if there even is a “winner”.
- Silverlight looks amazing. I want to consume Netflix movies using the Silverlight interface – it’s gorgeous and fast. But I don’t want to consume Netflix movies on my PC – I want to do it on my TV. That’s why I have an Xbox 360, AppleTV, and TiVo Series 3.
- I would like to develop for Silverlight just to see how neat it could be for our company, but there are two big problems:
- The installation process on Mac OS X is horrendous. And we have a lot of Mac OS X customers.
- Massive chicken-and-the-egg problem. My customers are not technical, and almost always just answer “No” to permission dialogs because they’ve been trained that “Yes” means “I’d love to be infected with a virus!”
- I have some fairly big performance complaints about Flash in some cases, so if Silverlight doesn’t suffer from the same issues, I’ll be pretty thrilled.
- Ray Ozzie & Co didn’t make nearly enough of a big deal about the fact that you can do this stuff in Python and Ruby in addition to C#. That’s huge and should have been the opening headline.
- Offering to host Silverlight videos for free (4GB) is a brilliant way to speed up adoption. Good move, MS!
So, anyway, there we go. I’m excited about it and skeptical about it at the same time. I think if the Mac installation process was a breeze AND I was able to create something really compelling, I’d be willing to show my customers how great it is. So the installation ball is in Microsoft’s court right now.
We’ll see what happens. 🙂
(Oh, and whoever organizes MIX next year, can we please please please have a real grid like every other conference? I missed great sessions because there was no grid)