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Thoughts on Silverlight

May 3, 2007

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)

Categories: smugmug, web 2.0, webtoys
  1. Bryn
    May 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    If Netflix got creative and built a wrapper for the media center video player, as well as a wrapper implementation for web. Then they could do a quick test in the app to decide which video player to use and their player would work in both MCE, web and extender. Which is basically one of the things that is cool about silverlight.

  2. May 3, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Yes, I totally agree with your analysis! Also when when when will Adobe finally improve the Flash-Player for Linux! Flash on Linux suck Big Big Big Big time. Sometimes I have to restart my Firefox Browser on my Gentoo as much as 100 times per day! Sorry Adobe but that sucks very badly. And btw: OpenSource is the future – they are on the right path.

  3. May 3, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Great post and thanks from the Silverlight team. Yes, the Mac install experience needs work and we’re working on it between Beta and RTM.

    And I’m giving your feedback to the MIX organizers as well.

    From a fellow Mac, TiVo Series 3, and Xbox360 owner,
    Sean Alexander
    Director – Silverlight

  1. May 3, 2007 at 2:49 pm
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