Project Management

Is Silverlight the way to the future?

Is Microsoft's latest Web development tool Silverlight really all they claim it to be? We asked the TechRepublic community to chime in.

In the past month or so, I have been seeing references to something called Silverlight from Microsoft. The Silverlight runtime library has been added to my PC as part of Windows updates on both my XP and Vista PCs. But to tell you the truth, I didn't pay much attention.

Here is the Microsoft pitch for Silverlight:

Microsoft Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.

Sounds like Macromedia Flash. When I see things like "next generation" I start to worry. Are we destined to see even more overly complicated Web pages and user interfaces?

However, I do give credit to Microsoft for making a very good presentation of why Silverlight was developed and what they want to get out of it. Check out the presentation.

But before we get to that, is anyone developing applications using Silverlight? Let's poll it.

About

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

63 comments
mmartinez
mmartinez

I think the way Microsoft wants it, it was to create a tool in web based that it seems like a windows application, interaction, quickly as possible. Java uses a VM, so you can run programs in windows and web, same code. The idea was to create a Tool that Microsoft can run programs in both platforms, it created a WPF, to complicated, not very easy to use, etc... but the core was ok. It comes another tool using the core of WPF and voila... silverlight! This is the only tool that it seems like a windows application in a browser, the lack of WPF was the enrichment and media tools. So, I believe it is not the future yet, but it is pretty close. It might be working in a different tool now, but using the same concept. For me it is going to use Sharepoint and combination with silverlight, reporting services and SSIS. Silverlight for client applications, including charts, media,etc and reporting services, it might be crystal reports as well. Sharepoint for intranet. SSIS for Manage Data and reports. (Intranet and Extranet)

AR-15
AR-15

Ummmm... Flex anybody? The Flex development framework is pretty sweet for RIA development. Silverlight sounds like an attempt by MS to get into the Flex/Flash space. Flex has gone open source. I do not expect Silverlight to do the same (anytime soon anyways--eventually MS might have to hop on the OSS bandwagon). I get the whole competition is good mantra... but I can't stand it when it happens at developer's expense, i.e., lack of standards and eroding defacto standards like the Flash plugin. We justified our move to Flex/Flash based on the >90% market penetration the Flash Player has in modern browsers.

Buff Loon
Buff Loon

Moneysoft is in it for the money. Why do we need Silvelight, will it bring something new and better we need? After Vista, I've lost what little trust I had in what Moneysoft brings out, they've made some good things and also skunked PC users a lot. I'll wait until the world raves about the benefits and rewards of Silverlight before I jump on the wagon. Still burned about Vista, Buff Oon

aureolin
aureolin

What is this? This blog post is just throwing out bait for trolls. If you're looking to increase the level of commenting on your posts, then this might be a useful tack (for you at least), but for the rest of us it's just more content-free blogging. :-P

stempy
stempy

Silverlight has what flash has never had, a development environment and workflow well integrated with a solid language foundation (.net) After reviewing silverlight over the past couple of months, I can see why silverlight will take off from v2.0+, it makes RIA development much simpler. I see some really complex applications starting to becomes possible with silverlight that were just too much of a mess with flash. Pros & Cons I've noticed so far (Silverlight v2.0): Pros: + .Net Based (I can use C# which is my preferred langauge, not ugly javascript to do some ajax) + Integration with Visual Studio + Powerful presentation layer for applications Cons: + Some missing standard controls (as of SL 2.0 Beta 2, no combobox, dropdownlist) + Learning curve, (still need to learn XAML, Styles etc, approach)...though this isnt really a problem of Silverlight itself. + It's new, so will still take a little time to be fully tested and adopted, may need some performance tweaks Overall, Silverlight appears to be rapidly improving and eventually users will pick it up as more applications are developed on it and it matures.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

It seems Silverlight does have some developer backing -- that's good to know. The poll indicates that widespread adoption is a ways off (assuming it happens). If anyone has an actual project they are working on using Silverlight, could you possibly share what it is (in general terms)? Perhaps share what it is you like about Silverlight and what you don't?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Silverlight is the future will replace AJAX. There are some problems with it, but honestly, it's FAR better than AJAX could ever be. Plus, since it plugs right into .Net, it makes life easier for devs and users alike!

royalstream
royalstream

that you can create a web application using a real compiled language (C#) and a real framework, at least in Silverlight 2.0. Compare that to script-based solutions based on permissive, interpreted and despicable pseudo-languages. Lets move away from duct-tape languages already!

johnmaar
johnmaar

I have to install Silverlight to view the Silverlight presentation? No thanks!

Spiritusindomit
Spiritusindomit

Microsoft REALLY needs to look at building a better server platform than 2003 and IIS. IIS is an unadulterated, ludicrously heavy piece of #@$%. Microsoft needs to make a webserver. Not an everything in one box and it makes toast two server, a web. server.

mwagner
mwagner

Why use silverlight when you can use SVG and Javascript. I would rather not learn an overly complicated microsoft language anyway.

jck
jck

It's not the future. It's Microsoft trying to do what Adobe already can...from what i understand. As it stands now, Silverlight is a crippled development environment. My project I was supposed to do in Silverlight has been moved to ASP.NET development because Microsoft hasn't released a reasonable basic toolset with which to develop "Rich Internet Applications". I think Microsoft really needs to re-think beta programs. You don't think that Dell would release a "full server administration tool for the experienced administrator" for their servers, and only provide an interface to do server backups and drive volume controls...right?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It's not bold It's not weak It's not just another plug-in (not just for browser either) 'Stateful' web applications over stateless HTTP was the signal, browser hosted Silverlight is just more noise.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What we are doing is discussing a new development platform and attempting to assess the interest in that technology. Both are legitimate functions of TechRepublic. That is what we do. If you read the thread you'll discover that Silverlight is a valid development platform for RIA content, but it is not widely adopted and there are concerns about it. All of which is good information if you are one of the many people who must make decisions about platforms and how projects should be developed.

donpro1
donpro1

with one browser, one platform. Why do I need to install Silverlight? What advantage does it give me the user? Why would I care given that whoever develops the webpage is using whatever they're comfortable with, which could be Flash, Silverlight, what have you. I as a user dont' see why I need to add Silverlight into my borwser. Having said that, I've already done it and STILL don't see the benefit.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Thanks for all the input into the thread Stempy. Are you currently working on a project using Silverlight? What is it?

yobtaf
yobtaf

Artists don't care about these issues. It's all about creative work flow and Adobe is way ahead and hard to catch.

jck
jck

was an interface application for government use for data entry and tracking for personnel. Silverlight...what I liked? It looks slick. I guess the sandbox thing is nice for security purposes. What I didn't like? It's a "web application". I still have trouble with that term. Just like people saying HTML is a language. Silverlight...not enough controls...too slow...typical web performance. I really see no benefit for anyone to move from Adobe to Silverlight.

stempy
stempy

Hear hear, Couldnt agree more. It's time to upgrade the way we do things, we have been hearing about RIA for years, with some nice AJAX apps, but what a pain to develop...and they still arnt as rich as what a desktop provides.

margo
margo

I completely agree, why would I take something, even for free, from someone who says "just take it, and then I'll tell you why you should have it." This is just like those guys on the street corner in NYC.

stempy
stempy

Very similar to flash upon its starting up, although chances are, with the next version of IE it may come preinstalled.

jck
jck

you have to load the SL library... then..rather than running the app on your own machine...and running at bus speed...you run at internet speed from a server. Let's see...do I want an app that runs at 3.8GHz? or...8Mb/s? I'll stick with winforms for applications. Silverlight is, in my opinion, bloatware for the web. MS is out to slow that down too, I see.

royalstream
royalstream

I don't mean to contradict you. I'm sure you have more than a few reasons to think that way about IIS and Microsoft's server platform. But Silverlight's a technology for the client so I fail to see the connection. Microsoft could drop IIS and Silverlight would still make a lot of sense. You could create a whole website in Silverlight connecting to a UNIX server.

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

How many languages do you deal with now? Perl, PHP, C++, Flash, Java, JavaScript? For many years, Microsoft has given a choice of TWO languages to do EVERYTHING -- Visual Basic (and minor variants) and C#. Visual Basic would let you create macros for EVERY Microsoft product that supported them, and now Visual Basic .NET and C# let you create evertyhing from client-side standalone applications, custom controls, console applications, multi-tier client/server applications and components to all the web and server-side stuff. It strikes me that learning ONE language that gives you the tools to build ANYTHING beats the heck out of trying to learn 10 different languages that each only solve PART of the puzzle. Oh yes, and don't forget the development environment. One very cool, well-developed, mature environment (Visual Studio) for EVERYTHING. I suppose Silverlight positions itself as the 'safe' replacement for Active Documents and ActiveX (on the Microsoft side) and Java/Flash/et.al. in the non-Microsoft realm. "Rich Web Applications" that had the look and feel of standalone application were possible since ActiveX and Active Documents first came out around VB 4 time. While I certainly agree that Visual Studio and the one language you choose to use with it represents a VERY steep learning curve (if starting from scratch) -- the simple fact that you have to learn only ONE environment and ONE language to do anything strikes me as a very fair trade-off.

stempy
stempy

I would rather not use a language that is a pain to debug and work with, such as Javascript. Build a RIA with SVG and Javascript, than do the same thing in Silverlight (2.0), maintain them six months later, add upon it, get other developers on it, add video, animations and see what happens.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Why would I use the nightmare of Javascript if I don't have to?

royalstream
royalstream

C# is damn trivial, it's very easy to learn yet its a real language. Javascript is not a real programming language, it's more like duct-tape. What you may like about Javascript is that it's very permissive and that's a great thing for quick and dirty solutions, not so for complex solutions.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

have a chance of writing much better code, beefing up testing, minimising browser incompatibilities and potentially offer clients a much greater level of security. Did you know you can write your .net stuff in javascript (well ECMA script but it's close) with silverlight... Other than that you could be right....

Spiritusindomit
Spiritusindomit

XAML, WPF, and 4 available unmanaged languages comes to mind. If you 'really don't want to learn a language,' you show how little you know about actual development, and how little you understand about programming languages in general.

yobtaf
yobtaf

I have to say that Microsoft is getting into something they have no experience in. Professional artists use the Adobe Creative Suites which is a well thought out work flow and with the CS4 upgrade due in the fall Adobe will take another major step forward. Adobe has been in this business for at least twenty years. No real professional artist would seriously consider the Microsoft apps.

stempy
stempy

Im not too sure what is meant by moved to ASP.NET as Silverlight is client based as opposed to server based, do you mean to standard ASPX pages without using silverlight for presentation. I can certainly understand why your project will not use silverlight due to it's immaturity, but what version of Silverlight was being considered v1.0, or the upcoming v2.0

carlcr
carlcr

Just not worth the disk space or the memory.

Aaron A Baker
Aaron A Baker

Well said Palmetto, I'm defenitely with you on this one. Regards Aaron

stempy
stempy

Yes, Silverlight is just another plugin, which is still in early stages, but look at how quick it is evolving.

jck
jck

Well said. :)

jerang@
jerang@ Staff

Definitely another plugin for my browser! Microsoft hasn't even fully embraced it; check out http://xbox.com as of 06/04

stempy
stempy

Have you seen many RIA's (Rich Internet Applications). Be it AJAX or Flash based. Its the development cycle(as well as features) that differs, if an RIA could be built faster, be more robust, with a more maintainable model (where a dev has to modify something 6 months down the track) that means that you as a user could expect to see Rich applications cropping up faster, be updated more regularly, and possibly cost less to implement. At the moment you wont see much difference (again its new), but basically what it does is simplify the process where program logic meets interface, one of the problems I've experienced with Flash /AJAX is the integration with backend systems which drags out dev time.

stempy
stempy

Its for a media application originally developed in VB6. The app provides scheduled music to different areas within a venue ( for instance bar, restaurant, lobby, or could be different rooms in a house etc). We had to build a nice looking interface for the end user which required a lot of skinning custom windows controls, themes etc, took alot of time, well it's completed and works well now....except modifying the interface (based on winforms on same box) for different resolutions, system environments etc requires lots of planning. Therefore a new approach is to build smaller core (based on the music box) with a web interface (such as silverlight), this would make deployment & maintenance much simpler, yet still provide a rich interface. Flash was previously considered, however didn't really tie in too well.. At the moment its a work in progress and the direction may change. I find Silverlight (SL 2.0 Beta 2) to still have some holes (no combobox as standard, buggy, install issues) though the foundation of it is very well thought out, and I can see it improving at a rapid pace.

stempy
stempy

Ahh, but developers do, and this is what really matters when it comes to web applications. While design is important, Functionality can be achieved without design, but design without functionality cant. As new applications on silverlight grow, and more and more developers take it onboard, they will look for people that can build Silverlight interfaces.. It's all about Development workflow and Creative workflow integrated together, this is where Silverlight development will improve the way RIA's are produced.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

But, I don't pretend to speak for the OP.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

"For many years, Microsoft has given a choice of TWO languages to do EVERYTHING -- Visual Basic (and minor variants) and C#." "It strikes me that learning ONE language that gives you the tools to build ANYTHING beats the heck out of trying to learn 10 different languages that each only solve PART of the puzzle." Do you really believe that or are you EXAGGERATING to make a point?! On the server side I use PHP or C/C++ if performance is important. On the client side I use Javascript. A bit less than 10 languages and the result is more portable and more supported in both the client and server side than silverlight.

stempy
stempy

It's not about just graphic art, design or animations but applications and functionality, which is the developers realm, developers will drive it forward, and there will be new designers who will learn the design aspects of it. Silverlight/XAML/WPF will be another item future projects will be looking for.

mloucks
mloucks

Though I do not know the reason, I had to do a System Restore after receiving the update for Silverlight. Why? Because it "screwed up" the taskbar. Also Explorer.exe constantly locked up. Again, I don't see the correlation but it isn't on my Vista Home Premium machine...or any other.

stempy
stempy

I dont work for Microsoft so I cant tell you from their point of view, only my own. And my honest answer is, if you *want* to view content that developers have decided to use silverlight for, than you *need* to install the plugin, regardless of whether you want to or not. It might seem like its been thrust upon you, and many may get mad, however once the tide settles and it matures, I think it will just be another plugin that no one really thinks twice about. Websites will have flash, they will have Silverlight, little confusing, though that is just the way it is.

decartwright
decartwright

It isn't so much that you were not clear, it?s the answer that somewhat mimics M$. For the average user, an honest question deserves a simple honest answer. Why do I need this today if it has very little benefit for me"? M$, with nearly all of their newly developed stuff, tells the user, "you need this now, trust us, let us install it for you today". IMHO this is where it get's stupid on both sides of the issue, the user decides to trust M$, again, without a clear explanation of "It's cool but not quite ready for you to see what it will do" and "oh, lest we forget, it might be a little glitchy at first so it might make you mad at us (M$) but that's OK". But M$ just continues on doing the same thing, over and over, which many of us wish they wouldn't.

stempy
stempy

Ah, I was just trying to explain what its about in a nutshell, If I wasnt being clear enough, my apologies. It may have come across the wrong way. The main reason to install it today is merely to use the websites that are developed upon it, as a general user, chances are you wont see much difference from flash based interactivity, for now anyway. As time goes on and more developers start to work with it, it will be neccassary to install it, just like flash. Yeah, it is still glitchy, though this should be ironed out. When I first saw it, I thought it was just another nuisance.

decartwright
decartwright

stempy, just as one of the previous posts replyed to you, KISS It was a reasonable question for a reasonable response to look at this install from a users point of view. Why do I need it on my personal box today? Why do I only see a fluffy explaination from M$ that it's a great thing to download today, then much IT response in this blog alone that infers that it is glitchy, just as all new M$ stuff is IMHO.

stempy
stempy

>> pedromc >> I'm not missing the point! There are several easy to use C++ libraries that make build web sites easy and very productive. There is nothing unusual about C# (or other .NET languages) that allows for exceptional productivity. The libraries are key to productivity and good libraries are available for both languages. >> stempy >> That's it exactly, and thats what .Net provides out of the box, I dont disagree with you as to how C++ can do it, however the majority of Web Developers dont use it for web applications. The main difference is I have used C++ and C# so I do understand from a practical point of view some key differences. I was referring to the required language set for a web site. For example, C# + XML + XAML versus PHP + XML + XSLT + XHTML + Javascript. >> stempy >> If it was (X)HTML output then C# can use the exact same tech (XML/XSLT/XHTML/JS), in order to compare to Silverlight, you would need Flash + AS added, I've found XML in C# is much quicker. You don't need "windows development cycle" to produce applications that work in windows and developing portable applications has the added bonus of working in several other OSs with little extra work. Developing portable applications also opens doors in the server room where windows is in the minority. >> stempy >> your right, you dont need it, however it makes life so much simpler, portable apps are great for cross platform, however windows is still a huge world, yes the server market is smaller and yet many huge companies are using it. So .Net apps can be built for both desktop/server scenarios. I never worked with silverlight but it's not true that I "dont know anything about". I know enough see through the hipe and unsubstantiated claims. >> stempy >> I'm with ya there, hype aint too impressive. When I first saw Silverlight 1.0, I thought it was junk and dismissed it, along comes 2.0 and seeing how the community and dev has evolved its great to see. Just search the Internet in general and programmer forums in particular and you will see that the "development productivity" has yet to have a clear winning answer for everyone and anyone. >> stempy >> Correct, but then no language is good for everyone and anyone. Its just that pretty much any software can be built with .Net langugages without having to learn other languages which was what Marty's post was about. I do hope they do upgrade the mono support, thats definitely something that would be good for both Linux and Windows. Whether you like it or not is up to you.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

">> stempy >> I know you can make anything in C++, Efficient, yes, for portions that demand performance, but productive for an entire web application. I think your missing the point." >> pedromc >> I'm not missing the point! There are several easy to use C++ libraries that make build web sites easy and very productive. There is nothing unusual about C# (or other .NET languages) that allows for exceptional productivity. The libraries are key to productivity and good libraries are available for both languages. ">> stempy >> As to language set being smaller, in what way?" I was referring to the required language set for a web site. For example, C# + XML + XAML versus PHP + XML + XSLT + XHTML + Javascript. ">>stempy>> That's nice, however as the majority of users desktops are Windows based, it is very significant." You don't need "windows development cycle" to produce applications that work in windows and developing portable applications has the added bonus of working in several other OSs with little extra work. Developing portable applications also opens doors in the server room where windows is in the minority. ">> stempy >> "I never worked with silverlight" sums it up, your comments are based on something that you dont know anything about." I never worked with silverlight but it's not true that I "dont know anything about". I know enough see through the hipe and unsubstantiated claims. ">> stempy >> If it does follow a similar work division than silverlight development would easily outpace flash..." I have heard equivalent productivity statements regarding C#/.NET for the development of desktop applications but have yet to see it that "cut & dry". To be fair, similar statements exit about many other languages/frameworks so it is not a C#/.NET only sin. Just search the Internet in general and programmer forums in particular and you will see that the "development productivity" has yet to have a clear winning answer for everyone and anyone. To finish this chit-chat, silverlight brings more competition to RAD and RIA and that is a good thing. I will take a detailed look at it when mono get support for version 2.0 and will do some development in it. It is always a good idea to learn new things and, how knows, I may get a good surprise.

stempy
stempy

>> pedromc >> I have built many web application in C++, even if not purely C++, SQL, XML, XSLT, XHTML, CSS and Javascript where there also. A C++ Fast-CGI application makes a very efficient web application model and there is no lack of C/C++ libraries to do just about anything and everything. >> stempy >> I know you can make anything in C++, Efficient, yes, for portions that demand performance, but productive for an entire web application. I think your missing the point. >> pedromc >> With Silverlight you will also need more than just one language (C# or what ever is your choice) but the language set is probably smaller. >> stempy >> Yeah for the presentation (XAML or skip it if the designer is only one touching design), learn C# .Net(or VB.Net, or any of the other .Net Supported languges) and you have a language that will apply to Web Apps, Silverlight or Desktop applications, it really is that simple. As to language set being smaller, in what way? >> pedromc >> True but since a could not care less about "windows development cycle" this is a mute point for me. I try to make my applications as portable as possible. Linux, *BSD, *nix and Windows POSIX are my standard target OSs. I have not done a Windows specific application for many years now. >>stempy>> That's nice, however as the majority of users desktops are Windows based, it is very significant. >> pedromc >> It was an example. Several GUI platforms have bindings for "scripting" languages making it easy to make "full blown desktop apps". There are many examples of "full blown desktop app" in languages like PHP, Perl, Python, etc. >> stempy >> Full Blown windows desktop apps that behave like a app with the same responsiveness, I havent seen any of these.. they must be in hiding...and again, windows is without a doubt the largest consumer desktop for users (despite any issues it has). >> pedromc >> In virtually all Flash+PHP projects I have worked in, the Flash work (client side) was done by designers and the PHP work (server side) was done by programmers with XML used to communicate data between the two. >> stempy >> Exactly the same here, using xml to communicate between the two, I've also worked with Flash Remoting, and didnt like that very much... I never worked with silverlight but I would bet that most silverlight projects will follow a similar work division. By the way, you integration scenario is way too complex, KISS KISS. :) >> stempy >> "I never worked with silverlight" sums it up, your comments are based on something that you dont know anything about. If it does follow a similar work division than silverlight development would easily outpace flash... :) I have worked with PHP Programmers+Flash Designers and while it works, its just klunky compared to how .Net handles it.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

">> stempy >> Yes, I realize that, however working with a .net langugage DESIGNED from the ground up to be both a desktop AND web framework makes a significant difference, try building web application purely in C++ (im sure you could do it..but is that a viable long term solution), or a desktop app (win) in PHP. (I know there are tools and ways to have a pseudo desktop app with php, but its not native to it).. with .net you can build complete applications (be it web or desktop) without needing external languages. Only specific scenarios do you have to develop in other languages." >> pedromc >> I have built many web application in C++, even if not purely C++, SQL, XML, XSLT, XHTML, CSS and Javascript where there also. A C++ Fast-CGI application makes a very efficient web application model and there is no lack of C/C++ libraries to do just about anything and everything. >> pedromc >> With Silverlight you will also need more than just one language (C# or what ever is your choice) but the language set is probably smaller. >> pedromc >> I don't see this a disadvantage since they all have they job and don't get in the way of the others but I would understand if you (and others) see it as a disadvantage. ">> stempy >> very true, however they are not as well integrated on windows as the whole .net platform. I've developed in C and also Assembler, and various other languages (though not Java, Python and variants) and IMO havent seen anything come close to .net for windows development cycle." >> pedromc >> True but since a could not care less about "windows development cycle" this is a mute point for me. I try to make my applications as portable as possible. Linux, *BSD, *nix and Windows POSIX are my standard target OSs. I have not done a Windows specific application for many years now. ">> stempy >> command line being run from php executable isnt exactly a full blown desktop app." >> pedromc >> It was an example. Several GUI platforms have bindings for "scripting" languages making it easy to make "full blown desktop apps". There are many examples of "full blown desktop app" in languages like PHP, Perl, Python, etc. >> pedromc >> As an example, the "Mandriva Control Center" applications (equivalent to the Windows control panel and management applications) are developed in perl. ">> stempy >> PHP -> FLASH, Required to know PHP, Then FLASH design + FLASH ActionScript, integration consists of XML, web services, Flash remoting (Flash Remoting Server), etc" >> pedromc >> In virtually all Flash+PHP projects I have worked in, the Flash work (client side) was done by designers and the PHP work (server side) was done by programmers with XML used to communicate data between the two. I never worked with silverlight but I would bet that most silverlight projects will follow a similar work division. By the way, you integration scenario is way too complex, KISS KISS. :)

stempy
stempy

"Web and Desktop apps" is NOT "EVERYTHING" and "ANYTHING" and even for "Web and Desktop apps" C#/.NET has its trade-offs (also true for PHP, Java, C/C++, etc) that make it a poor fit for many application (e.g. where CPU or memory resources are limited or stressed). >> stempy >> Yes, I realize that, however working with a .net langugage DESIGNED from the ground up to be both a desktop AND web framework makes a significant difference, try building web application purely in C++ (im sure you could do it..but is that a viable long term solution), or a desktop app (win) in PHP. (I know there are tools and ways to have a pseudo desktop app with php, but its not native to it).. with .net you can build complete applications (be it web or desktop) without needing external languages. Only specific scenarios do you have to develop in other languages. That is your subjective experience and differs from mine. I'm more productive in PHP than in C#/.NET. It may be that I have much more experience with PHP than C#/.NET. It may be that PHP fits my personal preferences better. It may be that I have much experience with C/C++ libraries and most of those are also used in PHP. >> stempy >> I think its the experience thing with PHP C#.Net, PHP is still a great langugage and it is a matter of preference, though the thing is, with .net you can do stuff entirely within the framework of it without relying on multiple languages. Hence the reason why Silverlight ties into it nicely. This is also true for PHP, C/C++, Python, Perl, and probably every other language and definitely nothing particular to C#/.NET. >> stempy >> very true, however they are not as well integrated on windows as the whole .net platform. I've developed in C and also Assembler, and various other languages (though not Java, Python and variants) and IMO havent seen anything come close to .net for windows development cycle. I usually make a command line "version" of my web apps for unit testing, validation, profiling and optimization. Most of the code is extensively tested before being called from a browser. >> stempy >> command line being run from php executable isnt exactly a full blown desktop app. f you feel comfortable with C#/VB/.NET then Silverlight is an interesting framework. If not, then there is not advantage in it. >> stempy >> Here is the main difference I see... -------- PHP -> FLASH, Required to know PHP, Then FLASH design + FLASH ActionScript, integration consists of XML, web services, Flash remoting (Flash Remoting Server), etc .Net -> Silverlight, Required to know .Net, Silverlight Design, .Net is used for code, integration process is more straightforward. ------

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

"Web and Desktop apps" is NOT "EVERYTHING" and "ANYTHING" and even for "Web and Desktop apps" C#/.NET has its trade-offs (also true for PHP, Java, C/C++, etc) that make it a poor fit for many application (e.g. where CPU or memory resources are limited or stressed). "I used to be somewhat ignorant too until I used C# for some serious projects and it along with the .Net library just seems light years ahead of PHP" That is your subjective experience and differs from mine. I'm more productive in PHP than in C#/.NET. It may be that I have much more experience with PHP than C#/.NET. It may be that PHP fits my personal preferences better. It may be that I have much experience with C/C++ libraries and most of those are also used in PHP. Any way, language/framework preferences is very subjective. "On the server side, I use C# ASP.NET, in which I can create libraries a desktop app can also use...wow..." This is also true for PHP, C/C++, Python, Perl, and probably every other language and definitely nothing particular to C#/.NET. I usually make a command line "version" of my web apps for unit testing, validation, profiling and optimization. Most of the code is extensively tested before being called from a browser. "Now Silverlight comes along, I can program it in C# (or VB.net if wanted) without learning a new programming language... Granted there is always new stuff to learn (WPF/ XAML etc), but hey that's what development is about." If you feel comfortable with C#/VB/.NET then Silverlight is an interesting framework. If not, then there is not advantage in it.

stempy
stempy

He believes it, and so do I, I switched from PHP for that very reason (after using it for 5 years). I used to be somewhat ignorant too until I used C# for some serious projects and it along with the .Net library just seems light years ahead of PHP Its the entire development and integration of .Net that makes developing Web and Desktop apps much simpler than other approaches. On the server side, I use C# ASP.NET, in which I can create libraries a desktop app can also use...wow...I can also use Javascript if desired, (and the ASP.NET postback model) Now Silverlight comes along, I can program it in C# (or VB.net if wanted) without learning a new programming language... Granted there is always new stuff to learn (WPF/ XAML etc), but hey that's what development is about.

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