Silverlight


You know, I’ve got to stop reading PC World. Every article I read reminds me of how much I don’t know about computers. It’s gone past humbling to embarrassing. Today’s issue was entitled: “Microsoft to Heat Up Battle vs. Flash in ’08” and is at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140683/article.html?tk=nl_dnxnws.

Now, I had heard of Silverlight but to think that it would become a major competitor to Adobe Flash?

The web is certainly changing. Everywhere you go, you’ll run into streaming video instead of the text and picture presentation from the past. Typically, developers of this content have been converting their documents into Flash Video (.flv) files. The reason is obvious when you take a Quicktime or AVI file and look at the size of it. It would have to be a pretty compelling documentary to expert that visitors to your website or blog will take the time to allow the movie to download and then play. However, when you convert the file to Flash video, you end up with a movie that is greatly reduced in size. There is a price; the quality is greatly reduced through various compression features. However, the bottom line is to get the video to play in a variety of browsers and get it to do so quickly. There have been all kinds of recent enhancements as you’ll note with the frequency of updates and the number of developers that are producing for the Version 9 Player, forcing us to upgrade.

Then comes a competing standard. You’ll need to download a new player to play Silverlight videos and the Microsoft website talks about the “small size” of its player 2MB in size. The trick will be to convince the drive by surfer that it’s in her or his best interest to take the time to install the player to view the content. How do you make it appealing?

It appears as though Microsoft’s plan will be to get popular sites to switch. In the article, they make reference to NBA.com as an example. So, if we have all of these basketball fans with the plug-in installed, who’s next? A quick visit to NBA.com indicates that it hasn’t happened yet that I can see.

It will be an interesting trend to follow. If the net result is that you’ll have a better streaming multimedia experience on the web, it will be worth the 2MB download. Hopefully, the lessons learned about software vulnerabilities will be learned and incorporated into the product.