In the fight between Silverlight and Flash… we win!

It is highly possible that if you are reading this you already have some knowledge of Microsoft’s Silverlight encroaching on Flash’s web design and development turf. But just in case you have only heard of Silverlight here are a couple of the basics.

Microsoft created Silverlight as a web application framework meant to offer functionalities similar to those provided by the market giant Adobe Flash. Silverlight is an interactive runtime environment which integrates multimedia, graphics and animations, pretty much exactly what Adobe Flash does.

The latest version was launched on July 9th of 2009 and by then Silverlight included additional features and support for .NET languages and various tools used for web development.

So how does it compare to Adobe Flash?

From an animation point of view it is worth to mention that Silverlight supports the WPF animation model which is time based as opposed to the frame based model of Flash. You define the start and the end conditions and the software figures out how to get there for you. There is no need to deal with Flash matrixes or to calculate positions on various frames.

On the video side of things it is well known that Adobe Flash supports a whole lot of video formats but there is a problem when creating tools that outputs Flash content, the problem is that the formats it supports are not really used by anyone else. There are also some issues related to the H.263 video codec implementation.

The audio formats supported by Flash are all proprietary except for ADPCM of course, but nobody in their right mind uses it because of its horrible compression; it also offers MP3 support but this still means that you will require paying licensing fees.

On the other hand, Silverlight uses the industry standard VC-1 codec for video and of course it offers WMV and WMA support. Microsoft also offers a free SDK encoder for producing WMAs and WMVs.

Silverlight supports a very limited number of platforms; it only supports Windows Vista/XP/2000, Windows Server 2003/2008, Windows Mobile 6, Mac OS 10.1/10 for both the PowerPC and Intel chip Macs.

On the other hand Flash supports all of those as well as Linux 5, openSUSE 11, Ubuntu 7.10 and later as well as Solaris 10; this means that Flash has by far the largest platform range.

Silverlight is also very limited when it comes to its supported image format, it only supports .PNG and .JPEG file formats while Flash supports almost all of the image formats. And as of yet Silverlight does not support playing a file as a Windows application while Flash files can be compiled into Windows applications and then run as standalone .exe files.

Microsoft has entered the graphic web development market in a very strong manner and while Flash continues to dominate Rich Internet Application it is very clear to everyone that they are constantly taking notes and that they are in it to pose a real threat to Flash’s 90% market share.

On the other hand that massive market share cannot be ignored, Adobe has a definite monopoly in this area because it has been around for a long time and developers are used to it and have learned how to use it to its maximum potential and with Adobe Flash CS5 just around the corner the status quo doesn’t look to change any time soon.

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9 Responses to “In the fight between Silverlight and Flash… we win!”

  1. Microsoft has not entered the “graphic web development”. MS only leverages his programming tools to publish on multiple platforms and only scratched the surface from a graphics standpoint of view. Sliverlight is about coding and deploying.

    Also, supporting “standards” developed by themselves is not actually “supporting”, it’s more than “pushing”.

    Also comparing only desktop experience but talking about a generic market share smells fishy. You might want to state where you get your numbers from. 90% doesn’t sound like desktop share where Flash has over 98% penetration.
    Even it said 90% is true for all the web-market share (that is including all mobile devices), this is soon meant rise to new levels since Adobe started the OpenScreenProject.org and is backed up by all major hardware manufacturers.

    I think that there was never a fight between Silverlight and Flash. Silverlight does not intend to lure and convert Flash developers. The major goal is to provide tools for their own developers.

    That being said, you, my dear flasher, LOSE. Competition in such a market is in our client’s favor and interests, not yours. You as a flasher might want to encourage Adobe’s monopoly.

  2. I like competition 😉

  3. I found your blog via Google on Sunday while searching for adobe video and your post regarding looked very interesting to me. I was impressed by your site and offerings. I was looking at some of the articles and it really impressed me. All I can say is congratulations on creating this site and what took you so long? I look forward to returning.

  4. Thanks, I can tell that this is my hobby when I have free time 🙂

  5. – great post, I think this covers most of the questions that I had about flash web design

  6. I found a great tips here. Thanks for your contribution for helping peoples looking for similar articles.

  7. you’re welcome.

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    bookmarked and definitely will be returning!

    and like Comic-book guy from the Simpsons says – “out of a possible 4 stars, I give this website 5 stars” 😀

  9. thanks man, really appreciate