application development. But, I found myself stumbling the first time I
needed to articulate my reasons. It was just a gut feeling. But after
spending a few minutes sketching my thoughts, I’ve proved my intuition
to my brain.
There are 3 main reasons to not use Silverlight: future web
development needs, development time, and user experience.
Plugin Lock-In – When IE started to suck, it started loosing market
share to better browsers. This was only possible b/c IE ran off
accessible standards. It’s unlikely that someone will develop a
“better” version of Silverlight. What happens if Silverlight doesn’t
get updated for 10 years, just like IE.
HTML5 – HTML5 is going to provide a lot of the same goodies that
Silverlight provides. It already has support of Google and Apple.
Group Standards – Yes, group standards move slow. But things seem to
be picking up lately. however compare IE’s DOM standard to the
W3C’s. Oh, don’t forget IE’s implementation -> Damn you Peekaboo
Competition – With Flash, Flex, Titanium, JavaFX, Silverlight is not
Backend lockin – If you want to develop flex, you pretty much have
to be running WCF
from a .NET backend. The great thing about Thin Server Architectures
is that your back end becomes replaceable.
Tools – I’d rather use Firebug than the overweight Visual Studio any
day. Also, errors from other people can be much easier tracked.
jQuery won open-source project of the
Scripting vs Compile Languages- Scripting languages produce less
code. Less code almost always means more maintainability. But, this
is a matter of preference. I just don’t think Compiled wins by
Testing – It’s very hard to test silverlight. Selenium does not
Percieved Performance – Load time is pretty much the most important
you need to. This is more important than smooth animations in IE6.
In the Box – Silverlight is mostly trapped in its box. Either this,
or you have to make the entire page silverlight.
Mobile Support – Good luck getting this on an iPhone.
OS Support – There’s a project for it for Linux. But considering how
bad flash is on Linux, why would Silverlight be different?
Plugin Download and Install Base – Currently about 50% of people
have Silverlight. Are you going to make 1/2 your users install the
Accessibility – You can’t highlight text.
Phew, that was quite a diatribe. There are some good reasons to use
can’t do. Also, some considerations should be made to your