Now days you must have come across a word called "Silverlight". Well, you might think what is silverlight. And being a common man It's hard to understand by the language given by Microsoft of Silverlight.
"Silverlight is a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications when online or offline."
Now, For a common man to understand Silverlight. I have my own version of definition to give.
"Silverlight is a Technology for creating engaging application for web and desktop which can run on your PC, Mobiles and even on your entertainment devices like XBOX 360."
Why the hell we need Silverlight (We have been using Flash!!!) ??
Well, I guess that's a valid point why the hell we need silverlight since we have flash. In my opinion, when flash was designed. Its focus was more on creating interactive Ads. Its foundation is based on Ads. so It was never built for modern day application. and Silverlight has been targeted at much bigger market of Enterprise customers who want LOB (Line of Business) Application for their environment and also to continue using their existing skill set. So, Silverlight's foundation is more application oriented. which means that you can get better applications and games up and running in almost no time. and plus its optimized for modern day hardware to utilize power of current multi-core processors.
What are other alternatives to Silverlight?
There are 4 major compititors to Silverlight.
2. Flash / Flex
Flash.Flex is considered biggest competition for Silverlight. It has been around for over 10 years and has really matured into exceptional platform for application development. It has the highest user base with installed plug-in. Flash plug-in is lighter in download then Silverlight.
Well, all is well with flash then how silverlight can compete with such a giant. Well well, This giant has a big problem. Adobe is not a developer company Its a designer friendly company. And on the other hand Microsoft is well know for its love for its developers. which means you get better development tools to develop silverlight (My favourite Visual Studio and Expression Blen). Plus Silverlight is very very much developer friendly and designer friendly. and since its a microsoft product you can expect a ton of resource to learn silverlight.
When it comes to install user base. Silverlight has more than 60% of total market covered and its progressing really fast. Plus you can get a whole lot of developers who can develop on silverlight using existing .Net skill set.
JavaFX has backing of one the oldest platform-independent framework JAVA. yes just like java, JavaFX also runs everywhere. JavaFX also allows you to use you existing skill set of Java and for designing it uses CSS like syntax. and Java also has huge user install base.
Now comparing to Silverlight its still an immature product to develop for. Its has been around for 2 years now. but has not matured enough. plus, there are very less resource available to learn JavaFX quickly. JavaFX can catch up with Flash and Silverlight in very near future. It has great potential to do so.
4. HTML 5
These days we all are hearing about how HTML 5 will change face of Web. At present HTML 5 is just a draft and that draft is implemented by many different vendors. I can say it will take around a year and half for wide adaption of HTML 5. at present you can't depend on HTML 5 for your business demands. plus it is only supported by few browsers and that too in beta stage. HTML 5 promises to bring great features through <canvas> and <video>. plus it will be able to provide much needed features that lacked in HTML 4.
All in all, All other technology are great at creating web application. then why silverlight?. this can be a big debate to answer this question just like that. when selecting between these technologies lots of factors come under consideration like.
1. Your existing skill set.
2. Target Audience
3. Target Devices.
4. Cost and Time for Development.
5. Stability in Technology.
Why i think silverlight has great future is because,
1. Its backed by a giant in developers "Microsoft"
2. It has many unique features and excellent line of Development Tools.
3. Internet is full with the silverlight resource.