Saturday, September 5, 2009

A look at what’s Silverlight

What is Microsoft Silverlight?
Silverlight is a lightweight plugin that allows you to watch video content in your browser in much the same way as Adobe Flash does on sites like YouTube. It works with most major browsers including Firefox, Safari and Chrome and plays WMV, WMA and MP3 content. Although there is no prompt to restart the browser after installation, I recommend you do so as the first Silverlight content I accessed after installation simply crashed Firefox.

What is new in the last Version of Silverlight V3.0?
Silverlight 3.0 has recently been released as an attempt to bridge the ever increasing chasm although it’s developers rather than end-users who will notice the most new innovations.

Silverlight 3 finally supports AAC audio decoding as well as hardware-accelerated H.264 video decoding which were big omissions in the previous release. Microsoft have also finally decided to open up the “native multimedia pipeline” so that other formats can be supported if the codecs are installed. Microsoft Silverlight 3.0 still maintains the ability to stream high resolution video and supports HD quality videos.

Does Silver-light has some opponents?
Although Microsoft’s Silverlight was originally conceived as a competitor to Adobe Flash, it now finds itself competing with Abobe’s web 2.0 platform, Adobe Air. The harsh truth is however, only 2 years on from its original release and Silverlight has already fallen woefully behind Adobe Air. In typical Microsoft style, the software giant surely missed the boat by aiming at a competitor for Adobe Flash when the web world was already looking towards interactive Web 2.0 platforms such as Adobe Air. It says a lot that the New York Times recently dumped Silverlight for Adobe Air to re-launch their Times Reader application.

Finally, How to start?
If you want to create content for Silverlight, you’ll need Expression Studio and Visual Studio.
Animators are also now far better supported with “Perspective 3D” which enables transformation of 2D elements to 3D.

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