Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Silverlight 1.0 Released: Linux via Moonlight and Expression Encoder

Category: .NET, Microsoft

<p>Microsoft’s Silverlight 1.0 has been released.

They seem to be touting the media side of things strongest (a.k.a. Kill Flash):

  • Built-in codec support for playing VC-1 and WMV video, and MP3 and WMA audio within a browser. The VC-1 codec is a big step forward for incorporating media within a web experience – since it supports very efficiently playing high-quality, high definition video in the browser. It is a standards-based media format that is implemented in all HD-DVD and Blueray DVD players, and is supported by hundreds of millions of mobile devices, XBOX 360s, PlayStation 3s, and Windows Media Centers (enabling you to encode content once and run it on all of these devices + Silverlight unmodified). It enables you to use a huge library of existing video content and provides access to the broad ecosystem of existing Windows Media tools, components, vendors and hardware.
  • Silverlight supports the ability to progressively download and play media content from any web-server. You can point Silverlight at any URL containing video/audio media content, and it will download it and enable you to play it within the browser. No special server software is required, and Silverlight can work with any web-server (including Apache on Linux). We’ll also be releasing an IIS 7.0 media pack that enables rich bandwidth throttling features that you can enable on your web-server for free.
  • Silverlight also optionally supports built-in media streaming. This enables you to use a streaming server like Windows Media Server on the backend to efficiently stream video/audio (note: Windows Media Server is a free product that runs on Windows Server). Streaming brings some significant benefits in that: 1) it can improve the end-user’s experience when they seek around in a large video stream, and 2) it can dramatically lower your bandwidth costs.

But there is also the Ajax (or Kill Ajax?) side:

  • Silverlight enables you to create rich UI and animations, and blend vector graphics with HTML to create compelling content experiences. It supports a Javascript programming model to develop these. One benefit of this is that it makes it really easy to integrate these experiences within AJAX web-pages (since you can write Javascript code to update both the HTML and XAML elements together.?).

As well as putting out a final version (which will be nicely auto-updated), there was also the announcement that Miguel de Icaza’s, and his team at Novell, are now officially the Linux solution via Moonlight.

Microsoft already announced Silverlight 1.1 with all of the goodness of the DLR, so a lot of people are just waiting for that!

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Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:03 am
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I love this, I believe this fight between MS and Adobe will benefit “consumers” greatly in the long run.

Comment by Mark — September 6, 2007

We’ve all been here before, with the browser war. Microsoft is going to give silverlight away until flash is dead as a commercial product, and then they’re going to stop feature development and phase out the other platforms. Exactly like they did with IE.

Consumers will not benefit from this.

Comment by Joeri — September 6, 2007

The big difference is Adobe can afford to give Flash away, and they would still have a view good cards in their deck. (ie: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc…)

My gut says Flash will prevail.

Comment by jake — September 6, 2007

Joeri -
I disagree. Flash will not go anyway soon. In the next few years, they HAVE to improve flash to compete. Anyways Flash has been free long before Silverlight came out.
While Silverlight is getting away from “Open” Ajax, it does offer some serious improvement to the browser model. Did you read that last bit? “Since you can write Javascript code to update both the HTML and XAML elements together” – this is a HUGE improvement.
XAML is not just Windows Presentation – it is workFlow and Transactions from the UI. It IS the unified presentaion model we have been working for.
Now that .Net (and Silverlight) can be used on Linux along with Microsoft’s Ajax – this is a BENEFIT to Open Source.

Comment by Ric Johnson — September 6, 2007

Ric -
Adobe has no business case to keep making flash if it does not turn a profit. Microsoft has a business case to make silverlight despite that it runs at a loss. Adobe is facing an uphill battle unless they open source the platform (in which case it will be like mozilla / firefox: essentially immortal).

As for XAML integration and so on. Yes, it’s nice, but it’s not unique. Adobe already released a flex/javascript integration kit a while ago that exposes the flex DOM to javascript and vice versa. (In fact, this was posted on ajaxian: http://ajaxian.com/archives/adobe-announces-a-flex-ajax-bridge )

It’s nice that the mono guys are making an open source version of the silverlight toolset, but I wish they wouldn’t have been so gung-ho microsoft and simply implemented an open source flash player a few years back (and kept it up to date). You would have the same thing, but not from a company that has a vested interest in seeing cross-platform technologies fail.

Comment by Joeri — September 6, 2007

Miguel is a traitor working for novell and M$, mono and .net is a piece of shit and it does more harm than good to linux. The same can be said of silvershit and its purpose.

Distrust everything from M$ and novell. period.

Comment by scriptkiddie — September 6, 2007

One thing that I find disappointing about streaming video in Silverlight from a simple HTTP server: I don’t think this setup allows you to seek random portions of the video. For Silverlight to support “seek” functionality, you need a special server. Whereas you can achieve “seek” with Flash videos, as demonstrated by Google Video and the beta YouTube player.

Comment by Julien Couvreur — September 6, 2007

I’m very excited for Silverlight, mainly because Microsoft is finally officially supporting Mono for Linux. I can’t wait to play around with cross-platform .NET/C#/JS/Ruby/Python.

Comment by Andy Kant — September 6, 2007

What’s this? Microsoft blesses a version of silverlight that works on Linux but Adobe’s AIR is still Mac and Windows only? Microsoft is first to Linux with a cross-platform rich web development platform? Something funny is going on here.

Comment by Matthew Nuzum — September 6, 2007

> Silverlight enables you to create rich UI and animations, and blend vector graphics with HTML to create compelling content experiences. It supports a Javascript programming model to develop these…

At that point, why not get the IE users to download Canvas and then they can catch up to the rest of the browsers. I’d rather have a fraction of my users have to d/l and wait than all of them. Flash has spent YEARS branding their name until 90%+ of users feel comfortable. I don’t Silverlight has that kind of endurance.

I appreciate the VC-1 codec, it is insane to me how hard it (still) can be to get high-quality video to play for users on different platforms, but I don’t think that’s enough to get past Flash + H.264.

Comment by Charles — September 6, 2007

Joeri,
Thanks for the feedback. FYI – I am a .NET developer by day, but an Open Source here at night. I think it is great that ecmascript engine was donated to mozilla.
I am given to understand that the Open flash alternative was also thrown quite a few curveballs. The facts of the matter: These are businesses with a obligation to compete. Sometimes they do it in a way that may be legal, but I do not agree with.
I own the #1 XAML site on the net, so I might be biased (a little, maybe) – I think it is great! BUT… it would have been nice to work with XUL.
While I may be a bit confused on MY role in between camps right now – let me tell everyone a little secret: the Microsoft of today is NOT the M$ of Netscape Era. Yes, I know about the scandal with OOXML – bear with me a minute: Bill Gates et. all did not get where they are by hiring dumies – they _learned_ from their mistakes. Yes I know Drs. Google are also pretty smart, which is why they are doing so well.
Here is the hope for the future: OpenAjax is the first world collaboration between ALL the top companies. Jon Ferraiolo is doing a great job as a technical diplomat, and I thank IBM for allowing him to work on it. I think we all should help make it work. Then again, I am ALSO the guy that donated OpenAjax.Org, so I may be biased. I am also cynical: Silverlight COULD be a step back from a true objective there as well. But my the only way I can play me hand is honestly: Do our best to abstract out specifc libraries and make the new Web!

Comment by Ric — September 6, 2007

Ric -

I have no doubt about the sincerity of people inside microsoft when they preach openness. I just have doubts about how much the shareholders have changed their mind. The reality is that windows is microsoft’s cash cow, and if something would threaten the sale of windows licenses, microsoft would be forced by the shareholders to put a stop to it. If silverlight/mono was a runaway success, it would be axed as a multi-platform tech, no matter what the intentions of the microsoft employees are. It’s just business.

Granted, adobe has its own flaws, but at least they have no obligation to their shareholders to kill successful cross-platform technologies. So since flash and silverlight have comparable technical merits, I’ll stick with flash where html-based tech won’t do.

Comment by Joeri — September 7, 2007

Joeri,
Maybe Windows WAS the cash cow, but *nix is getting some respect now. I do admit that some of the recent ‘live lock-ins’ worry me and I hear new features of .Net may only be availalbe for Vista, so they may be trying to keep the OS dominance in that way.
Then again, maybe Silverlight would enable a new revenue stream. I have to believe Microsoft’s strategy teams have to assume an end-game of NEW products.
I am not throwing out Flash. it can only get better now with competition. Adobe is far from gone. (Hmm… maybe that is what the ruckus about OOXML really was about – a one-two punch?)

Comment by Ric Johnson — September 7, 2007

@Joeri,

Windows isn’t their cash cow anymore, too much piracy. They make all their money off MS Office; and with how great Office 2007 is, I don’t see anyone being able to stop it. They definitely will want to keep Windows’ market share, but in order for Silverlight to be successful, it NEEDS to go cross-platform, hence the support for OS X/Linux. (I really wish that Microsoft would 100% support the Mono project so that Mono would be a full set of the .NET framework though.)

Comment by Andy Kant — September 7, 2007

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Comment by Vytas — October 12, 2007

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