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Are you ready for Microsoft Silverlight?

manoncomputer16487063.jpgWhen the 2010 Winter Olympics were being broadcast, you may have noticed a number of commercials promoting the latest and greatest release from Microsoft, know as Silverlight. What is Microsoft Silverlight and how is it going to change your computer?Right now there are 4 versions of Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight 1 is installed on about 20-25 million computers and it has had a few kinks, so we are already up to Silverlight 4 and it has already been released. You can actually download Silverlight 4 right off the Microsoft website.

So what is Microsoft Silverlight exactly and what makes it so great?
According to Microsoft, Silverlight is a new platform that allows businesses and individuals to create engaging and interactive application to share with others not only on your computer, but on mobile devices like your iPhone, Blackberry, Netbook, and many other things.

Silverlight is basically as rich internet application. Web developers have the ability to create unique interfaces on their webpages instead of using the boring and traditional HTML coding.

What does it cost?
Silverlight is free. It is a plug-in that uses a .NET framework in order to carry across multiple platforms and devices. As long as you have access to the internet, you will have access to Silverlight.

Understanding what a Rich Internet Applications are

What are rich internet applications and how do they work exactly? A rich internet application will help online users to see responsive interfaces and applications that are faster and better from the traditional applications that are currently being used.When a user clicks on the website, they won't experience the long download and exchange times as there aren't these large blocks of information that need to be processed, instead it is sent in smaller bits of data. All in all rich internet applications provide a better experience for the user.

Comparing Silverlight to Flex
Right now Flex is one of the most popular rich internet applications, holding all but 10% of the market so Silverlight does have a large uphill battle to face.Flex is popular because it was built on flash technology, which most designers are comfortable with and like to use. It is also easy because most of the major browsers support flash technology and it's freely available. The difference with Silverlight and flex is that with Flex, you need to run it on a completely separate system from Silverlight.

Since not all websites have the Flash plug-in, your users will need to separately install it in order to use the sites you have created. The other frustration with Flash is that you constantly need to update it. This is the only way in which you can keep the software working correctly and make sure your customers are able to see the information you have designed. If the user doesn't have Flash or if they don't like Flash, it's common for them to drop the website altogether.

Why Silverlight stands out

Since you can see how Silverlight is built upon a completely different platform, how does it stand out? The main reason why Silverlight stands out is because of its superb performance. Unlike Flash technology, Microsoft says their Silverlight technology is more reliable and stable. It is also built to suit all major browsers not just Mac and Windows; it's also able to support Linux along with Windows Phone 7 and Nokia series 60.

Microsoft Silverlight provides faster, more reliable experience to customers. Finally you will be able to get the same innovation on your cell phone and other mobile devices as you will get on your computer or laptop.

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