Sep 22nd 2010

Silverlight: the future of web development

We might have heard people saying “With Silverlight, The Web Got Richer”. Many of the developers working on Microsoft platform have started considering Silverlight as the likely future of (web and windows) computing and it might prove to be the next big thing in the web space.

Let’s see what makes Silverlight the likely future:

  1. Silverlight lets existing .NET developers leverage their existing skills, while primary competitors like Flash and Flex will push you to start over.
  2. A part of Silverlight appeal is that it is cross-platform, means that it is independent of Windows versions and even would work with Mac as well.
  3. Talking about the deployment scenario… “Click Once” deployment was good, but people now have started trusting the browser as a deployment vehicle. Silverlight comes handy again. 
  4. Silverlight has now included support for Webcam and Microphone.
  5. Support for Multicast Networking - enables the enterprises to interoperate seamlessly with the existing Windows Media Server streaming infrastructure.
  6. Support for accessing local files and folders on the user’s system.
  7. Support for COM Interoperability - you can communicate with Microsoft Office applications from Silverlight.
  8. Enhanced Support for Out-of-browser applications - Silverlight now provides a seamless support for RIA applications to work on the desktop without the need of any additional code or runtime.
  9. Support for Clipboard API & Printing API that lets you create a virtual visual tree to print from Silverlight applications directly.
  10. Other features include: Drag and drop support, Support for hosting HTML content using WebBrowser control and Support for handling right-click mouse events.

Silverlight can help Business/Enterprise applications

Silverlight, apart from offering nice features to build RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) also contains the power needed for smart client business apps, with the best deployment and navigation characteristics of the web. The typical business app is built for internal users and must be built quickly and without the aid of professional designers. To fulfil this, Silverlight includes the following features to help make rich applications affordable:

  • Full set of 60+ pre-built controls, fully style-able
  • Productive app design and development tools
  • Powerful performance with .NET and C#
  • Powerful, interactive data visualizations through charting controls and Silverlight Pivot Viewer
  • Flexible data support: Data binding, binary XML, LINQ, and Local Storage
  • Virtualized printing
  • COM automation (including Microsoft Office connectivity), group policy management

Performance

The responsiveness of applications and the ability for a modern application to perform sophisticated calculations quickly are fundamental elements that determine user’s experience. Silverlight exhibits features like hardware acceleration of video playback, Just In Time Compiler, user-responsiveness through multithreading and many more. In many situations today, Silverlight is the fastest runtime on the web.

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