March 31, 2008

Thoughts on Silverlight

So, I guess you could say I've seen the light regarding Silverlight. Tonight's FSDNUG meeting with Chris Koenig has revealed to me a few reasons why Silverlight can be a better choice than Flash, especially depending on the environment you already have in place. Before I go further, I should note that I'm specifically referring to Silverlight 2.0, which is still just in Beta 1 right now.

  • Developers already familiar with C# or VB .NET don't need to learn a completely new set of tools. (see: learning curve of Flash/ActionScript)
  • It's even simpler if you're familiar with the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), as Silverlight is a specific subset of that feature set/framework.
  • It can coexist with Flash in a page.
  • Tools to set apart GUI Design from the rest of the development. Even though Silverlight will never see the light of day where I work, WPF probably will in a few restricted areas and these tools will work for that as well. Though, much to the chagrin of most of the developers they've talked to, they don't implement source control yet.
Silverlight's not without its downsides though. It appears that talking back and forth between the browser and the Silverlight app still has to go through some rather lengthy calls back and forth to the page's Javascript.

In other news, I won a license for ReSharper, which I plan to put into heavy use at work as soon as I set it up and figure out how to use it. I know some particularly nasty looking pieces of code that should look nicer once I get the refactoring tool after it.