Sunday, June 3, 2007

Emails from the Edge; The Big Silverfish

I love the smell of emails from port in the morning (oops, evening). They smell like...victory.

- Richard Wade imitating Robert Duvall from "Apocalypse Now."

Some Mo-

Ray Ozzie: "Back in the '80s, at the dawn of the PC revolution, the explosion in PC demand was fueled by the ability to create documents, words, numbers, charts, presentations," Ozzie said. "We're delivering a complete family of tools and framework for the design, development and deployment of media-rich applications from Silverlight on the Web to the full .NET Framework in Windows, from Visual Studio for developers to Expression Studio for designers." might think SilverLight is Microsoft's exit ticket from their island operating system out to the greater web at large.

But, there's just one little problem: SilverLight does nothing for .Net applications and the outside-Microsoft world as of now.

I would suppose SilverLight will be mated up with the capabilities it should have when Microsoft finally gets around to settling the VCSY patent conflict... or are they REALLY going to wait years for a trial to play out? Not a very smart strategy while the rest of the marathon runners are already far far ahead. Sounds like the wild hare's idea of competing.

While writeups like this: make

SilverLight seem like the next platform for delivering applications (SilverLight is an XML derived GUI platform) the truth is Microsoft left out a vital part of the idea... some way of making actual applications with SilvverLight as opposed to applets on the browser.

Despite the protestation in the above post:

“Silverlight isn’t just animations in applets, far from it - it is a very serious development environment that takes desktop performance and flexibility and puts it on the web.”

...the truth is Microsoft has not contributed anything of significance in the way of web applications with SilverLight.

The following post on a ColdFusion site says it better than I can and says a lot about how Microsoft treats people who don't have the opportunity to educate themselves more thoroughly on technical issues. It's why big corporations buy the buzz then face the saw.

This is where I threw my hands up in disgust. What in the holy name of Scooby-Doo are those people thinking?!?! After poring through the API, I thought "I must be mistaken. Surely this is a mistake." But then I asked a colleague and he confirmed it for me. Let me skip a couple lines and highlight this so you all can see it clearly.


So, I will summarize Microsoft's efforts to date around Silverlight. They have created a declarative programming model that uses XAML as an instantiation language for rich 2D (not 3D) content and animations, as well as extended JavaScript to support this model. Using this model, you can create embedded mini-apps that have access to rich animations, graphics, audio, and video objects. However, these mini applications cannot communicate with the outside world, they cannot consume web services, and they cannot bind UI elements to data. In addition, this model doesn't even have support for things that should be considered a stock part of any library such as buttons, checkboxes, list boxes, list views, grids, etc.

In short, unless my findings are incorrect, Silverlight, as it stands now, with no support for data binding, service consumption, or basic UI controls, is a worthless steamy pile. I just took a huge step in Flex's direction.

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