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Will Silverlight Be DOA?

Silverlight is a worthless steamy pile. I just took a huge step in Flex's direction

Kevin Hoffman's Blog

Lately there seems to be a lot of buzz around the whole Flex, Flash, Apollo environment for creating extremely powerful, cross-platform RIAs (Rich Interactive Application). In the interest of fairness and objectivity, I've been reserving judgement until I got a chance to really play more with Flex. Likewise, I hadn't really made any judgements about WPF/E yet, either.

So, when I read today that Microsoft had changed the name of WPF/E to Silverlight, I got a little excited. Why? Because by changing that name, it sounded a little bit like Microsoft had finally decided they were going to throw down the gauntlet and try and compete directly with Flex.

I went and saw that Microsoft had re-skinned their WPF/E developer page and it was now called the "Silverlight Developer Zone" , which looked promising. Even more interesting was that there was now a download for the February CTP of WPF/E for the Mac. This looked really good, so I grabbed the CTP for Vista, grabbed the SDK, grabbed some samples and started to look around.

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.

WPF/E (Silverlight) HAS NO SUPPORT FOR BINDING TO MODELS, BINDING TO DATA, OR EVEN CONNECTING TO NETWORK RESOURCES TO OBTAIN DATA.

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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More Stories By Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.

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Most Recent Comments
Michael Washington 08/06/07 10:17:53 AM EDT

Silverlight supports web services. This allows you to access and update any data source you need to. You can create any controls you need to for the UI. The fact that you have to make them yourself keeps the Silverlight install small.

Marc Wolfson 07/18/07 05:55:42 PM EDT

Hi Kevin,

Please check out the current (Silverlight 1.1)SDK at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb404713.aspx

We support data access with LINQ, Network Access via the slimmed down .NET sliverlight framework so that you can write some .NET code to bind to these resources (as well as web services) so that you can then have your Silverlight code interact with the .NET code that binds to this.

We also support direct access from Silverlight to web services via JSON (Java Script Object Notation) and POX servcies (that allow calls to simple web services)

There is much more support (streaming media, XLINQ

If you have questions feel free to email me and I can connect you to others as well.

With VS2008 due by end of 2007 we will directly support Silverlight applications with all the WYSWG support you would expect. As with any new platform the early adopters often have to hand code things a bit until the tools catch up. :)

Junior 06/18/07 01:41:27 PM EDT

Why is it that this "article" is now listed as "Published June 2, 2007", when it was in fact published in April 2007, and has been proved to be completely inaccurate to boot? It's like someone is trying to resurrect the FUD in the "article" by republishing it two months later.

Andrew Badera 05/04/07 11:29:51 AM EDT

The only steamy pile I'm seeing is this article. Piss poor "research." You've have just lost all credibility. Your article makes me think you casually perused the API while throwing back a few at the bar, for all the in-depth analysis and accurate results you've produced.

Anon 04/25/07 09:31:34 AM EDT

Silverlight does have web service support:

http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com/2007/04/linq-related-sessions-at-mix.html

anonymous 04/23/07 04:57:51 AM EDT

Are you going to apologise for posting utter tosh?

Oh wait, you had a sneaky 'Unless I am incorrect' disclaimer. Neat!

Brett 04/22/07 08:19:28 PM EDT

Bloggers like yourself is what makes blog articles unappealing and useless. The worst thing about people like you is that there is no credibility system in place. Posting erroneous information coupled with a very strong wording should result in your dumb face not blogging for sometime until you learn to research before writing.

anonymous 04/22/07 11:11:14 AM EDT

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000844.html

Isaac 04/21/07 11:33:34 AM EDT

You better check your fact before publish BS on the blog.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000844.html

Anonymous Coward 04/20/07 01:36:03 PM EDT

Don't you think "steaming pile" might be a little strong to denounce Silverlight? Microsoft has always done mediocre 1.0 releases, but if there's a priority to build an RIA framework to compete with Adobe, then I wouldn't count Microsoft out just yet.

Francois Dubuc 04/19/07 08:59:56 PM EDT

In fact, nothing surprized me, Adobe is so far away in front of everybody that Microsoft will take years to get just close to what Flash/Flex can do....

Silverlight Guy 04/18/07 10:13:38 AM EDT

It's a beta dude!

SEO News 04/17/07 10:45:41 PM EDT

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.

.NET News 04/17/07 08:51:11 PM EDT

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.