Microsoft Silverlight: A Competitor to Flash?

Microsoft has announced their new Silverlight technology and billed it as "a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web."

Although Silverlight is in beta and requires the beta version of the next version of Visual Studio.NET, codenamed Orcas, it does offer an interesting glimpse into the future of web development within the Microsoft platform. Perhaps the biggest barrier to acceptance is the requirement for a runtime download, much like Flash requires a player download.

The difference is that Flash is already installed on a large percentage of desktops, allowing web developers to count on its availability. Microsoft’s new Silverlight runtime will have an uphill battle to compete against Flash in this respect. But the ability to created rich new web applications using a platform-independent runtime and support for AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby is appealing and offers a powerful new set of tools that ASP.NET has not historically provided.

If you are a web developer, take a look at Microsoft’s next generation tools:

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