Silverlight on TV and in Startups

I get exposed to a lot of girly TV shows. The reason is, my wife is one of those people who can leave the TV on for background noise, but not actually watch it. I’m the opposite. If a TV is on, I tune out everything else and get enraptured. During the working day when I’m at home, I’ll get up to get coffee or some food from the kitchen, and then return to my office to continue working. This path takes me past the living room where the Tivo has selected some weird show about modeling or some other celebrity thing.

One particular show was Entertainment Tonight. Walking back to my office, I saw the Microsoft Silverlight logo. Naturally I slammed on the breaks, and stood there staring. This guy, one of the ET hosts, talking in all announcer voice went “Go to ET online where you can view other video content powered EXCLUSIVELY by Microsoft Silverlight”. Wow. I think I’d convulse on the ground like a 1980’s break dancer if they said that about Flash Player. If Ice-T wasn’t enough, now we have TV shows marketing it. Holy fish.

Miles away from Adobe. Granted, both companies I think do a great job at engaging developers, but while the Adobe community makes their own banners, Microsoft fronts the bling for a media blitz.

In other news, I got my first Silverlight 2 startup email. All through 2006, bit smaller amount in 2007, I’d get a least 3 new emails a week from startups looking to create some web app using X back-end with a Flex or Flash front end. It was really weird timing. I just told my CTO last week that we should hold off on any huge Silverlight endeavors that are greater than video players until at least Q1 2009. The reasons were Silverlight 2 is still in alpha, there are no official components yet, and we’re still at an early stage. For all of my positivity about Microsoft’s toolsets, Silverlight the plugin still needs to become ubiquitous in reality. Everyone can talk about how Microsoft can use Windows update, installation CD’s, etc., but it’s all talk and no action. Until I see numbers of successful installations and I can duplicate the ease of install on multiple computers, it’s not viable.

Hopefully by Q3 of 2008, we’ll have all the toys ready to play with. At that point, we can start doing some serious investigation into the realities of porting some of our existing Windows Media content into a more Flash based realm; where video is dynamic and multimedia centric. Granted, we can do this now with all the alpha bits. Tons of people and companies did this with Adobe’s Flex 2 Alphas and Betas, building real-world projects, just waiting for the final release. They are doing the same thing now with Adobe AIR; in beta 3 and people are chomping at the bit to release on a final version with their already built products. I just mean actual development that isn’t considered skunk works and done off the company clock to make real progress with investigations.

I can see how a company could perceive on how they could effectively build a product on alpha bits given both public videos such as Top Banana, and Adobe’s track record with usable beta’s. However, Silverlight doesn’t have a component framework out yet. If I’m wrong and it has an alpha version, then you’re good to go; if not, there is no point. Spending your time creating a List component vs. using a List component to build your product is a waste of time unless you plan on somehow monetizing your component work.

Anyway, the tone of the email was the same as the rest I’ve seen in the past. Meaning, there will be more emails like this one. The Silverlight marketing is working.

6 Replies to “Silverlight on TV and in Startups”

  1. Jesse,

    It’s a marathon not a sprint, so each to their own but i wouldn’t fault your advice if you were skilled in both Flash and Silverlight (right tool, right job, right time). That being said, if you’re not and using AJAX/ASP.NET slowly migrating into Silverlight isn’t all bad news, in that a hybrid approach is still viable.

    I’m skilled in both Adobe and Microsoft and I flip flop between both for different Proof of Concepts.

    btw, it’s ICE Cube, not ICE-T .. heh


    Scott Barnes
    RIA Evangelist

  2. I’m with you on waiting on Silverlight for 2.0. It’s will be great once they ship it and prove good cross-platform and cross-browser reliability. I have one client really chomping at the bit for it, too. I also have several other clients that weren’t so sure about Flash/Flex because they think that Silverlight will make it easier for their existing c# developers. I tried convincing them that their c# developers should be able to learn Actionscript relatively painlessly, but I still see their point on waiting for the Microsoft game since they’re involved in only that game and they’re not really trying to use RIA for any competitive advantage, just internal apps and such.
    I look forward to seeing the beta in the rumored January, which should have some controls and such.

  3. Good post, and yes… I saw that clip on ET, too… weird. My wife watches the show and I get subjected to it.

    At work we recently created a beta of a HD video kiosk using AIR, and it worked great… not sure I’d feel the same way about trying to create a fullscreen Silverlight app yet.

  4. Hi Jesse! Are you aware that developing components for WPF and Silverlight is a lot easier then for Flash or Flex? More control etc. Maybe this is my experience because I always liked developing delphi components and .net components, though.

Comments are closed.