What is Microsoft Silverlight

What is Microsoft Silverlight


Microsoft it seems is trying their best to regain their grip on the computer world. With more people turning to the sleek designs of Apple products and the ‘cooler’ Internet browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, the battlefield has shifted to cyberspace. And Microsoft’s latest addition to their thriving arsenal, Silverlight technology, might just do the trick.

Which gives rise to the question, what exactly is Silverlight technology? Well, one thing for sure, it’s more than just a fancy name.

Silverlight is a programmable web browser plug-in that allows media to be played over the Internet. This plug-in gives the user the ability to hear audio, view video and animation that are abundant in high Internet applications. Basically, it’s a competitor to the Adobe Flash Player and although they’re similar, they’re not exactly the same.

Tech specs

Developed under the codename Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E), it allows the integration of audio, video and interactivity in a single runtime ecosystem, in the same way the Windows Presentation Foundation does. Working in conjunction with XAML, they contents of a Silverlight application can be indexed and is searchable by search engines.

Content-wise, it supports the usual range of WMV, WMA and MP3 formats without requiring Windows Media Player, Active X control or already a Windows Media Player plug-in. This makes it a one-stop centre for Internet multimedia and eliminates the need to download different plug-ins for the same application.

Silverlight is compatible with Windows Vista Home and specialized Edition in addition as with the Windows Mobile 6. Mac users can also download this plug-in since it can be used on the Mac OS.

For the average user

The specs might make sense to a web developer, but what about the average man on the street? Normal Internet users won’t care whether the site they’re visiting is made from Flash or Silverlight. How will it affect them?

Well, for one thing, Silverlight can make their application much more searchable. As said before, Silverlight content are displayed on screen by text-based markup language called XAML. Although this might not average much to the average user, it does to huge search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Unlike Flash sites, which search engines can’t dive into, Silverlight content will be made obtainable as search results just like any other text on a webpage.

Also, for the users who opt for less-used platforms and browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome, this plug-in will endear to them, since most Internet applications run on popular platforms. And although Microsoft doesn’t usually tread the waters of Mac and other operating systems, most web developers have given positive early reviews to Silverlight and this opens a lot of possibilities.

And these possibilities are already apparent in Microsoft’s products. Match.com has already produced a characterize which allows users to chat to each other on the Internet without resorting to a third-party messenger. Video sites such as Netflix and CBS.com has unveiled their new video players which have additional community features. For example, the syncing of two videos by two different users which gives them the sense of watching a movie together on Netflix.

Silverlight technology is already obtainable for download on select platforms. And although it is nevertheless new, it is promising to be an important part of Internet applications in the future.

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