Ever since I first started to use Silverlight, back at version 1.0 and the managed code alpha 1.1, one of the big appeals was the multi-platform support. For me, multi-platform support in this day and age needs to include more than just a Windows machine or an Apple Mac, it needs to include all flavours of operating systems, including those used by phones. One of the big problems, even for the so called “media rich” iPhone, is that video streaming from websites that use Flash video players, just simply doesn’t work….
Streaming video – no flash…
Recently I got married, and as part of our video package our videographer put together a highlights video. This is great fun, and obviously we wanted to share it with a number of our friends and relatives. Our videographer uploaded the video to a popular video sharing website (not YouTube) and we shared this via Facebook etc. However, a number of friends tried to access it straight away from their iPhones, alas they couldn’t view it because the player used was written in Flash.
Now the iPhone has been quite strict about allowing flash to be supported. A number of reasons exist for this, namely that Flash often slows down the website loading time, or can cause all sorts of problems (crashing etc). However, it seems that Apple maybe supporting Silverlight very soon.
In a report for Betanews.com, Scott Fulton stated that he watched an impressive demonstration of an iPhone streaming video, using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology.
It seems Microsoft have been working with Apple to make this possible, basically getting to a point where Apple is happy having media streamed with Silverlight onto their phone.
So why Silverlight and not Flash
Ahh well, though Adobe claims 99.7% of web browsers are capable of displaying Flash content, Flash is widely criticised for being an antiquated, less than optimal platform. Silverlight content is based on its own flavour of XML (XAML) and without getting all geeky, means Silverlight is a more modern technology that is more powerful, more flexible, more compliant and less likely to crash than Flash. As a developer, Silverlight provides a greater wealth of possibilities and because it is built on .NET (the engine), it means it can be leveraged for more than just multi-media content, it can be used for powerful applications – yes, even mission critical business applications….
Here is a post I wrote on why we choose to use the Silverlight technology; you may find it quite useful. https://andrewonedegree.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/why-we-choose-silverlight/