Drunk on Software #23 “I’d give it a 4.5 out of 10″

In Episode 23 we chat with Adam Flater and Rob Rusher about some very controversial topics. Adam points out James’ wishful thinking when we discuss what defines something being a “Flex application”. Jon gets the award for best quote of the episode when we discuss Flex and its community. Things get fun as we discuss […]

Windows Mobile 7 Series

Calling all Silverlight developers.

If you are a .NET developer today your skills and much of your code will move forward. If you are Silverlight or XNA developer today you’re gonna be really happy.

I am shit-hot excited about Windows Mobile 7 Series. I think it looks great, I love the design elements from the latest Zune software (something I also really like). And I think what seems to be their developer strategy is awesome. Take expressive platforms like Silverlight and XNA and bake them right into the DNA of the phone. The result is going to be some really slick looking applications.

I also used to talk a bit about a diversion in the strategies for Flash and Silverlight. Obviously they’re still competitors, but if the Silverlight experience on WinMo 7 is application based, I think it does represent a big difference in how Silverlight and Flash are approaching the mobile space. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong, just different strategies based on the two companies strengths. But in the end, I have a lot of faith that the Silverlight designers and developers I know are going to help build an ecosystem around Windows Mobile 7 Series that will look next-gen.

Plus, with guys like Anand Iyer shifting focus to WinMo, it’s clear it’s a very important part of the strategy for Microsoft.

Gartner RIA MarketScope: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Boats ImageThere’s always a lot of back and forth between the Flash crowd and the Silverlight crowd. And that’s fine, everyone needs an enemy and competition ends up driving everyone to have better features, better performance, and a better platform. But one of the things I’ve always thought was that Microsoft’s entry into the RIA space would end up being good for everyone. Microsoft has a lot of developers but there are also a lot of developers who don’t like and won’t use a Microsoft solution. Those people also need RIAs.

According to the Gartner MarketScope on RIAs it looks like Microsoft jumping into RIAs pushed adoption across the board in 2009. I don’t have the full report yet but here’s the quote from the blog post that stood out:

Now that Microsoft has validated “heavy RIA” in the eyes of many enterprises, interest in RIA technologies is increasing across the board. Frequent Gartner inquiries indicate that clients pit Ajax vs. Flash vs. Silverlight against each other in evaluations for new RIA projects. What does this mean for JavaFX and other technologies? Tough to say for sure, but my bet is that the “heavy RIA” arena comes down to a battle between Adobe and Microsoft, and that there is enough room in the market for both to be successful.

This isn’t supposed to be a happy-feelgood post. I want Adobe and our community to kick ass and continue to be the leaders in the RIA space. But I’m glad Microsoft is raising awareness; it helps when we can talk about why our platform is better for RIAs and not go back to what RIAs are :) .

I’m stoked about 2010. Especially if it’s a battle between Ajax, Flash, and Silverlight. We’re starting to get a big lead in mobile, AIR continues to do well as a desktop RIA solution, and we’re starting to monetize our own RIAs with services like Acrobat.com. There’s been a slight trend towards “native” which is being led by the iPhone, but don’t discount the persistent desire to create rich, desktop-like experiences with all of the flexibility and scope of the web. The web is still going to win and RIAs will be a big part of that.

Photo by Flickr user jal33

UK’s largest commercial broadcaster drops Silverlight for Flash

Following the news last week that Microsoft and UK-based retailer Tesco announced a commercial agreement (no details of the financial arrangements were published) it is interesting to see that one media company who previously adopted Microsoft Silverlight for it’s online TV catch-up service has completely replaced the Silverlight-based player for one built using Adobe Flash Player.

ITV Player

ITV, owner of the UK’s largest commercial television channel in terms of audience share and advertising revenue, had been using Silverlight since the launch of the service, but if the ITV forums and other reports are anything to go by, the use of Silverlight had certainly caused frustration for many visitors to the site trying to use ITV Player.

I have no inside knowledge as to what caused ITV to walk away from Microsoft’s technology and instead use Flash Player to stream programmes such as Coronoation Street, Emmerdale and X Factor on the ITV Player; it seems though that a combination of the reported technical problems experienced by end-users and the relatively low distribution of the the runtime, which required most visitors to install Silverlight, proved to be too much of a barrier for end-user adoption, especially when compared with the successful use of Flash for BBC iPlayer, 4 on-demand and Five TV’s Demand 5 service.

Note: it looks as if ITV are still in the process of updating their site so expect some minor issues whilst they finish the process.