Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Comments on Silverlight

I was originally going to post this on some blog, but I decided not to for now. So I'll post it here.

First, I'm not a great developer. I'm not a bad developer, I'm a middle of the pack dude. I do some fancy stuff sometimes, actually innovate occasionally, but most often I'm stuck in the day to day duldrums of retrieving data and displaying it in some meaningful way on a screen, and taking a user response and saving it to a data store. A little bling is always good, but often I can only provide two of three things (functionality, quick delivery, and "bling"). Usually the bling suffers under the two of three constraints that I often find myself in. Silverlight and Flash, as far as my world generally goes, are bling.

I love what people do with Flash, but we are Microsoft shop so for RIA we play in the Silverlight world. I built a demo project in Silverlight three, even throwing in some Telerik Silverlight controls for EXTRA bling, and it didn't thrill me. I'm facing doing some serious Silverlight 4 development and now and although I will put my head down, crank the music, and code conquer it, it doesn't thrill me. What does thrill me is compiled Javascript, hardware acceleration for HTML 5, web sockets, etc... I don't really know why that thrills me more. It shouldn't, but it does. I think I for better or for worse represent your average high end Mort low end Elvis developer that Silverlight has to thrill if it is going to survive. It just isn't there yet, maybe version 5 will do it. All I know is that after hacking away in version 3 and walking away from it for a bit, I'm finding myself feet dragging a bit in starting a new project in Silverlight 4. Yesterday in my down time I wrote a little adventure game using javascript, crappy animated gif's, and some CSS in a few hours. I just can't wait to get some more spare time to add sockets and make it multiplayer, add ai/pathing, dialogs, etc... That thrilled the heck out of me. Heck I might even use Silverlight as a bridge for the sockets, I wouldn't mind doing that. But if I tried to do the same thing with Silverlight, I would spend hours and hours in Silverlight 4 and it will not thrill me because I would be less productive and constantly running into issues. I guess it is just me.

Maybe in a few days hacking stuff out I will be in love with Silverlight, but for some reason I have my doubts. Don't get me wrong either. I love Microsoft products. Wouldn't want to be coding in anything else but Visual Studio 2010. Love the new Razor syntax. Everyone hates web forms including myself but I've done some cool stuff with them. But for whatever reason, Silverlight to me (currently) was/is a drag.

I'm really looking forward to see what IE 9 / Google 6 / Firefox 4 come up with.

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