Cows (livestock) produce 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the cars and trucks on earth. -- U.N. report
I've been watching the buzz around Silverlight 2 Beta 1 since it came out, and there's a new beta that will be out this week (yes, I was the guy that asked Scott Guthrie when it would be released at the MVP Summit conference). If you look at my "Playground" short url site with a Silverlight tag query, IttyUrl.net, you'll see hundreds of new Silverlight - related links, as developers and pundits post their creations, articles, and streaming videos to show what they've learned and to share their techniques.
The underlying Silverlight technologies (XAML/WPF/WCF and .NET) are encouraging client-side Windows developers to think beyond boring forms apps and get into the promising world of vector graphics with 3D, streaming HD media and "animated everything". Microsoft is simply extending existing proven technology to encourage developers to use the power of the client-side to ensure that "Windows" apps continue to make web-apps look boring. There's even a Maya plugin to export a Maya rendering as XAML -- which you can use in Silverlight!
The Silverlight .NET runtime enables developers to provide cutting edge multimedia user experience in the browser. I am seeing that a lot of Air, Flex and Flash pundits don't fully understand that Silverlight is not a Flash substitute. .NET developers can use the exact same development assets, paradigms and tools they know and love -- .NET objects, Controls, Visual Studio, WCF, WebServices and more.
If you stop to think about it, Silverlight and its OOP .NET foundation are the perfect platform to web-enable Microsoft Office and similar apps - you have IsolatedStorage for client -side OOP persistence, and all is built - in to a security - protected execution sandbox.
Silverlight is now getting positioned as the new web-based .NET application platform. It will soon be on Nokia phones, Linux workstations and OSX. The MONO people are putting it on Linux ("Moonlight"), with Microsoft's blessing. Even the iPhone could run Silverlight, since it runs the full Safari browser. And now, I've just read that Silverlight will be shipped with millions of HP computers. But -- that's just the beginning; it is clear to me that Microsoft has determined Silverlight is the new direction, and they will not stop.
With Silverlight now coming out on Nokia phones, delivered as part of the Olympics coverage, and embedded throughout MS properties and content, with new deals materializing everywhere, Microsoft is starting to gain enormous distribution potential. Of course, Microsoft would love to package Silverlight with the Internet Explorer 8.0 install experience - if they can get past the legal hurdles. And that would be, well -- huge.
I believe that Silverlight is a critical and consummate technological strategy from the Redmond Mother-Ship. It allows them to leverage proven tools and technologies from the client, set the accepted minimum standards higher on web-based experiences, deploy client-side apps through the browser, and broaden the MS platform reach into every device and screen comprising a user’s experience on the web.
You can read a lot of pundits claiming "Why Silverlight will fail", etc. Typically they will say that you don’t really understand the rival technology but have already decided that you'll be using Silverlight because it’s from Microsoft. They will extoll all the server-side technologies you can do with Flex, Adobe LiveCycle, J2EE, etc. But they forget that Silverlight runs a subset of the .NET Framework ON THE CLIENT - in the browser, and that it supports dynamic languages. They will say things like, "Open your eyes, MS fanboys".
The anti-Microsoft "Why SIlverlight will fail" fanboys are just that - their better judgement has been completely obfuscated by their fanatic, fallacious belief that if something comes from Microsoft, it has to be "bad". Boy, are they going to be proven wrong. And - it won't take very long, either.
My 2 cents.