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Imran Shaik Silverlight Quintessential Rambling

First, I would like to thank everyone who emailed me, and they are my inspiration for this quite lengthy blog entry. I have received emails asking me to publish more source code to replicate few Windows/Mac applications, and I remembered I had this conversation with some developers few months back about developing blogs and/or forums using Silverlight, why is everyone disappointed at Microsoft for not providing controls in Silverlight? I can understand with not providing controls for Keyboard entry, but what about simple controls like Button?

The very idea of this baffles me, I have been trying to put myself in other developers shoes to get to terms of what they actually think about RIA. Is RIA just like any other platform for them? Is RIA going to end up just being Rich Applications? Why do developers want to develop applications in Silverlight anyway?

I happened to ask this question to developers I personally know and on Silverlight.net forums, and asked what RIA means to developers,designers and architects, I got few responses  and few others ideas I got speaking to other developers, designer and clients and this is what I found the difference between the community.

Developers Perspective 

It is clear that mostly developers prefer clean platforms with clean and nice tools with work with, Silverlight enables them to develop desktop-type applications for the web, giving richness, and interactivity to their applications. Ability to use familiar .NET model, with existing languages (C#, VB, Python, Ruby) and ability to distribute the task between design and development.

Designers Perspective

This is more messed up than I first thought, on Silverlight.net forums, it is easy to see the difference with the number members distributed between developers and designers, its easy to see that Developers are more interested in Silverlight than Designers, but why? The designers that I have spoken to embraced Silverlight only because its suppose to be "Flash Killer", or because its developers and clients that pushed them (necessity)  if given the choice they would still go back to Flash, I have seen this trend in almost all designers (although few wont admit it). And I don't find a reason to blame them, Silverlight is more developer oriented, and Expression Studio isn't even half as good as what its suppose to be.

Clients Perspective

Clients are easy and single minded, their perspective is logical - Cheap, can be developed with existing framework saving loads of time and money, developers are easier to find than ActionScript. And richness to easily to integrate within existing model. 

My Perspective 

Yes, being a developer and designer I have my own perspective, and before I say anything I want to come back to reason for this post, developers wants to replicate existing desktop application on the web, nothing is wrong there but building simple web applications replicating desktop applications I see it as a waste of resources, if you want to create blog or forum which mostly to display texts, then why Silverlight? what is interactivity in there? And why disappointed over availability of controls in Silverlight? My idea of Silverlight is to strip it of everything traditional , buttons, sliders and if I had my way I would even try to strip text boxes, and build my own controls, Silverlight should be used to replicate life objects not desktop applications. So what am I bragging about? Silverlight give the power to imagine and bring your imagination to life, don't waste it on replicating applications that already exist.

Internet Vs Interactive

The difference as I found out in the perspective or RIA was the argument I was trying to ignore and it lies in the acronym of RIA, its between Rich Internet Application and Rich Interactive Applications. In this on-going argument about the acronym of RIA, where Adobe says its "Rich Internet Applications" and Microsoft coins "Rich Interactive Application". I am equally loyal to both Adobe and Microsoft so I can fairly say that I am equally neutral in this argument.

The difference however, lies is what you attempt if you want to create your desktop applications on the web with all the richness you could gather then its Rich Internet Applications, and if you want to personalise your application with imagination and provide it with the interactivity that would exist in life than elsewhere, then its Rich Interactive Applications.

Whatever your perspective of RIA, Silverlight has already laid down the ground work and its early adoption is going to decide what RIA would mean to this world, as for the acronym I like to define it as "Really Idiotic Argument"

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2008 11:28 PM | Back to top


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