What is SilverLight?

SilverLight is a web application framework by Microsoft that is used to make videos and games and other interactive media on the web. It is little known out there, but users say it is a viable alternative to Flash. SilverLight has a user friendly GUI that makes it easy to use several programming languages like Ajax and C++. All the graphics and animation are combined into a single runtime environment for ease of programming and deployment.

SilverLight supports Windows and Mac and Linux, and even mobile platforms are currently being developed for use in mobile phones. It can support WMA, MP3, and WMV formats easily, in all main browsers. The earlier versions of SilverLight did not render so well in Firefox though, but with the latest version, SilverLight 3.0, which was released in July 2009, SilverLight is now fully compatible with most browsers out there.

Flash games made from SilverLight load faster than the conventional Adobe Flash. For this reason, SilverLight is becoming more popular these days. Interactive menus and animated buttons all work better and faster in SilverLight.

From the user perspective, SilverLight requires a download of a plugin if you’re using Firefox or any non IE browser. This is similar to Flash, so it should not really be too bothersome, when one can have all the goodies that SilverLight has to offer. From the perspective of a web programmer though, SilverLight is often likened to the next best thing to sliced bread! And I think it can only get better over time. For more info on SilverLight, check out the official website on SilverLight here.