I went Microsoft's website and in order to see some videos is requests me to install Silverlight? Is there any benefit?

I don't really feel like installing a plugin from Microsoft, but I wonder is there anything special I might be missing, or is it just the Microsoft substitute for flash?

  • For now, the only thing you'll be missing is videos on Microsoft-related websites. However, the plugin is really starting to pick up some steam, so I suspect there will be more websites that use Silverlight in the future. I'd say only install it if you really need it. – Sasha Chedygov Aug 25 '09 at 3:15

Wikipedia on Silverlight:

Microsoft Silverlight is a web application framework with a scope similar to Adobe Flash. Version 2, released in October 2008, brought additional interactivity features and support for .NET languages and development tools.

So basicly, it is a competitor to Flash that uses .NET languages and is more focused on developing interactive web applications, rather than animations and movies.

Currently, Silverlight is only available for Windows and OS X, but there is an open source implementation being developed by the Mono team entitled Moonlight.

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I plan to install Silverlight only when:

  • I stumble on Silverlight application which is so great that I will want to go through the hurdle of installing Silverlight
  • I stumble on so many Silverlight applications that I can't bear browser nagging me to install Silverlight anymore

So far, I've seen Silverlight content on two random links I clicked, which didn't interest me much anyway, so I'd say that I won't install it anytime soon. :)

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  • 5
    The hurdle??? It takes a minute. – miloshadzic Aug 25 '09 at 11:58
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    It may only take a minute to install, but it is another plugin that sites could use to irritate me so I'll have to muck about with something like flashblock. It is also another plugin that might introduce vulnerabilities as others have in the past. I'm not spending that minute installing it until it is essential to me. If sites that make non-essential use of it nag me irritatingly then I go to other sites - there are plenty out there. – David Spillett Aug 25 '09 at 12:54
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    It's not just a minute. Do I install it on each of three computers I use? Does it have a Opera plugin? Do I want plugin for all of three browsers I use from time to time? Since it's MS software, will it break something else and how deep does it integrate with the rest of system? Does it need .NET? Is there offline installer which I can add to my installation disks? A lot of decisions only to view a single web page. But my main point is - I won't install it unless I happen to want to see something which is made in Silverlight. So far I haven't seen such a thing. – Domchi Aug 28 '09 at 19:40
  • @Domchi - The Silverlight 3 plugin supports Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari as well as IE - all with a single installation. In fact I only installed Opera and Safari after I'd installed Silverlight and they "just worked". – ChrisF Oct 19 '09 at 11:36

Silverlight is basically Microsoft's take on flash.

Everyone knows what Flash is, but the difference is that Silverlight is basically a cross platform (almost) version of what ActiveX should've been (eh... sort of!)- It enables developers to make Rich applications that are sandboxed from the rest of your computer.

At the moment, Flash is still the winner in my books, but Silverlight has many really cool features - This is my favourite for a demonstration of variable bitrate video streaming.

Neither of these technologies will go away any time soon, personally I would still use Flash as Silverlight does not yet have the same reach, but it certainly is one to watch and is getting better all the time.

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    Silverlight is basically Flash that runs on the .NET framework. So theoretically, it's better than Flash, but its market penetration isn't even close, so that's the only real drawback. – Sasha Chedygov Aug 25 '09 at 3:43

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