If you keep tabs on the world of web 2.0, then you’ll have heard something about Microsoft’s newest offering, Silverlight. Silverlight is an outstanding piece of technical wizardry, with even long time Microsoft critics admitting that it is a very good product. But while the technical people and the application developers may be very happy about it, what does Silverlight mean from the tech-savvy web 2.0 user who isn’t a developer, but simply a user? Right now, not much. However, given time and sustained interest in the new platform, it could mean a lot. Let’s take a look at what might come of Silverlight.
Flash is currently the most popular technology on the market when it comes to developing streaming media via a browser. But Silverlight promises to do all that Flash can do and much more. Silverlight will allow distribution of video at very high quality (720p or high definition) and will also allow native full screen viewing (as opposed to the current alternative of a maximized browser window). What might eventually make Silverlight a better option than Flash are the new web services that Microsoft is building around Silverlight (and currently distributing full of cost). A service called Silverlight already allows users to store their content and Silverlight based web programs on Microsoft’s servers. If Microsoft handles this properly, we might soon see a large number of new multimedia sites springing up offering richer multimedia and data services and overall better usability for the end user.