Adobe's ubiquitous Flash has never had serious competition, which allowed it to become the dominant technology for Web multimedia, even though its complexity causes some headaches for developers. Yet Microsoft's Silverlight stands to give Flash a run for its market share. Now available in beta, Silverlight is slated for a 1.0 release this summer and is already drawing strong interest from developers.
Attendees at Microsoft's TechEd 2007 conference in Orlando, Fla., crowded into a packed Silverlight overview session Monday evening, led by Developer Division General Manager Scott Guthrie. A recap of slides and demos first shown at Microsoft's Mix07 show last month, the Silverlight session showcased the technology that Microsoft is relying on to bring its technology platform beyond the operating system and into the Web browser. Silverlight is a subset of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) system that powers Vista. It aims to best Flash in two ways: By offering better-looking, more advanced display and interactive functionality, and by featuring better tooling support.