Flash/Flex vs Silverlight…

 

I was cleaning up my inbox earlier today and came across this awesome slide that highlights the key benefits and differences between Silverlight and Flash/Flex model. I just finished the Adobe 360 Flex conference in Seattle yesterday and this slide helps me understand both the platforms much better. A quick search on the web also points me to Michael Schawarz’s blog which has a more detailed slide and a very active discussion. None the less, I thought this would serve as a good slide as I talk about Silverlight in my events this quarter.

Features/Benefits
Silverlight
.NET
Flash/Flex

Rich 2D animation/graphics with audio and video
yes
yes
yes

Industry standard video codec
yes
yes
no 

Scalable video format from HD to mobile
yes
yes
no 

Hardware-assisted editing and encoding solutions
yes
yes
no 

XML (XAML)-based presentation layer for SEO
yes
no 
no 

Choice of standards-based and high-performance languages
yes
yes
no 

End-to-end server and application platform
yes
yes
no 

Media server licensing (unlimited bandwidth)
$999
$999
$4500

Content access protection (DRM)
yes
yes
no 

Client side playlists for ad-insertion
yes
yes
yes

Robust video publishing tools and third-party ecosystem
yes
yes
no 

High-performance, multi-core enabled client
yes
yes
no 

Scalable full screen video up to HD (720p)
yes
yes
no 

Native support for device-based video
yes
yes
no

Offline, document support
no 
yes
no

Data Exchange with Web Server (Ajax, Web Service)
yes
yes
yes

Encrypted Content
no
yes
no 

Binary or Text Format
text 1
binary
binary

Easy Installation Support for Platform Requirements
yes 
no
yes 

Tools
yes (Beta/CTP)
yes
yes 

3D Support
no
yes
no

3rd Party Controls
yes 2
yes
yes

Client size
~2MB
~50MB
~2MB

Supported operating systems
Windows/Mac
3
Windows
4

Windows/Mac
Linux
Mobile (light)

5

1 maybe will be changed later; currently you could GZIP the content to reduce size of XAML code
2 using wpfeControl.createFromXaml(xamlstring); 
3 Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, Windows Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 1.5.0.8 and 2.0.x; Apple Mac OS X, Firefox 1.5.0.8 and 2.0.x, Apple Safari 2.0.4
4 .NET 2.0: Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista; .NET 3.0: Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2; Internet Explorer 6, Windows Internet Explorer 7. 
5 Flash Player 8: Windows Vista and Windows XP; Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Internet Explorer 7; Windows 2000 with Internet Explorer 5.x; Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x or later, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later; Mac OS X, Internet Explorer 5.2, Mozilla 1.x, Firefox 1.x, Safari 1.x or later.

Go on, Light on the web with more confidence!

While you are at it, also read the article 10 Things You Should Know About Microsoft’s Silverlight‘ published in Computer World. Here’s a succinct compile of the 10 things that the article talks about…

1. Silverlight Avoids Cross-Browser/OS Issues

2. Silverlight 1.1 Is the Real Story

3. Silverlight Uses Technologies Your Developers Already Know

4. Silverlight UI Is just Markup — Like HTML

5. Silverlight and AJAX Technologies Are Complementary

6. Silverlight Allows Developers and Designers to Work Together

7. Silverlight Deliverables Are Not Atomic

8. Silverlight Is New

9. Silverlight XAML versus WPF XAML

10. Silverlight Is a Great Way to Learn XAML

-Mithun Dhar

Technorati tags: Silverlight, FLash, Flex, .Net, Compare

Flash/Flex vs Silverlight…

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4 Comments on “Flash/Flex vs Silverlight…”

  1. Michael Gaio Says:

    Hey this is great to get this list. A few things you may have forgotten:

    – Does the platform have a vastly supportive community and loads of third-party resources developed for over 10 years?
    NO
    NO
    YES

    – Is the client-side engine ubiquitous?
    NO
    NO
    YES

    – Will the platform publish applications to the desktop across all platforms?
    ?
    ?
    YES (with AIR)

    – Will the platform integrate and interoperate seamlessly and intelligently with major Adobe design applications such as PhotoShop and Illustrator (and more) … thereby naturally supporting collaboration between developers and most designers?
    ?
    ?
    YES (of course, it’s all Adobe)

    Contrary to the above, Flash / Flex operates in many of the same ways that SilverLight does (including building UI from an XML type description).

    And Flash / Flex does have very good 3D support through various 3rd party products and extensions that have existed for years, such as SWIFT3D. And PaperVision3D (a Flash implementation) is by far some of the best 3D happening on the web right now.

    Many of these other features will be certain to be integrated into FLash/Flex as it continues to develop.

    Anyway, aside from comparative features, and Flash’s clear advantage in already having vast adoption, it will be interesting to see how the overall quality of SilverLight as an actual MS product performs.

  2. Michael Gaio Says:

    And also don’t forget that there is a free SDK version of Flex available off the Adobe website.

  3. Michael Gaio Says:

    Oh, and just today, Adobe announced that it is integrating a standard format for HD video into the newest version of the immensely popular Flash video player.

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/coming-soon-web-video-in-high-definition

    So we will likely see HD video coming to YouTube.com, ABC.com, and NBC.com, who are already using the Flash video player (along with 98% of all desktop computers, and millions of handheld devices).

  4. notboss Says:

    Is Silverlight 1.0 released yet? And you’re comparing it (somewhat inaccurately to Flash 8?)

    Your list is nonsense.

    When Silverlight 1.0 and Flash 9 with h.264 are both shipping please do a real comparison.

    In the mean time you might at least take the trouble to read this on Flash and the industry standard h.264:

    http://www.kaourantin.net/2007/08/what-just-happened-to-video-on-web_20.html

    and this on multi-core Flash:

    http://www.kaourantin.net/2007/06/multi-core-support.html

    Of course there is more but I can’t ask you to work too hard, can I?


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