When I first heard about Silverlight, Microsoft’s new “Flash killer”, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Flash has been around for a long time, and is a great way to do various cross-platform things, since it runs in the browser and (mostly) behaves the same way across platforms. How would Silverlight match that?
This morning’s article in eWeek has me taking a little more notice. Not because of Silverlight, but because of the new DLR – Dynamic Language Runtime. It runs on top of the .NET CLR and allows developers to create applications – including Silverlight – using .NET, or Ruby, or Python, or other dynamic languages. This is extremely cool, because the biggest problem with Flash applications is, well, creating them.
In other words, I’m a lousy designer. So the concepts of timelines and frames in Flash makes my head spin. I was extremely happy when I dove into ActionScript, because I was mostly back in my home territory.
But being able to use a language like Ruby to create applications which interact not only with each other, but applications written in other dynamic languages, and .NET, and Silverlight? That might be the step to really push a movement in this direction.
Of course, I just hope that Microsoft truly follows through with Cross-platform and allows these things to run on Macs and Linux and other platforms. It would be a shame to have something so cool, but still be locked into Windows with it.