Although Microsoft is invested in HTML5 technologies and is building its desktop browsers on HTML5, the company is saying that its multimedia-rich Silverlight plugin can take the web into deeper places than HTML5. Silverlight technology, like Flash, has not received a lot of attention lately with the rising impetus behind HTML5, but for Microsoft, Silverlight still is able to extend the web far beyond what HTML5 is capable of.
According to Brad Becker of Microsoft, “On the Web, the purpose of Silverlight has never been to replace HTML; it’s to do the things that HTML (and other technologies) couldn’t in a way that was easy for developers to tap into. Microsoft remains committed to using Silverlight to extend the Web by enabling scenarios that HTML doesn’t cover.”
Silverlight is valuable in business and consumer use, and will be easy for developers to adopt according to Microsoft. The technology could be used to create enterprise apps, premium multimedia experiences, and consumer games. Additionally, Silverlight offers HD video streaming capabilities, DRM and content protection, 3D video, and smoother, scalable streaming.
Becker says that HTML5 and CSS3 will get worse before it gets better just because the specs still need to be finalized, whereas Silverlight is already there as a standards-based option and will work across multiple browsers. “For HTML5 to be really targetable, the spec has to stabilize, browsers have to all implement the specs in the same way and over a billion people have to install a new browser or buy a new device or machine. That’s going to take a while. And by the time HTML5 is broadly targetable, Silverlight will have evolved significantly.”