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MS To Push Silverlight Via Redesigned Microsoft.com 710

Posted by kdawson
from the bye-bye-html dept.
Marilyn M. writes "It looks like Microsoft is getting desperate about the dismal rates of Silverlight adoption by consumers and developers since its release earlier this year. According to NeoSmart Technologies, Microsoft is preparing a fully Silverlight-powered redesign of their website, doing away with most HTML pages entirely. With over 60 million unique users visiting Microsoft.com a month, Microsoft's last-ditch effort might be what it takes to breathe some life back into Silverlight. The article notes: 'At the moment, very few non-Microsoft-owned sites are using Silverlight at all; let alone for the entire UI.'"
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MS To Push Silverlight Via Redesigned Microsoft.com

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  • Firefox... (Score:5, Funny)

    by binaryspiral (784263) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#21895070)
    If it doesn't work in Firefox, I'm not interested.

    Oh wait... it does. Just kidding - still not interested.
    • Re:Firefox... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canuck57 (662392) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:52AM (#21895140)

      If it doesn't work in Firefox, I'm not interested.

      I will add, if it does not work with Firefox/Linux, not interested.

      • Re:Firefox... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:09PM (#21895480)
        Hmmm... Ok so tell me how often are you going to be visiting the Microsoft website if you happen to be a Linux and Firefox user?

        Probably 0....

        So in other words they don't care about your situation because most likely you are not going to visit it. Makes completely logical sense actually.

        Not that I think their strategy is great...
        • Re:Firefox... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mhall119 (1035984) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:17PM (#21895632) Homepage Journal

          Ok so tell me how often are you going to be visiting the Microsoft website if you happen to be a Linux and Firefox user?
          Whenever a Windows-using acquaintance hoses their box and I have to boot a LiveCD to fix it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Helping other people? Downloading stuff they need, putting it on a USB stick, and installing it at their place. I remember doing that for SP2 for people still on dial-up.

        • Re:Firefox... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Stamen (745223) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:42PM (#21895994)
          Microsoft makes more than computer OSs. There are plenty of reasons to visit Microsoft's site other than downloading the latest security patch. There is this little thing called the XBox.

          Wether Microsoft likes or not, the world isn't all Windows anymore; and no, running on Windows and OS X is only 'technically' cross-platform. HTML/Javascript/Ajax IS cross-platform. I do a lot of my surfing on my iPhone, many people now do that on their PS3, or using mobile Opera. Make technology that doesn't work on all mobile platforms at your own peril, IMHO.
        • Re:Firefox... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:45PM (#21896050) Homepage

          Still, it's a problem. I rarely run Windows myself, and pretty much never use IE. However, I support both Windows XP desktops and Windows 2003 servers, so I often have to use Microsoft's Knowledge Base. The KB already breaks a little in non-IE browsers (which is insanely stupid), but if they put it in Silverlight, it will become inaccessible to me.

          I think this is a shitty thing to do to your customers. They're going to punish me for using some of their products but not all of their products. Since I'm not going to use all of their products, this is exactly the sort of move that makes me want to get rid of them entirely, and run a completely Linux/OSX office.

      • Re:Firefox... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MojoStan (776183) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:16PM (#21895610)

        If it doesn't work in Firefox, I'm not interested.

        I will add, if it does not work with Firefox/Linux, not interested.

        Will you be interested when it does work with Linux, which it's supposed to do "at the beginning of 2008" [novell.com]?

        For those interested in Linux/Silverlight info, the Linux version is called "Moonlight" [novell.com] and is being developed by Novell with Microsoft's help.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by EvilRyry (1025309)
          Although there may be Moonlight for Linux in the short term, don't count on it for the future.

          My concern is them pulling a Samba/IE trick.

          In the case of Samba, back in the days when SMB was being rename CIFS, Microsoft was pretty open about the specifications. They really wanted NT to replace Netware as the market leader, to do this they realized that they would need a protocol that supported platforms other than Windows and get other companies involved in the mix.

          In the case of IE, we're all aware of IE fo
    • Opera... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ShatteredArm (1123533) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:55AM (#21895204)
      ...Does not work with Opera.

      Not interested.
  • by deckardt (989092) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#21895084)
    MS is giving up after 3 days? wow!
  • I'm surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:51AM (#21895106)
    that they haven't made it one if its 'critical updates' or even the proverbial forced 'back door' updates that no one knows about until you suddenly find it on your machine. The idea of Silverlight seems pretty cool since I'm a .Net junky myself, but still like the ubiquity and semi-platform independence of Flash.
    • Re:I'm surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by glop (181086) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:27PM (#21895804)
      Hi,

      The semi platform independence of Flash is actually pretty good. It's available on the Nokia N810 which runs Linux and has an ARM CPU. Not exactly a PC-like device.
      And that's without mentioning the open source implementations.

      So, Microsoft, please provide a very compatible, well supported implementation of Silverlight on the Nokia N810 and a couple of other similar devices and we will consider it. If not, why bother? Flash is ubiquitous, works well and is becoming less proprietary every year if I believe the news.
  • News flash! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by east coast (590680) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:51AM (#21895122)
    Company tries to spur adoption of their technology by actually using it themselves! The ultimate act of desperation!

    Film at 11.

    Seriously? Wouldn't it be a bit more suspect if the *didn't* use it?
    • Re:News flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOspAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:59AM (#21895280) Journal
      Seriously? Wouldn't it be a bit more suspect if the *didn't* use it?

      It's not about them using it themselves.

      It's about them leveraging an existing product to force the adoption of a new product.

    • Specifically, notice how you can view their entire homepage without Flash.

      I'd imagine you can view the entire site, save for Flash-specific stuff, without Flash.

      It's one thing to use their technology themselves, but this tells me that Microsoft is actually using Silverlight to replace HTML, which is something that is generally considered bad when people do it with Flash, and is also something that even Adobe isn't doing with Flash.
  • MSDN Library (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ckaminski (82854) <ckaminskiNO@SPAMpobox.com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:52AM (#21895130) Homepage
    It's bad enough MSDN Library still doesn't work properly with Firefox after three years of using it. It took until last year for Microsoft.com to work even remotely well in a non-IE browser... I can only imagine how many people will stop using microsoft.com altogether.

    If it wasn't required to visit windowsupdate.com, it would be the nail in IE's coffin.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:52AM (#21895142) Homepage Journal

    Wow, Microsoft help is already terrible enough. MSDN right now is such a mishmash, that, when I took the survey to improve MSDN, the survey itself crashed. Like, I don't even bother with Microsoft.com anymore, or msdn.microsoft.com. They broke F1 == Help in Visual Studio... what more incompetence do you need?
  • So... let's be realistic, how long before everyone's using this instead of Flash? My dib's on three years.
  • by RingDev (879105) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:53AM (#21895168) Homepage Journal
    TBH though, I am a .Net developer, so I may have a bit of bias. But the power and ease of development that Silver Light gives you is very impressive. It's not the right tool for every job, but for multi-media intensive, widely distributed apps, from the tools I've seen, it definitely has some great advantages.

    -Rick
    • by ShatteredArm (1123533) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:12PM (#21895552)
      All trolling and MS-hating aside, Silverlight is not meant for the World Wide Web. Rather, it is, like many other Microsoft products (SharePoint, PerformancePoint, BizTalk, etc) for the corporate intranet. The corporate IT department can simply force the software onto everybody's computer, and the developers can easily develop a *real* UI without having to fumble around with trying to make HTML behave like Windows Forms.
  • History repeating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:55AM (#21895200)

    I remember when Netscape introduced frames, they changed the netscape.com website to use them. It lasted a few months, then they realised how silly they were and changed their website back.

    Silverlight may be good for embedded applets and for applications, but it's ludicrous to use it for an entire website. I expect that Microsoft will shortly figure this out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpthompson (457482)
      Once Google fails to index Microsoft content (I'm assuming they don't yet index text in Silverlight content) and page visits drop off they'll certainly change back to HTML just as you describe.

      If I was a marketing manager for another Microsoft product, I wouldn't be happy with the Silverlight folks forcing me to limit my content to people who have Silverlight installed. Of course, perhaps they are all drinking the coolaid.
    • by Niten (201835) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:29PM (#21895836)

      At that point you can't even call it a website any more; it's just a graphical .NET application that happens to be delivered over HTTP.

      And yes, the same is absolutely true for pure-Flash websites, too. But this is made slightly less onerous because Adobe provides versions of the Flash plugin for Linux and OS X that are ostensibly on par with the Windows version, and Adobe doesn't lock you into a single platform for developing Flash apps -- unlike Microsoft, Adobe's end game is not to create a sea of de-facto "standard" applications for which the company's own operating system is the best, or only, choice.

  • by hughk (248126) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:56AM (#21895226) Journal
    I have a new DELL laptop with XP SP2 on it (no way was I going to get Vista on it). Silverlight crashes both in Firefox and in IE7, even on a system that is has almost no other apps. I have pulled silverlight as something that may work someday, but at the moment is a pile of donkey poo.
  • Bullet Point Three (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:01PM (#21895308) Homepage

    The Silverlight part of the interface is almost wholly unnecessary. It's really nice to use, it's smooth, it's easy, and it's beautiful - but it's nothing that requires a RIA in the first place. Microsoft could have easily implemented the same user experience (give or take) with HTML + JavaScript/AJAX; with a lot less effort and greater compatibility.

    That bit, the third numbered bullet, is what matters. They aren't doing something special, they are just forcing their technology on others because they can. Now I'm kind of interested in seeing what happens, because frankly I think MS's current site is a mess (I can never find what I'm looking for). But if they are going to push something like this they should go all out and demonstrate what it can do, not just use it in place of JavaScript (which they tried to replace with VBScript and failed) and AJAX (which they invented, to a degree).

  • Yeah but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bytesex (112972) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:02PM (#21895330) Homepage
    Does it come with a perl silverlight-generating library ? Because I can make flash on the fly now; is silverlight open ? Does it script ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cnettel (836611)
      It's a heavily reduced subset of .NET, so if you (have some tool that) can generate MSIL, you'r basically set. XAML, and the Silverlight subset, can also be generated quite easily. (As far as Microsoft XML formats go, it's not too bad.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lao-Tzu (12740)
        Silverlight 2 will be as you describe. You'll be able to program in any .NET language, or any other type of tool that generates MSIL. Silverlight 1 is just XAML and Javascript. It could easily be generated by a script. It's more similar to SVG than to Flash.
  • by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:04PM (#21895356)
    I'm guessing only mircrsofts search engine will be able to index pages buried on the revised microsoft.com site until other search engines add silver-light navigation to their crawlers?

    I don't know about anyone else but I use Google to find KB articles.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:06PM (#21895418)
    Silverlight currently only supports Firefox of the Gecko browsers - it blocks all other Gecko-based browsers [geckoisgecko.org] even though they'd be completely compatible. One has to wonder whether explicitly supporting only Firefox is an intentional move to limit competition in the browser market.
  • Desperate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:12PM (#21895538) Homepage

    It looks like Microsoft is getting desperate about the dismal rates of Silverlight adoption by consumers and developers since its release earlier this year. [..] With over 60 million unique users visiting Microsoft.com a month [..]
    How is that a desperate move? It would be extremely stupid of Microsoft if they didn't change it to Silverlight, considering the fact that many of their pages currently use Flash. And if they have 60 million unique hits - why not? Are we calling Adobe desperate for using Flash on their site?
  • Come on... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:17PM (#21895628)
    It looks like Microsoft is getting desperate about the dismal rates of Silverlight adoption by consumers and developers since its release earlier this year

    This is just about as ridiculous as it gets. Let's at least get 'facts' out of the way.

    Face #1, The final version of Silverlight 1.0 was released just a couple of months ago. Even the designers (Blend, etc) haven't had full final version native support for over a month. Do you really think MS is 'desperate' that in a month or two every web site in the world hasn't converted?

    Fact #2, MS already has a large following of providers preparing and starting stream and video based web video content sites based on Silverlight. Since it can do things like flip channels as fast a TV, etc companies looking to provide multi-stream content are going with Silverlight as it is the only viable solution - let alone the only multi-platform solution.

    Fact #3, a majority of Video pushed over the web is already in VC1/WMV format, yes this sounds strange with all the flash/Tube sites, but Windows Media is still either at the very top or close. Silverlight natively uses the same content, so for any site using WMV content already, they will flip to silverlight, as it will increase their user base.

    Fact #4, Silverlight is about a 2mb download, I see posts where people seem to think this is a big issue, are these people still using 2400baud modems?

    Fact #5, The major version of SilverLight is Version 1.1, and can be downloaded by developers/end users. Version 1.1 is the major version as 1.0 is only the graphical and video portion of the technology with limited UI abilities. (1.0 is the basic drawing and compatibility layers, and MS doesn't expect most people to consider Silverlight until 1.1, that is why the 'standard developer version they offer is 1.1, not 1.0) Silverlight 1.1 adds in the UI basic interface technologies like simple control events, additional hit testing, etc. Without 1.1.

    The Microsoft Download site has been Silverlight based for a few weeks, but it is a conceptual site, and it is demonstrated to developers of multiple page content areas can interact beyond a single SilverLight Control.

    Fact #6, a Silverlight based Website does not mean the entire page is based on Silverlight or the page is shown in only one Silverlight control like Flash based web design is. Silverlight is light enough that each Image element can be replaced with a Silverlight Object instead, and when needed, Silverlight Objects can use standard client/server scripting for communication and functionality between the Objects.

    It would be easier to think of Silverlight like a 'fancy' image object that can be scripted, take events, and talk to the client/server and other image objects on the page. This is what makes silverlight ahead of Flash, even before v1.1 is released.

    Now with facts out of the way, this makes a freaking difference in the OSS world how? One proprietary company/product is competing against another that is just as nefarious, and they are BOTH winning against ALL OSS solutions.

    Maybe OSS should actually be pushing for Silvelight to win, as you can at least create Silverlight content in notepad for free, and aren't forced to buy a massive Adobe illustration package just to put a few pretty buttons or videos on your site.

    Back to the anti-Microsoft goose-stepping...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Evan Meakyl (762695)
      Maybe OSS should actually be pushing for Silvelight to win, as you can at least create Silverlight content in notepad for free, and aren't forced to buy a massive Adobe illustration package just to put a few pretty buttons or videos on your site.

      Never heard about Ming [php.net], haven't you?
      Ok there is no fancy GUI but you can create some SWF contents with your notepad...
      Look to the examples here [opaque.net]. I found a page with a lot of very nice examples, but I can't remember where...
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:54PM (#21896226) Homepage
    I went to a presentation on Silverlight hosted by a local MSDN users group. From what I can tell, Microsoft made a donation to a non-profit, and earmarked the money to go to a MS partner who would redo their existing (and very dated) Flash site in Silverlight. At the end of the presentation, I talked to the presenters about a Silverlight project that my employer was considering. The response I got from both Microsoft Gold partners was "Don't use Silverlight!!!!" They went on to explain how anything that Silverlight can do, Flash can do better in terms of both final result, and development time. (They were using Flash 1.1 beta at the time). Basically, Flash is a ubiquitous open-standard with mature development tools and tons of 3rd-party partners. Silverlight is a quickly cobbled-together Flash clone with 1/10th the features, completely immature tools, and no 3rd-party support. The presenters gave me their cards, told me to call if I had questions, and gave me a list of tools that they recommended I use for the project.

    It was very enlightening. They left me with the one final note that, in a year, their opinion may change as Silverlight matures. But based on the examples they gave me, there's just no reason for anyone to ever adopt Silverlight.

    Going into the political aspects here... this is exactly what Microsoft does well - they clone something, pay people to adopt it, and use their gigantic Windows Update distribution system to put it on 90% of the desktops around the world. Flash's days will be numbered when we get to the point where Microsoft starts to introduce Flash compatibility. That's the embreace-extend-extingush approach, and we should run for the hills when that happens. It's too bad that Microsoft can't just compete by using the open standard instead of flooding the market with an incompatible clone and cramming it down people's throats.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Daimanta (1140543)
      "Basically, Flash is a ubiquitous open-standard with mature development tools and tons of 3rd-party partners."

      Yeah, that's exactly why linux has waited years before finally getting Flash 9. And to think that post is modded insightful.
  • Enough is enough. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:44PM (#21897156)
    I scanned the replies to this, nobody has pointed out that the article is a fabrication aka lie. Microsoft is not redesigning Microsoft.com to use Silverlight. The idea is preposterous if you think about it for just a minute. Imagine the work involved in changing a site that has developed over more than a decade entirely to use Silverlight.

    In fact, Microsoft is only changing their download area to use Silverlight. In other words, surprise surprise - a kdawson article that is simply false. It's amazing, I know.

  • by ChicagoDave (644806) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:58PM (#21897420) Homepage
    Silverlight is just out of beta and the real big 2.0 release is still months away. I somehow doubt MS is "desperate" about anything. The article about MS adopting themselves is great, the desperation comment is really just flamebait. DC

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