Once upon a time, there was a big argument about Silverlight’s place in the world. This Microsoft utility was a great option for web apps, especially ones that were graphically advanced, but because it lacked widespread acceptance and required an additional program (which, coming from Microsoft, sometimes had major glitches) it was difficult to say what functions the service really added. Several major groups integrated Silverlight, including Microsoft’s own Bing (especially in Bing Maps) and multimedia sites such as Netflix. However, Silverlight is dying now, at least in the web environment; even Microsoft is dropping it in several interfaces.
Most prominently, Microsoft has removed Silverlight as mandatory in the Bing Webmaster Tools, enabling all the graphs, charts, and other Silverlight-dependent features in HTML 5. That does mean that you still have to use a modern browser (FF 3 or 4, IE8 or 9, Chrome 5 or above), but the portion of the population with one of those browsers is much higher than the portion who useSilverlight.
Googler and prominent technology blogger Vanessa Fox has been open in her opinion of Silverlight’s use for Bing’s tools, stating that “you basically can’t use Bing Webmaster Tools at all” because the data was only visible in graphics rather than available in reports or other downloads. While others have been less harsh, the general consensus is the same. I myself appreciate Silverlightfor its capabilities, but we have to acknowledge that it’s a painful extra step, especially since it’s clear that Silverlight will never become common use in the way that Flash has.
Microsoft has remained fairly hush hush about the entire change, possibly because they don’t want to brag about dropping their own solution or maybe because they don’t want to upset the Silverlight community, who weren’t too happy when Microsoft indicated they would be moving toward HTML5 over Silverlight in the web arena. Meanwhile, Microsoft is trying to find a home forSilveright in the mobile arena, pushing it as a development tool for Windows Phone 7 apps.
[via Search Engine Land]