Microsoft Silverlight and XAML a novelty rather than a serious business tool

I decided to download, install and review Microsoft’s new Silverlight package, including Microsoft Expression.

I really hope Microsoft are not seriously expecting us to actually use these technologies and tools in a production environment. Its way too experimental.

I really like all the marketing regarding Silverlight. All the lovely art work, and the futuristic designs etc, people like You and I, working on glass touch screen vertical monitors. Sorry folks, its my sad duty to inform you the actual product offered by Microsoft is really nothing quite like what the clever and misleading marketing is presenting.

If the marketing gives you the idea that you can pick up a copy of Microsoft Expression and easily develop stunning rich user interfaces, you are going to be as disappointed if you try this.

I am starting to get used to the idea that Microsoft lately are the masters of deception. They are employing the same marketing methods that made the masses rush out and purchase Windows Vista (only to be disappointed) to now fool people into thinking that Silverlight is the next biggest and greatest thing in the presentation layer world.

Those of us who are involved in the web development and design industry know exactly what Macromedia Flash is, and how long its been around, and how complex the application is. Everyone I know or have ever known have great respect for Macromedia Flash, Flash however difficult it is, actually can be used to create stunning complex user interfaces.

Silverlight is not Microsoft Flash. Silverlight is some sort of delivery mechanism for the new presentation format XAML, however XAML is so full of bugs its a wonder its even referred to as a product. XAML is no doubt the most frustrating technology I have ever encountered in the industry. Even simple tasks like adding a button to a page can seem a near impossible task. Microsoft have also not packaged XAML into an easily reusable form. In my opinion its a disaster right now, and Microsoft need to act quickly to get us developers to be able to understand and use the technology effectively.

In my opinion Microsoft should slow down on their ever new and feeble .net releases. Most companies are highly skeptical of implementing new Microsoft technologies in a production environment, and typically choose (and wisely so) to let the technology mellow for a year or 2. This is because EVERYTHING Microsoft has ever developed ALWAYS arrives fill of bugs. The main problem developers and companies alike are now facing is that while they are waiting for version 3 of the .net framework to mellow, Microsoft have rushed out and delivered a now new version 3.5. Naturally with all the bugs and issues of, I will say it again, ANYTHING Microsoft related.

So what is a poor and humble developer supposed to do, rush out and learn every technology Microsoft introduce, or wait for it technologies to mellow? Personally my advice to you regarding XAML is to wait for it to mellow, and it is going to need serious time. As for the great promise of Windows Vista and those new super lovely rich user experiences that will become the standard. I think this is all great theory, until developers with no design skills are provided with tools that seriously assist in this area. XAML is not that great hope.

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