Silverlight 5 was released last week. It has a number of new features, the most interesting of which by far is the 3-D engine. Another useful control is the PivotViewer – a class for displaying large amounts of data to the user. (If you have Silverlight 5, you can check out the PivotViewer in action in a display of Netflix movies.)
In an unscientific survey of my non-technical friends, the most common response was, “what is Silverlight”. As we’ve noted before, browser market share statistics are only slightly more reliable than my survey of friends, but for whatever it’s worth, according to StatOwl, around two-thirds of internet users have Silverlight support. That doesn’t make Silverlight an especially viable option for general use public websites.
Given that Microsoft’s commitment to continue with Silverlight development is at more than slightly in doubt, I have trouble wanting to use it for any serious projects. Like Flash, anything it does that especially matters is largely duplicated by HTML5 and the writing may be on the wall that its days are numbered. It is worth noting, though, that Silverlight has at least one significant advantage over Flash – Silverlight uses the same XAML that will be used by Windows 8 Metro applications, so if you are developing a Metro app, the hurdle for also developing a Silverlight version may be sufficiently low as to make it worthwhile.
image credit: Jean-Luc 2005