I was so busy last week that I managed to miss that the final version of Silverlight 2 was released.
It's probably a suitable time to think out loud a little bit about Silverlight and it's future. I've been tinkering with Silverlight on and off since the initial 1.0 release and have a few projects I've been working on using various versions of the v2 betas. As a web developer I'm finding it great to work with, but for a long time I've had concerns about it's adoption by both developers and users (most importantly, corporate users who tend to have optional workstation components dictated to them).
About a year ago, using Silverlight 1.0 for a project which needed to use a lot of rich video proved to be a good excuse to learn a bit about it, and during that time I learned something important – don't bother with the 1.0 release, it was all about 2.0 (which of course was initially announced as Silverlight 1.1, then later renamed to 2.0).
So here we are, a year or so on, with a 2.0 release of a product which is actually more like it's initial offering. There's been some pretty exciting sample applications popping up ever since the first betas of 2 were released, and it was always easy to see the potential of the product, but from here on in we'll see whether this thing takes off or not. If you were evaluating whether to use Silverlight 2 for a live application a week or so ago then the whole "it's still in beta" aspect was likely to turn you away pretty quickly. Now there are no excuses.
The intarwebs are a funny place, and add-on/proprietary formats have always come under fire. Adobe Flash was initially released in 1996 – that's 12 years of cursing about plug-in installers, version mismatches, bloated page sizes, and broken site navigation - and even though most of us accept that flash is here to stay, we're still complaining and poking at Flash whenever we can (well, I am anyway). Add to this the fact that many denizens of the Internet have a slightly cynical approach to Microsoft and it's products, and it's clear that Silverlight is going to need to fight pretty hard to get the wide acceptance that it needs to become a viable choice for developing rich Internet applications.
Here's hoping it wins the fight – developing and using Silverlight so far has been exciting, and we're only getting started.