I at Mix07 in London. Having looked in some detail as Adobe Flex and AIR in recent weeks, it is interesting to compare and contrast. I am looking primarily at the developer aspect, rather than video or multimedia.
Silverlight is not a direct competitor to Adobe AIR, in that it does not run outside the browser (though I guess you could do something funky with an embedded browser control). It is a closer competitor to Flex, though there is no exact equivalent to Adobe LiveCycle, which is not needed for Silverlight. However, the two technologies do have a number of parallel features, including the following:
- Cross-platform runtime - Windows, Mac and Linux (the last a recent Microsoft announcement)
- XML language to define the GUI
- Embedded video capability
- Timeline for animations etc.
- Strongly-typed, object-oriented language with just-in-time compilation
- Easy access to XML web services
- Dedicated design tools (Expression Blend for Silverlight, Flash IDE for Flex and AIR)
- Dedicated developer tools (Visual Studio for Silverlight, FlexBuilder for Flex and AIR
So what are the differentiating factors? There are some obvious differences. For example, Flash 9.0, and therefore Flex, runs on Windows 98; Silverlight 1.1 will not. On the Silverlight side, there is the advantage of language choices: Silverlight allows Visual Basic, C#, Python or Ruby. Flex has only Actionscript 3.0.