I'm living the Apple and Google lifestyle and during my normal Internet consumption I don't run into many sites that use Silverlight. Actually, it looks like each time I visit a site using Silverlight I need to update, I'm not sure why this is, does Microsoft deploy very regular updates or do I need to install for each browser I'm using? Anyway I run too often into the 'There is a newer version of Silverlight to install', breaking my fluid browsing experience.
The frustration came from a very simple task that would take me a few minutes to complete into something that suddenly required me to download, prompting me with incompatibilities, install Silverlight and restarting browsers. All I wanted to do was to give Bing a few thumbs up and register this blog with the Bing webmaster tools. This is what happened: I started Firefox and went to the Bing webmaster tools where I got prompted to install Silverlight (As far as I knew it was installed already). I pressed the download and install button and Chrome (my default browser) was launched and messages about incompatibility issues were given.
I ignored the messages, downloaded, installed, restarted Firefox and I navigated to Bing webmaster tools. What I saw shocked me, a simple site that could easily be done with HTML, there was no rich media, no complex interaction, only a simple web site. However it didn't feel like the web and in frustration I just left thinking Google is good enough for me. Today I tried again and with an even bigger surprise I learned that the site doesn't even work, I can select the site but the tabs on top just don't react. Ok, forget it: I hate Silverlight.
This week it again became pretty clear to me why Microsoft needs to abandon Silverlight as soon as possible. In the last few days I consumed a lot of news from CES in Las Vegas. I'm in Europe so a lot of news reaches me in the morning when I'm having a coffee in one hand and my iPad in the other. While zipping my coffee and having some breakfast I scan my RSS feeds. A lot of CES reporting is done with video and even with the lack of Flash support on the iPad the YouTube embedded videos showed up perfectly, this in contrast with the 'Install Silverlight' button. Why can't everybody and especially the Windows blog just use YouTube for publishing videos and have the biggest reach for their content.
To the Silverlight people: Do you really think I'm going to interrupt breakfast, walk over to another computer and finally watch the 2 min Silverlight movie? You just missed a great opportunity to engage with me.
Is there still a place for Silverlight? Yes but not on the web! Put it on phones, Xboxes and may be even on other specific hardware (e.g. point of Sales systems). Just don't interrupt my browsing experience!