Last week I had some time which allowed me to do some experiments with Microsoft Silverlight. I had to give it a try since you hear so much on the web about it, so I was quite curious, how it works out.
When searching for a tutorial, I watched a couple of videos and finally ended on Scott Guthrie's blog where he presents a "End-to-End tutorial" of creating a Digg search client with Silverlight 2. I followed the tutorial and it's great, since it gives you quite a good feeling of the environment. The tutorial consists of the following eight parts:
- Part 1: Creating "Hello World" with Silverlight 2 and VS 2008
- Part 2: Using Layout Management
- Part 3: Using Networking to Retrieve Data and Populate a DataGrid
- Part 4: Using Style Elements to Better Encapsulate Look and Feel
- Part 5: Using the ListBox and DataBinding to Display List Data
- Part 6: Using User Controls to Implement Master/Details Scenarios
- Part 7: Using Templates to Customize Control Look and Feel
- Part 8: Creating a Digg Desktop Version of our Application using WPF
Now why did I mention GWT? Well because Silverlight seems to be somehow Microsoft's answer to it. Well not exactly because it is more similar to Flash than the GWT, but it is Microsoft's trial to provide a framework for easily developing highly interactive web applications. You can build Silverlight applications by using XAML files and the .Net framework. So you don't have to learn anything new and that will be one of the major advantages. Another point which is really cool, is how easily you can bind object properties on your interface (inside the XAML file). Scott Guthrie's tutorial points this out. The best is that you try the tutorial to get a feeling of Silverlight.
Don't take this comparison too seriously, it's just a really informal description of what I experienced somehow...to do a better job, one would have to really program the same sample app with Silverlight and GWT and extract some metrics.
Generally speaking, I think that Silverlight is as most of Microsofts technologies. Microsoft provides you with great and powerful tools, where you can quickly build and set-up a running application, possibly already connected to some datasource. But that may be also a dangerous part, these "fast" solutions may not always be optimal from an architectural point of view, but again that would be enough stuff for another post (which may come :) ).
But I'm concluding this post now, it already became too long...btw with this post is number 100 for this year :D
I wish you Merry Christmas!!
Silverlight tools for Visual Studio 2008
GWT main site