Adobe AIR vs. Microsoft Silverlight: A fair fight?

Lisa L. Morgan
March 1, 2010 —  (Page 5 of 8)
“If the success of your killer application depends on the number of users, you select AIR because it is installed from Flash, which has a larger user base. If you need to have the same application run on the Web and locally, you select Silverlight. If you need tight integration across platforms, you select AIR. If you need to support Windows Media formats, you select Silverlight. If you need 3D animation, you select AIR because it has more stable 3D support and a wide variety of 3D engines available.”

Other advantages and disadvantages of AIR and Silverlight
Microsoft’s main advantages are its formidable .NET platform, huge .NET developer base, languages, tools and an extremely long history of catering to the needs of developers, nearly all of which can be leveraged for Silverlight development. Adobe, on the other hand, is and has been synonymous with evolving notions of user experience. The company also has a solid heritage of providing cross-platform capabilities that extend well beyond Windows.

When it comes to rich Internet application (RIA) development, both Adobe and Microsoft support multiple operating systems, including Linux, Mac OS and Windows. However, Adobe supports Linux directly, and Microsoft supports Linux indirectly via Moonlight, with Novell’s help. Do the differing types of Linux support matter? Yes, if you’re a Linux developer or are otherwise concerned about operating system ubiquity, like The New York Times.

There is also the issue of timeliness. Ludwig said Adobe is dedicated to providing simultaneous cross-platform support. Moonlight has lagged a version or so behind Silverlight because it involves two companies, testing, and so on. However, to improve cross-platform support, Novell’s de Icaza said that Microsoft has provided Novell with test suites for the runtime and graphics engine to help ensure conformance.

Nevertheless, a disparity of features across operating systems is generally expected to continue into the foreseeable future, at least as it relates to Silverlight running on Linux and Windows. Under the new Microsoft/Novell agreement, Novell will support Silverlight 3 and 4, and Novell will get early access to code for testing purposes.

Related Search Term(s): AIR, Silverlight

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