HTML5 and RIAs: Friends with Benefits!

Earlier this week, I was asked to make a short video that would be shown during a round table discussion on a hot topic: HTML5 vs. proprietary rich internet app technologies, such as Flash and Silverlight. My video was supposed to take the “RIAs complement HTML” side of the debate, while someone else would produce a video taking the “HTML5 trumps RIAs” side.

My own personal belief is that HTML5 – actually the stack of HTML5, CSS3 and Java/ECMAScript – has closed the interactivity gap between the web and desktop apps and will continue to close it. However, for the time being, there are still cases where HTML5 just can’t cut it – for various reasons, such as performance, browser compatibility or designer-friendliness – and that’s where RIAs shine. Hence I found it rather easy to put together an amusing little video titled HTML5 and RIAs: Friends with Benefits (5:47, YouTube).

I did the production work on Tuesday afternoon and evening using the following tools:

Enjoy the video!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


A Flash Developer’s Take on Silverlight

Victorias Secret Fashion Show and Microsoft Silverlight

In LABS, the blog of the creative agency Big Spaceship, Jamie Kosoy tells all about his experiences building the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show site in Silverlight.

He started the project with no small amount of trepidation:

I walked in with the same sort of attitude that I believe is prevelant across the industry at the moment — Silverlight is an inferior platform, that we were working with a Flash wananbe and that this would be to the project’s detriment. Why use Silverlight when I can already know Flash so well? It does the same things as Flash anyway, right?

Now that the project has concluded and the site has been delivered, he has this to say:

So now that the project is launched, I’m feeling reflective. And I have to say: Silverlight is a worthy competitor to Flash. It is a lot of fun to build in. I recommend it. I think there are times when it’ll be faster to build certain things in Silverlight than Flash and vice versa, and it is a matter of learning where the strengths and weaknesses are for each.

There were some things that frustrated me, but overall I found Visual Studio to be a great environment to learn to code in, C# was an extremely easy language to learn and most importantly of all the Silverlight player to be really flexible to the stress we put it under. Our team noted several times that we especially like Silverlight’s animation capabilities — we felt like we had far more "control" over what was happening on the screen than in Flash.

He makes a list of his observations, a notable one of which is that he feels that Silverlight is a better videoplayer solution than Flash. There are more, both positive and negative, and they’re covered in the article, titled Thoughts on Silverlight.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.