14. March 2008 03:53
Over the past year there has been a huge debate between web developers all over the globe about what will become the standard in rich Internet applications. In the past few months it's become apparent that Flex just doesn't have the same developer buzz that Silverlight is receiving.
To understand why Flex hasn't taken off we need to look at the history of the product. Flex grew out of Flash which was such a huge success as it enabled designers to create rich interactive interfaces for the web that could look great and operate more like applications. Most designers latched on to the technology since it's out of the box timeline support meant that even if you had no programming experience, with a few timeline tricks you could make an application do things that looked so much more impressive than what was happening in HTML at the time.
This history creates a problem for Adobe, since Flex is sophisticated development environment they have a product that pitches outside of their core users comfort zone. Most Flash developers have never dealt with concepts like inheritance, encapsulation or polymorphism.
Flex and Silverlight are aimed more at the development market than at the the designer market; and this is where Microsoft are strongest. Ever since the release of ASP.net and more noticeably since the release of Visual Studio 2005 Microsoft have compounded their customers into a development community, a community that's willing to push boundaries and which are capable of higher level developing than their Flash counterparts. For most Microsoft developers Silverlight is easy to pick because it uses the same language and the same Object Orientated and tiered approach that most C# and Vb.Net developers are familiar with. For Flash developers Flex is a huge transition, not unlike the transition that Microsoft developers went through 4 or 5 years ago when they moved from asp to asp.net.
The simple reason that Silverlight has more buzz than Flex is because Flash developers aren't willing to become programmers.
To see Silverlight 2 in action check out the the latest Hardrock Cafe demo: http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/
To see the Buzz Trend i'm discussing view here: http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22Adobe+Flex%22%2C+%22Microsoft+silverlight%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0