Monday, May 12, 2008

Linux: Silverlighting your web experience with Project Moonlight


Silverlight is Microsoft's foray into building interactive Rich Internet Applications. Microsoft has been pushing hard at getting the developer community, adopt this new framework but faces stiff competition from Adobe Flash and Flex which have a huge developer base.

Having said that, the Silverlight website showcases some amazing applications that are powered by this new framework. Analysts believe a new mobile version will be out soon which will make it a stronger competitor to the existing Flash Lite framework.

Microsoft has released browser plugins for Windows and OS X but it's not a surprise that Linux was left out, as usual. Here’s where Moonlight comes in for the Linux world..

Building on the Mono Project’s Linux implementation of the dot Net framework, Moonlight aims to provide both a Linux SDK to build Silverlight apps and a stand-alone Silverlight runtime.

To get started, firefox plugins for Silverlight are available at the Moonlight page. Firefox3 support is available in their experimental builds.



I tested it with some popular pages with mixed results. My favorite app is Microsoft Popfly, especially the mashup tool. Unfortunately, it crashes quite often and understandably, it's one of the more complex implementations of Silverlight around.



Bugs apart, it's definitely a praisable attempt to make an open source implementation of Silverlight and I hope in coming times, we'll see a more enriching and exciting Silverlight experience, right here on Linux.

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