Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"RIA degradation"? whats all that fuzz about?

Over the last few days, I've been noticing (am sure that I'm not the only one) a lot of 'bashing' between adobe and microsoft enthusiasts; Last time, one such 'discussions' went to the level getting to personal bashing. Today, there is a new 'discussion' happening out there. About microsoft's SilverLight and Adobe Flash, and other related stuffs, and of course, which term was first to be created: Rich Internet Apps or Rich Interactive Apps.

I thought I should note down my personal take on these kind of discussions.

IMHO, by fueling these kind of discussions, adobe employees are gonna do no good to Flash. They are only gonna make things easier for MS people out there, to popularize their 'silverlight' among developers. Here why is why I think so:

As someone in today's discussions pointed out, Microsoft wouldn't have to struggle much in getting their plugin to windows users; Many techies will download it, just for the heck of it; and for those who don't, there is always the windows update. If a corporate user had to update his flash player to the latest version, chances of getting his system-admin do it for him is not very high. But an update from Microsoft, they'll readily apply that patch. Add a few 'security bug fixes' and call it a security update, and home users will download it right away. Apple users are always ready for heavy updates; Who knows, Microsoft might even get Apple to agree to include it with their updates ;o). Linux users always had problems. They never had Flash player 8! (And if they are desperate, they always have Wine at their disposal!)

So making people download their plugin wouldn't really be a big deal for Microsoft. What would be tough for them is to get developers to start building apps for their plugin. Flash / Flex developers are their easiest target. Getting a .Net developer to understand the 'timeline' would be much tougher than getting a AS developer to learn some C#, If you guys have seen C# code, you know what I mean. Now, with all these crazy discussions, the flash siders are indirectly getting more and more developers educated about their rival technology. Quiet a lot of developers would go check it out, just because if these discussions.

I like flash for what it is today. And I feel Flash is the best at doing what it does. But as I say it, my consciousness pricks me: This "Flash is the best" feeling comes to me, because I've known Flash and actionscript longer than I've known my best friend! I heard about WPF/E like what - last year? I've never really developed anything using it. So I can't really say, can I? May be WPF/E is better? Is that why all these Flash supporters are paranoid over things tiny things like, "MS is trying to spoil the real meaning of RIA" etc? You guys end up creating a doubt in my mind!!

Honestly, if someday I learn that sparklight is the best for something that I'm trying to do, I'll go ahead and attempt it. And if some other technology feels suitable, I'd use that, of course. There was a period when I was a die-hard macromedia fan. And back then, Adobe was our villain. I used to evangelize about macromedia products to my collegues and friends. I even successfully made a few of my designers use Fireworks, over their beloved PhotoShop. And then one fine morning, Adobe and macromedia joined hands! Thats when I realized, all these brand bashing is so silly; All that evangelism I did for fireworks went for nothing!

As I look back, if it was microsoft which had bought macromedia, we would've all ended up being in one happy family! Microsoft would've probably announced next version of Flash and Dreamweaver integrated into next version of Visual Studio. Who knows, Macromedia would've taken its cross-platform culture into microsoft, and there would've been a .Net runtime for all major OS platforms by now! May be, Freehand and Flashpaper would've still existed! ( I'm getting to like this imaginary part now, LoL!)

So, I don't really see a reason why all this bashing must happen between these two companies. Isn't there a way we can all co-exist? Let Microsoft-ers call their apps Rich Interactive apps. Lets call ours Rich Internet Apps. And if you feel your technology is not as good as the others', get back to the drawing board and get us more features. We developers will happily buy your products and use them!

All that said, I feel the name 'silverlight' is just a lame copy of 'Flash'. Couldn't they come up with an original name!!

And I don't mean disrespect to any of you guys out there. You are all my heros, after all! I gotta go catch some sleep now. Its 4:20AM in this part of the world!
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