What Is Microsoft Silver Used For?

Microsoft Silverlight is an application designed to deliver and create interactive and dynamic media content on the Web. Like Adobe’s Flash, Silverlight can be used to create tools, games or animations, stream video or audio files, and produce effects triggered by a user’s actions including clicking, opening or closing a window. Silverlight, like Flash, is a cross-browser, cross-platform, "plug-in" application, which runs on most Web browsers, such as Explorer, Firefox and Safari, and some mobile devices.

  1. About

    • First released in 2007, early versions of Microsoft Silverlight focused primarily on streaming video and audio files. However, as of 2011, current versions have incorporated features that extend Silverlight’s capabilities to develop complex interactive applications such as tools and games that rely on user input and graphics manipulated by dragging-and-dropping, turning or zooming. Silverlight is also used to create “apps” for mobile devices running on the Windows Phone or Nokia Symbian operating system. Like Flash, users must install a small program, called a plug-in, in order to run Silverlight applications in their Web browser.

    Animations, Videos and Audio

    • Silverlight can be used on a Web page where animations, video and audio are displayed, either singularly or in succession, as Silverlight can update the dynamic file on the page without having to refresh it. It is also preferred by many developers who create these dynamic elements; unlike Flash’s frame-by-frame process, which requires developers to create objects like images for each frame, Silverlight uses Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) time-based animation. This is attractive to developers because they only have to designate the start and end of an animation, and fill that timeline with the objects to be animated. To a user, however, aside from Silverlight’s larger file size, it can be difficult to tell a Flash animation from a Silverlight animation.

    Extending JavaScript

    • JavaScript has long been the standard for creating small dynamic tools and widgets on a typical HTML Web page, including clocks, conversion tools, calendars, clickable graphics or triggered effects when a user clicks or mouses over an area. Silverlight can be used to extend more control over how a JavaScript script is rendered in a user’s browser, such as formatting, look-and-feel, more interactivity around a graphic, or allowing something dynamic to be “frozen” for printing.

    Searchable Applications

    • Usually, dynamic elements on a Web page that are coded in Flash or the JavaScript-enabled AJAX are not “crawled” by search engines. Therefore, they are rarely indexed. Silverlight uses an extensible markup language called XAML to represent animations, videos and audio files as text, which can be picked up and understood by search engines.

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