I am looking to move to a better UI platform for the next version of Subtext. The two contenders are Flash and WPF. As it happens, I have stumbled into the first skirmishes of a major technology war between Adobe and Microsoft. I have a hunch about what Microsoft’s next move will be. In the finest traditions of the blogosphere I am rushing to broadcast my unfounded speculation.
Background: Silverlight is a subset of the new WPF UI in Vista, designed to run cross-platform and cross-browser. Flash is Flash – videos and cartoons – but all grown up now in version 9 as a real programming language (Actionscript 3) with a component model (Flex 2). The market is RIA’s (Rich Internet Applications). You know, web apps that are as fancy as desktop apps. A lot of frisky 20-somethings think this is going to be the next big pile of fast bucks. Ryan Stewart has been doing some good coverage of the arena.
Microsoft’s technology is arguably superior to Adobe’s, but they are starting from zero market share. Worse, Microsoft’s development toolchain only runs on Windows. Cool hackers wouldn’t be caught dead on Windows anymore. Microsoft will officially announce Silverlight in two weeks, but has signaled they have a surprise in store.
I predict the surprise will be the integration of Ruby into Silverlight, done by John Lam. Essentially "RIA’s on Rails". This will address two of Microsoft’s problems: allowing cross-platform development, and being cool. You will be able to develop Silverlight apps in Ruby on a Mac. That is certifiably cool these days.
You heard it here first. If I’m wrong, I’ll just delete this post 🙂 . Another day I will post about how despicable it is for these self-infatuated famous hackers to be discriminating against programmers because of the logos on their laptops.