Another advantage for Microsoft developers is the integration of the .NET framework into Silverlight 2.0, so developers can use C# or Visual Basic to build Silverlight applications, said Jonathan Wetzel, a developer for startup ZocDoc in New York. ZocDoc, which has a Microsoft-based IT environment, has a Web site for people in the New York area to set up appointments with health-care providers.
.NET developers who may have little to no experience in designing multimedia applications can easily use Silverlight to do so because they can leverage a familiar development language and environment, Wetzel said. "It's a much easier transition," he said.
Aside from the advantages Silverlight has as a Microsoft technology, the company also has added at least one feature into Expression Blend -- a companion tool for generating Silverlight applications -- that trumps what a developer currently can do in the Flash development environment, Gerantabee said. That feature is "handoff timeline," he said.
Historically in Flash, if a designer is creating two isolated animations that need to follow each other sequentially in an application, if the timelines of those applications don't exactly line up, the transition between them won't be smooth without "a tremendous amount of programming," Gerantabee said.
However, Microsoft has built into Blend a feature that will automatically calculate that transition in Silverlight, he said. "If you have a number of different storyboards and you switch [between them], it actually calculates the position for you -- it takes over from one animation and picks up another," Gerantabee said.
For all of its strengths, however, Adobe need not be worried that Silverlight will be displacing Flash anytime soon, as Adobe's proven technology still has significant advantages from a design perspective, developers said.
"Flash has more years on Silverlight in terms of authoring tools and there are things from a design perspective that it can do that Silverlight can't do," Gerantabee said.
"People still say when it comes to 3D handling or animation handling Flash is superior environment," Hilwa concurred. "In terms of existing features for high-definition video, Flash still has the advantage."
However, Hilwa thinks it may not be the technology features that will have the most long-term impact on long-term adoption of both technologies -- it will be support from independent software vendors and the strength of each company's marketing rather than "pure technical merit."