Silverlight: Beta release.
JavaFX: Alpha release
"Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web."
This sounds very much like the Flash player plug-in doesn't it?
It indeed is Microsoft's answer to Adobe's wellknown Flash player. But remember, it is still in Beta so changes will be made along the way.
In fact the only technology capable of delivering fast packed media experiences at this moment is Flash. Or would you prefer to give Ajax a try to create something like this:
So you can state that Adobe has a monopoly within this niche of the internet business.
So now Microsoft claims to be ready, or almost ready because Silverlight is in beta, to take a piece of the market. Will they succeed? As we all know, they have done it before.
Flash has been MY tool, it really feels like it is mine, for years now. I can do almost anything with it: skateboarding, riding horses, swimming,... So yes I must admit, some say that is not professional behavior, my knees weakened a bit when I heard the news. Where would this leave me, what should I do, will Microsoft crush my beloved Flash or will Flash be like the I-pod? Just the most popular one out of many alternatives?
Flash has grown to become a steady environment with a huge and strong community. I don't see this crumbling down so fast. So don't panic but I agree with Steven from Minorissues that Silverlight should be taken serious:
"The demand continues to grow for secure, interactive content, applications, and services that run on a variety of clients. To simplify and speed the creation and deployment of high-impact content for a wide range of devices, Sun is introducing JavaFX, a new family of products based on Java technology designed to enable consistent user experiences, from desktop to mobile device to set-top box to Blu-ray Disc."
It seems that Sun is mostly aiming at Ajax with this one.
Their focus is mainly on multi platform development. Sun completely missed the interactive webcontent boat. Their applet hasn't really changed since 1996 or so, while Macromedia's Flash platform seemed to be versatile enough to grow and become market leader for interactive web content.
Again we'll have to see what happens.
A lot of things are happening for multimedia developers these days. What technolgy should one choose, which 'side' should one choose?
For me, it is not about choosing sides. As a multimedia developer you should always embrace new things. You should by some new books and study.
The boys and girls at marketing departments, the deals within the industry and the user will guide us...
A true Nerd is never scared... Never!