Goodbye Silverlight
Test and Monitor | Posted May 07, 2013

It is official as of last week - Netflix is dropping its support for Silverlight. The decision was made partly in response to Microsoft’s announcement that they will be ending its support for browser versions of Silverlight by 2021. That basically means the Silverlight days are quickly coming to an end and Microsoft says not to fear, insisting that all of your code can be easily converted to XAML and C# since this is what Silverlight is based on.

We’ve heard this before.

We can’t be surprised by this news, as there has been chatter of the end of Silverlight for some time now and, in its current state, it just adds to the shovelware that Microsoft is notorious for. For Silverlight, this is solely due to the diminishing support for browser plugins because not all browsers support them. For those of us who like to use Linux, we never even had a chance to use Netflix without the sloppy windows emulators, and boy, was that a joke.

Yes, I wasted my time trying to get Netflix to work on Linux - and I almost did - but it wasn’t really worth it. Many window users faced Silverlight quality issues themselves due to their .Net frameworks not being up to date. For the best performance, they needed to download the .Net 4.0 SDK in Windows, which is something the average Netflix customer would not be willing to do.

Despite that issue, we want our videos streamed in high quality and securely, and Silverlight definitely has HTML5 beat there. To get the same quality and security in HTML5, there is a need to implement video extensions into the players via the use of DRM encryption and JavaScript to the Netflix servers. The solution Netflix has implemented has yet to be seen, but we can only wonder how our precious movie streams will suffer. Let’s take a look at what HTML5 does better and highlight why we should be happy for this forthcoming release:

  • Embedded video, audio, charts and animations without the use of plugins allows users to stream and interact with websites without the need of downloading plugins.
  • Cross platform compatibility for developers and consumers allows HTML5 elements to work as designed whether it’s on Mac, Windows, Android or iOS, therefore decreasing development times and giving a more user-friendly application to consumers.
  • The beginning of one solution for all platform and browser combinations will eventually end the plugin wars and with that internet rich applications will flourish like they have never done before because we will only need HTML5 as Flash and Silverlight fade away.

This just names a few of the benefits of HTML5 and the list does go on. The streaming quality has slowly improved for HTML5 over the years – this can be seen by its implementation from popular sites, such as, Dailymotion, Vimeo and Youtube. As the development world becomes more enticed to use HTML5, it will become the front runner for video streaming and rich internet applications moving forward.

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