Sunday, December 11, 2011

Silverlight 5 released !! more access or security threat

Finally it is released. Earlier than expected.'s-new-in-silverlight-5

Nobody said that this is the final version in the Silverlight line as a web technology.But it can be because  Microsoft as a product company started promoting HTML 5.Look at their new OS windows 8. We can even write native windows applications using HTML5 and javascript.

For the developers who still think that Silverlight will be available for long as a web technology, I have a small story .No its not a story its the history of web applications which brought RIA.

The History of RIA

Long long ago when speed of the internet connectivity was in single digit Kb/s, developers created browsers and people started using it. The job of the browser was simple. Get a server address known as URL from the user then retrieve some text from that URL address using socket and port, mainly port 80 and show that text to the user. If the retrieved text contains any markup tags, format the text between the start and end tag according to a name of the tag. That tagging or formatting language known as HTML.

Later there came a scripting language which is executed by the browsers .This make people embed some code which will understand the page and even can modify the web page during runtime. But different browsers supported the language in different ways which made it difficult to write programs.

Years passed .The speed of internet connection started expressing in double digits and at some places the unit Kb/s changed to Mb/s along with the fall of connection cost. Then people started thinking about the shortcomings of the HTML. They figured that if they want to draw a curve there is no inbuilt option to draw other than putting an image which adds load to the downloading content.This also reduce the quality when the same page is opened in big screens with high resolution.Another scenario they faced was lack of an option to refresh small portion of page. This demanded the HTML to support more tags and specifications. The people / panel who decides on HTML told changing the HTML specs is a long process. We cannot change it overnight. It will takes years to evolve. You need to continue using the technology as is.

Some smart people effectively utilized this scenario .They didn't go to change the HTML specifications or the way browser deals with the tags and javascript. They created their own system which has it own run time independent of browser ,programming language, designer applications etc...They just asked browser "Can we get some space in your page?" The browser agreed and in the borrowed space they started playing.

Wow...That was the first impression from people who saw these plug-ins in their browser. Its great,lets put it everywhere.This made a good competition in RIA.RIA is the name given to this technology and it stands for Rich Internet Applications. Investments on RIA technology increased rapidly. Even some people started creating their entire application in RIA excluding the HTML. But one day..

As agreed earlier the governing body of HTML, planned to release specs on new version called HTML 5. This has enough tags to support short comings of old HTML, specification for javascript and much more. The RIA world got panic first but after that it settled down and one of them said that they are stopping their RIA and you can have a tool which will convert your RIA applications to HTML 5. Another RIA vendor said you can even create desktop applications using HTML 5 and Javascript.

Everybody accepted and the world became ready for HTML 5 .Isn't it?

What is next with Silverlight 5

Now Silverlight web developers can directly access so many resources at client side even in the InBrowser mode. From the application developer's view its a great help,but just think from the system admin's / security personal's  view. They need to open up machine to an outside web application which may take up anything from the system or do anything to the system. I agree that there are certificates and other security measures. But don't know why I can't fully agree with this which makes it less different than a desktop application.

I guess in near future if Silverlight as web technology survives HTML 5 ,we can hear about Silverlight VIRUS or some threat which may make it unacceptable. But as a developer I love Silverlight as it is the technology in Windows Phone :-)


Saurabh said...

I have a situation in silverlight 4.0 where I have to delete xap files at client side. So is it possible to delete xap files at client side in silverlight 4.0.

Joy George said...

If the file is downloaded by your code you can delete it. Otherwise (if its automatically downloaded by SL runtime) cannot.

Hope this cleared your query.