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Halo 3 Site Demonstrates Flaws in SilverLight

| by Jonathan Allen Follow 612 Followers on Sep 26, 2007. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

With all the buzz about Halo 3, Microsoft couldn't help but to use it as an excuse to make users download SilverLight. It is not really a showcase though, as it does not do anything an experienced designer could not already do with Flash or even straight HTML/JavaScript.

It does however demonstrate the same fundamental flaws that Flash did. Specifically, you do not get bookmarks. I would love to provide you a link to the new character images, but the best I can offer is the gateway page, http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/halo3.aspx.

This brings in the question the usefulness of SilverLight in traditional web sites. While bookmarking does not matter for "applications" like the web-based email clients GMail and Hotmail, they are essential for "informational" sites. To solve this, Microsoft needs to find a way to continuous update the URL to reflect what is happening on the screen.

This is not the first time this issue has been raised. Flash has the exact same problem, which has reduced its use to widgets, advertisements, and games. While sites composed entirely of Flash do exist, they are few and far between and SilverLight may be destined for the same fate.

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Talk about FUD by Jim Leonardo

You can't talk about "fundamental flaws" and then go on to list only one flaw which is only a result of a particular site not supporting a feature you want.

Do you know for a fact that the lack of bookmarking is a Silverlight issue and not a Halo3 site design issue? I'm not convinced based on this article... this just reads like a hater wrote it, not someone trying to point out a real set of issues. Please bother to do some real research and cite it. This just sounds like a rant, not information.

Re: Talk about FUD by Jakub Borys

Just like in Flash you can achieve bookmarking in Silverlight by using # in your url that can be manipulated by JavaScript. So as Jim pointed out it's a development issue.

Re: Talk about FUD by Thom Nichols

So Silverlight has this built-in then? Or do you actually have to write code to change to the URL every time?

Re: Talk about FUD by Jakub Borys

Silverlight is an animation / rich media tool. I'm not sure what automatically would be done, marking every frame of the video or every second of animation? I'm sure there will be libraries that can make it little bit easier but really there is not that much JavaScript to manipulate url after # sign.

Re: Talk about FUD by Jonathan Allen

I wish it was just FUD, I really do. SilverLight is the most exiting thing I have seen for the web in a very long time and I'm really looking forward to using it.

But wishful thinking won't make this go away and manually manipulating the URL is so tedious that virtually no one does it. At least a look through the SilverLight showcase at silverlight.net/Showcase/ doesn't reveal any sites that do, though many of them really, really need it.

I am not trying to argue that it isn't possible. You can clearly see working in the search demo, Tafiti. But unless developers made a conscious effort to ensure it happens usability will be impacted, which is a direct violation of the "pit of success" mandate that .NET strives for.

Re: Talk about FUD by Jakub Borys

In case of Silverlight (or Flash for that meter) adding bookmarking will always have to be a conscious decision made by developer. I agree big red button within IDE should be there for adding bookmarking so developers would use it, also adding it manually should be narrow down to something like AddBookmarkHere("BookmarkName");

Re: Talk about FUD by Jonathan Allen

Obviously you wouldn't want to mark every frame in an animation.

For informational sites, we need some concept of a "page" where in urls are mapped to content panes. Of course being SilverLight, their may be more than one "pane" that needs to be filled in for a given page. Within a given page, you could still have all your rich content.

Application sites, on the other hand, wouldn't use this concept. For example, Tafiti doesn't have pages so much as values. Here building a wrapper that serializes the state to the URL wouldn't be too much effort. But then again, if everyone does it a different way then the learning curve becomes unnecessarily steep.

However this happens, it has to be so easy that people use it without a second thought. If you have to think too hard about it, it is going to get neglected and we end up with the same situation we have in Flash.

Re: Talk about FUD by Jonathan Allen

also adding it manually should be narrow down to something like AddBookmarkHere("BookmarkName");


I think we are on the same page.

you're asking for higher-level abstractions for informational sites by Stefan Wenig

there would have to be a development model within (or on top of) silverlight that knows concepts like pages and navigation. in this case, modifying the URL for bookmarking could easily be done automatically. but for the bare-metal development model of a canvas you can put objects on, there's simply no way to automatically add entry points.

Easy problems to solve by Jason Grunstra

We've already solved the problem by allowing deep linking into Flash and even recently added SEO for Flash sites. Considering Silverlight 1.0 was JUST released, it's only a matter of time before a similar solution is available. It's not a difficult problem to solve by any means.

Re: Talk about FUD by William Smith

SilverLight is the most exiting thing I have seen for the web in a very long time and I'm really looking forward to using it.

Any chance of a comparison article of Silverlight and Flash/AIR?

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