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InfoQ Homepage News New York Times Dropping WPF/Silverlight for Adobe AIR

New York Times Dropping WPF/Silverlight for Adobe AIR

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In a rather unexpected turn of events, Microsoft’s WPF and Silverlight platforms have lost another early adopter. Back in 2006 we reported on how the Times Reader was based on WPF. Since then the New York Times has also added a Silverlight-based application for OS X users.

Unfortunately the Silverlight version has been plagued with problems, both political and technical. The biggest hurdle was the lack of cross-platform support. Though based on WPF or Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight only has a subset of WPF’s capabilities. This makes writing code that works on both difficult and most developers seem to end up maintaining two separate code bases. Silverlight 2.0 is designed to run within a browser, a limitation not found in WPF. Apple users, who tend to be sensitive to such issues, rightfully complained about not having all the same features as Windows users. Silverlight is also known to produce blurry text at times, a major issue for an application dedicated to displaying news. Finally, the Times Reader has some compatibility issues with Safari 4.

To address these and other issues, the New York Times is abandoning both WPF and Silverlight. Rob Larson writes,

Next week we’ll be introducing Times Reader 2.0. This version is powered by Adobe AIR and will run equally well on Windows , Mac and Linux computers. With this latest release, Times Reader resembles the printed paper even more closely, and it updates every five minutes with the latest news from the Web.

The Times Reader 2.0 is now available; and with Microsoft promoting its New York Times Silverlight Kit, the timing couldn’t be worse.

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