Silverlight and Expression…

I’m a tad confused why MS is pushing both tools outside of revenue reasons?

My analogy is along the lines of creating a web application today in Visual Studio: 

Let’s say you use the designer to drag a GridView to the screen. You configure your GridView, adding header templates, item templates, etc… you then goto the code behind, add your databinding, any ‘onitemdatabound’ events, etc…

Using this analogy, I compare what MS is doing with SL and Expression to be this:  Instead of being able to do this in Visual Studio, you can only go to the aspx page and add the Gridview markup.  Because, adding a GridView to a designer UI is what ‘designers’ do.  Developers don’t ‘design’ in MS world, they just write markup and code.  But if you do want designer support, you need to spend another $1000 (or whatever expression cost) in order to drag and drop Gridviews and configure them.

That is how I see ‘Expression’.

Basically Microsoft is saying that only designers design and programmers just write code.  I think that is a fallacy.  Perhaps they are targeting large organizations that can staff these different roles.  I’ve never had a designer – I’ve had artist create images and layouts, but then I have taken those and built it myself from their renderings. 

And quite honestly, this only hurts the developers who aren’t in large corporations.  ie. I now must buy Visual Studio licenses and Expression licenses in order to build a Silverlight application.


On a side note, I really don’t like the look of Expression.  It’s UI is a total departure from the familiar UI of their other tools.  If they want to provide skinnable interfaces, fine, but at least make the default keep a familiar UI.

So far, I haven’t really given into the marketing hype of silverlight.  This is mostly because I build business type applications and if I want to build a rich UI on the web, there are plenty of tools to do so with ajax, jQuery, javascript, etc… I gather Silverlight business applications are for Window developers who don’t know how to write good script (note sarcasm) – Perhaps in the same vein as someone using ‘Google Gears’ to write an application on the desktop with web technology  🙂  (which is where I would lean too!)

There is my Friday rant  😉


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