There has been a recent flurry of tweets, blogs and general office comments asking if Silverlight is dead on arrival. It is a first class project in VS 2010 and yet traction with the product appears to be weak. I think before we declare whether Silverlight is dead or not, or even discuss if it can displace Adobe Flash, we should first have brief statement about what Silverlight is.
Silverlight is a browser plug-in that supports multimedia content, it should also be recognized as a slimmed-down, cross-platform version of Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) programming model. Cross platform does not just mean Mac and as stated it is certainly not limited to the browser. Each successive iteration of Silverlight includes more and more WPF functionality (and vice versa).
Is Silverlight dead, the answer is a categorical *no*. Will it replace flash? *heck no*! Given the advances of HTML 5 even flash has some worries but the thing that Flash and Silverlight have in common is that they are both much more than video players. They provide first class interactivity on a par with any normal desktop experience.
Silverlight has one advantage over flash, it is couched within a trusted IDE and is now positioned perfectly for the entire Windows stack which includes Windows, Windows CE, Windows Phone 7, and the browser. So in my humble opinion Silverlight will be as successful as Windows CE and the new Windows Phone. The idea of developing once and using your code base (with very little updates) on other platforms must be compelling.