Silverlight’s uptake

A while a go (September 2007), I asked some sales guy from Microsoft what the penetration rate of Siverlight was compared to Flash. I asked him in front of a large audience (a) because I was really interested, and (b) because I felt like being a bit of a smart-ass as I guessed it would be really really low. The sales guy seemed quite unimpressed by my question and refused to give me a straight answer, but he had promised to give away a Microsoft prize for each question (I got a crappy ugly Silverlight hoodie, which I promptly returned to one of their marketing chicks).

Anyway, I just read an article that stated MS has released Silverlight 2 beta and that people are installing Silverlight,

And over the last several months Microsoft has seen an increase in the number of Silverlight downloads, Guthrie said, and users have been downloading Silverlight to the tune of 1.5 million downloads a day… In comparison, however, in a recent interview with Adobe Systems’ chief technology officer, Kevin Lynch, Lynch said Adobe’s Flash is downloaded up to 12 million times a day

I’m still unsure as to what percentage of browsers now run Silverlight, but does not yet seem to be making as much of an impact as good ol’ Flash.

Widget spec is now Widget Specs

In an effort to expedite the standardization of widgets, the Web Application Formats Working Group yesterday decided to split the Widgets 1.0 Specification into three (or more) specs:

Other specs may also follow, particularly:

Other documents are still under development too:

We are aiming to have all these done (ie. Last Call) by October. However, now that the document split has happened, I should be able to get the packaging format done fairly quickly.

We have more or less now settled on the configuration language format. The elements are going to be:

  • <widget width=”” height=”” id=””>
    • <title: the title/name of a widget
    • <description> a description
    • <author email=”” url=””> some details about the author
    • <license> paste your GPL here! 🙂
    • <icon src=””> the icon
    • <access network=”true|false” plugins=”true|false”> if your widget need to get online
    • <content src=””> some file in the widget archive

Only <widget> and <content> are mandatory at this point.

The processing model for the XML is going to be quite forgiving. The only thing that will cause an error, is not having a well-formed document.  For example, the following the following would result in “The Awesome Super Dude Widget” as the title:

<widget xmlns="">
     The <blink>Awesome</blink> 
     <author email="">Super Dude</author> Widget</title>

The unrecognized elements are simply ignored, but their text content is extracted. This makes processing more forgiving and allows for extensibility and some graceful degradation. I also want to push that the widget should function if the namespace is omitted.

We are also currently investigating how we are going to deal with internationalization in the configuration document format. We are looking at following ideas from the Best Practices for XML Internationalization.

Microsoft sticks to the standards

According to the IE Blog:

Now, IE8 will show pages requesting “Standards” mode in IE8’s Standards mode. Developers who want their pages shown using IE8’s “IE7 Standards mode” will need to request that explicitly (using the http header/meta tag approach described here).

That’s great news. However, the fact that they are keeping the meta switch is a bit disappointing. They should really dump that altogether.