More Details on Microsoft’s ‘Flash Killer’


Up in Redmond at Microsoft today, I just saw a demo of WPF/E, Microsoft’s pre-launch cross-platform web application builder, which has a lot of rich media support. Scott Guthrie, the general manager of the team creating WPF/E (which he promises will be renamed), showed it off to a group of bloggers invited here for the day. You can see the same stuff on the official website.

Mary Jo Foley recently had a good post on the confusion around WPF/E, which she had others have called “Microsoft’s Flash killer.” The company is now promising a release around the time of its MIX conference in Las Vegas in April.

Some quick notes that seemed relevant to NewTeeVee readers:

  • planning Flash-like deployment, with plug-in you only have to install once
  • compatible with Safari, Firefox for Mac and Windows, IE (Interesting that that’s the order they mentioned them in. Most people here have their Macs out on the table.)
  • back button in browser goes back to last video, rather than losing your place like in Flash
  • similar to AJAX: video stream size can be reset on screen without changing the user experience—don’t have to reload page and video keeps playing
  • “We get beyond the file upload dialog that hasn’t progressed since 1995.” (e.g. Potential scenario: If you plugged in memory stick while on Flickr site in your browser, asks which you which pics you want to upload)
  • working on export from desktop tools used to mock-up web apps (examples mentioned: PowerPoint, Photoshop)


Luke Hubbard

I don’t think microsoft can ever come up with a flash killer. Even if on a par or superior to flash, flash developers are very unlikely to make the switch to some visual studio type setup. It just wont happen. Sure microsoft shops will love this stuff, but the flash community will be staying on the adobe / open source side of the fence.

There is a lot to learn when building visual interfaces mixing programming and animation. It takes years. Think back to the bad old days of crappy intros and I think you might see what we have to look forward to from microsoft developers picking up this new tool. As ever there is more to the game than just tools, its about community knowlege.

Oh, and although it may run on a mac, you cant build it on a mac, so that cuts out most designers I know.

In summary, flash killer? I dont think so.

Liz Gannes

Thanks for the comment, Brian. I wish more people implemented that!

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