I have been thinking lately about what impacts will Silverlight have on me as a Flash Programmer. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t really threatening. It could have been threatening in the sense that it could have made Flash obsolete and make me loose future jobs at the same time. But the thing is, Flash is such a good technology, it’s been around for a long time, the community supporting it is amazing and Adobe has big plan for it, Silverlight would have to be packed with a lot of feature in order to shake Flash’s position in the market. I don’t think it has just that.
It’s true that videos in Silverlight look good, but now with the moviestar release of the Flash Player, I don’t think one is better than the other on that characteristic. It’s nice for programmers who know .net, they can just jump right in and start programming Silverlight applications (maybe with a small learning curve). Good for them, .net programmers are already in demand, now they are going to be even more in demand, their salary is going to increase, so does the cost of building a Silverlight application.
One of the thing that Flash as always suffered was the penetration rate of the Flash Player, as a proof, website using flash 9 are now starting to emerge even if its been more than 6 month since it’s been release. Silverlight will suffer even more as people are not willing to download anything anymore. Flash as the chance to be adopted by huge website like Youtube and Facebook and has been around for way longer, people trust the Flash brand.
A big advantage Flash has over Silverlight is all the documentation lying around the web. If you want to know how to do something in Flash, just Google it, it’s that easy. Also open source projects like papervision3d and Tweener are just amazing.
For all these reasons, I don’t think Flash programmers have to be afraid for their jobs because of Silverlight and that for at least five years. I actually think Silverlight is a good thing; a little competition never hurt anyone, Adobe will have to keep improving Flash which is very good for us.