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Silverlight vs Flash. Part 3.

Well here we are, the final article in our Silverlight vs Flash range, and at the end of this one, we will give you a small summary, which we hope, will provide a quick reference for which development tool is best.

In Silverlight vs Flash.  Part 2.  We compared the two development tools in the following areas.  Socket programming, supported image formats, text and SEO, and accessibility.  It made interesting reading where generally, if Flash was good at something, it was outstanding, where Silverlight, tended to have features that peaked your interest.

By the end of this article, you will hopefully know which one is right for your project or web design.

Webcam support.  Do both Silverlight and Flash support webcams?

Silverlight, sadly, does not support webcam or microphone

Flash supports webcam and microphone for live video, and the can be used with the following commands.

Camera.get – Returns a default or specified camera object, or null if the camera is not available

Camera.setMode – Sets aspects of the camera capture mode, including height, width and frames per second.

Deployment.  How easy are the two development tools to get up and running?

To deploy Silverlight, is a fairly complex affair, with each individual component needing separate deployment.  With each web request of Silverlight, the following components are normally sent.

• XML files,
• DLL files (if necessary),
• Silverlight.js file,
• Any other JavaScript file,
• Resources (images, audio, video).

Flash on the other hand, have all the images, animations, and texts, compressed into one shock wave file(SWF).   This is a far simpler affair.  The only downside, is due to its compressed nature, it is far harder to search and index on a search engine.

Windows Application.  Can they play movies as applications?
Silverlight, sadly, does not support playing a movie as an application.

Providing a suitable Flash player is installed, Flash can play movies on a desktop.  Also, movies in Flash can be compiled as an executable file and played in a stand alone application.

Media Streaming.  How well can media be streamed to a user?

Silverlight, has its own companion service for media streaming in the form of Microsoft Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live.  This makes it easier for developers to deliver rich media for their applications.  It also allows them to stream or host cross browser, interactive, and media content for windows or mac.   Other third party tools such as Microsoft Expression Studio, can also be used in conjunction with this service, to create and develop interactive content.

Flash, sadly, does not provide a service to host an application, and this can eat into a development budget.

Depending on what you require, will depend on what development tool you will select.  Flash, is obviously the better choice if you need your applications to run on operating systems such as Linux, or Solaris, but if you need your applications to be indexed by search engines, then perhaps Silverlight is the better choice.

Another factor to take into consideration, is that how many people have Silverlight installed on their machine?  In comparison to Flash, only a small minority.

Below is a quick guide, of what we feel will is essential information of all the topics covered in these three Silverlight vs Flash, articles.  The ones marked with an “X”, are considered to be where one excels.






File size






Sound processing




Platform compatibility


Text representation/SEO


Supported image formats


Socket programming


Webcam support




Windows application


Media streaming


We hope we have achieved our aim, and given you the opportunity to make an informed choice on Silverlight vs Flash.

5 Responses to “Silverlight vs Flash. Part 3.”
  1. Rick

    Dude, It’s 2009. Why are you comparing Silverlight 1 to Flash 10?

  2. Jerrell Bryant

    Flash CS 4 does have pre-installed animation that can be applied to elements on the stage for animating . In addition, animators can create their own animations and save them into the animation presets for later use and even share animations with other animators.

  3. Andrew

    Silverlight 3 is pretty awesome, I’ve put off using it until now because I wanted sockets, h264, and custom streaming protocols. I think SL3 is a true flash contender in the media segment and could destroy flash in the business app side of things. but sadly, still no microphone/webcam… That seems to a pretty big omission for many applications.

  4. Ozzman Cometh

    Silverlight? Are you sure? I think I’m better off with Flash. I mean Silverlight’s been here for ages and I don’t it has improved much ever since. Flash still rules!

  5. Anil Momin

    Really a nice article. Quiet Informative 🙂

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