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Friday, May 20, 2011

Is ‘jQuery vs Silverlight’-comparison even possible?

Some "time" back, I was given a choice to decide between jQuery and Silverlight.

I did not delve into the discussion of what Silverlight is and what jQuery is. I just presented the solution, using jQuery for lightweight UI's, Silverlight if its intranet based.

First, please understand that Silverlight is not Macromedia Flash. It is far more superior, and elegant; -- and -- it has the "capabilities" of Flash.
jLightLogo_200x200
[Image shamefully stolen from Silverlight/Javascript interop library :0) ]
Silverlight and jQuery "may be" intended for similar things, rich user interface, but Silverlight has a complete framework that utilizes the power of .NET and provide rich feature set.
Actually comparing jQuery and Silverlight feels like comparing a red-apple with one-hundred-acre'd-fruit-farm.

Ok, that may be indigestible example, but that's how it really is.

Silverlight comes with a framework, while jQuery is just a JavaScript library. JavaScript -- that is used to play around with DOM elements; meaning? Find and manipulate the html elements. It is just ~30KB in size.


So, how can you compare the two?
The only way you *can* look into the two is from the UI perspective, both can be used to develop Rich Internet Application(RIA); for instance, the data grid provided by Silverlight, and the data grid provided by jQuery. Obviously in that case, jQuery is lightweight. But then again, you might need to "extend" the jQuery data grid to your custom needs. Its JavaScript, so you've got your length and breadth to play around.
Also, you can use jQuery inside Silverlight app, but you cannot otherwise.

The only problem is that, Silverlight requires to be downloaded, similar to Macromedia Flash plugin, but once you download it, you're good to go. Plus, with MEF(Microsoft Extensibility Framework) it feels cool to "componentize" a Silverlight app and load modules on-the-fly and on-demand.

So, must if you choose between the two, go for jQuery if you are considering a web based line of business - lightweight and simple;

And if its a web application, which means, intranet based application for some corporate customer, you can always play with the Silverlight and its features. It can help providing native windows application on the web.


The questions that may help you reach a decision: 

0. What feature set customer is looking for? What domain does it belong to? For instance, for a media company you might choose Silverlight UI for a web based app, rather than a jQuery.

1. Is your customer ok with Silverlight requirement on every pc of the network? This means, application will not work if the user has not installed Silverlight.

2. If your customer wants an extra-ordinary user experience; which includes rich interactive media, games, simulation, etc.

3. jQuery may be easier to get along if you already know Javascript, but Silverlight would require a learning curve, atleast of 4 weeks to "really" get along.

Here is an interesting answer posted; and if you’re a jQuery fan this will soothe your veins.

Enjoy, the silver light (0;

2 comments:

  1. I recently started a comparison with jQuery + html vs Silverlight and I think you have some good points there.

    The way we can compare SL and jQuery is by UI. IMO it's also possible to draw the scope a bit wider and even compare them by how they can both call webservices to make the UI aync.

    Also though we'll have video playback in html5 there will always be a need for silverlight when we want to do more advanced stuff with these videos.

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