So, I don’t normally blog about competitors but I’m quoted in the New York Times today and they promoted me to executive and dubbed me the father of Flash, or somesuch. Ah, here it is:
Finally, there is Microsoft. It is pushing its competitor to Flash, called Silverlight. Three years ago, Microsoft hired one of Mr. Lynch’s crucial software developers at Macromedia, Brad Becker, to help create it. Mr. Becker was a leading designer of the Flash programming language.
Sweet, I was crucial. Then it got picked up on Slashdot:
The article has quotes from the developer behind Microsoft’s Silverlight (he was a colleague at Macromedia of Adobe’s Air guy)…
Now I’m THE developer behind Silverlight. Nice! To set the record straight, I was officially the product designer for Flash, Flex Builder, and what became known as Flex. And although I’ve had a surprising amount of face time with executives here at Microsoft (including a very interesting hour long chat w/ Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie) I am not an executive myself. Nor am I a developer anymore, let alone THE Developer. I’m a group product manager. But enough about me…
The NYT article continues by saying there’s a million Flash developers which is completely crazy unless every single box of Flash ever sold was to a professional developer and they’re all still using it. Essentially they’re including hobbyists when comparing to the number of actual active pro devs. But that’s a red herring anyway since AIR is really about Flex and there are virtually no Flex developers out there. In fact, lack of developers is Flex’s second worst problem.
The article picks up a quote from me:
Microsoft executives said they thought the company would have an advantage because Silverlight has a more sophisticated security model. “Desktop integration is a mixed blessing. There is potentially a gaping security hole,” said Microsoft’s Mr. Becker. “We’ve learned at the school of hard knocks about security.”
Technically I think I said that .NET has a more sophisticated security model. Although Silverlight is a part of .NET, it’s running in the browser so it inherits the browser security sandbox and then restricts that even further to keep things legit. Microsoft has indeed learned at the school of hard knocks when it comes to security. No process is perfect but the rigor I see here around security is an order of magnitude greater than any other software shop I’ve worked at. Of course, even without that, the bar is pretty low when compared with AIR from what I understand. It appears that with AIR, an app either has full access to your file system or no access at all. I imagine that’s something they’ll have to fix in the next version. In the meantime, though, this is something really obvious to everyone. Except, possibly, the end users out there that might run untrusted apps that they find on the web. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
Most importantly though, I was so busy at work that I didn’t get a paper copy of the Times and last night everyone was sold out. How’s that for irony?
What a time this is shaping up to be… We have some exciting stuff cooking here that I can’t quite talk about yet but you’ll be seeing soon enough. Scott Guthrie recently posted about a few of the things we’re doing to continue WPF’s place as the best platform for creating the best desktop experiences possible. Visual Studio 2008 launches next Wednesday and MIX is the following week too. MIX is now sold out so I hope you got your tickets already. I’ll be there but I’ll be spending the first two days sequestered with the press. This weekend is the calm before the storm–news-wise; there’s a flurry of activity going on here in Redmond. And we’re not the only ones keeping busy: Adobe’s launching Flex 3 and AIR on Monday. Exciting times!