A few weeks ago I spent some time with a team of developers who are building a new product using something I had not heard of previously – Microsoft Silverlight. Some are calling it Microsoft’s version of Flash, but I’m guessing that is a vast over simplification. The guys I met were very enthusiastic about what this technology could do for them, although at this point they weren’t looking at a B2C application; reason being it requires a browser plug in and as yet very few people have this installed on their PC’s. I’m sure adoption will increase significantly now that the recently released Internet Explorer 8 comes with Silverlight included. 

But before claiming any expertise on computer programming, I’ll warn you that the extent of my knowledge in this area is some Visual Basic macros for Excel written over 10 years ago – and let’s not forget that BASIC experience on the Commodore 64 in the 1980’s. You never know when that skill might back into demand!    

When deciding to write a post on Silverlight, I did a quick search and the first interesting link I came across was a recent demo built by Microsoft, using the Facebook API and Silverlight to give a taste of what is possible.  

But what will definintely be more interesting for readers of this blog is an older Microsoft Demo called Silverlight Airlines. It was written over one year ago, and apparently only took them 10 man days to build, but it shows an interesting take on what an airline site of the future might look like. Clearly this is a prototype only, but the part I found most impressive was when you chose an obscure airport that required a connecting flight; the way the options were presented to the buyer at the bottom of the screen with the associated flying plane graphic – very nicely done. It might be too much information for a B2C site aimed at novice buyers, but in a corporate self booking tool or an optional B2C flow for complex itineraries, this information displayed in this way would be very appealing.

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