silverlight vs ASP.NET AJAX

Hi All,

    I am in the process of developing a web application. I am stuck on which web technology to use.
Silverlight or ASP.NET AJAX?
I read a lot on silverlight and AJAX but haven't found good responses....
Is silverlight similar to flash programming?
Which RAD controls are best for both the technologies?

Please device!!!
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StephanLead Software EngineerCommented:
It depends on what you would like to develop.

Silverlight is a plugin just like Flash for the user. So it depends if the user has installed the plugin in order to get the website to work.

Here is a quick list:
I have a personal website in Silverlight and I found it much easier to code than in Flash. I have also worked on AJAX, but what technology you need depends on what kind of a site you are going to build. Things like: If your site is a very 'animation' oriented one, go for Silverlight. Silverlight also provides a better user experience. The only issue is that if you use SL, you'll need some kind of a web service to read/add/update/delete your data as it basically resides on the client side.Arun
HloboAuthor Commented:
The web application I am building is going to be a typical business application, with a sql server database backend and the UI mainly consisting of intermediate business logic, datagrid and various graphs, allowing the user to enter/show data.
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HloboAuthor Commented:
Please advice for such business applications-
App with a sql server database backend and the UI mainly consisting of intermediate business logic, datagrid and various graphs, allowing the user to enter/show data.

My application does not require any animation!

Which technology would one prefer?
StephanLead Software EngineerCommented:
Then I would recommend staying with ajax. ajax has more abilities to create graphs than silverlight (at the moment).

Also, your application is less vunerable agianst attacks because you don't need a webservice for your application.
HloboAuthor Commented:
So does silverlight use webservices to work?
I beg to differ on the 'create graphs' part Stephan. I have personally used charts/graphs in my site. However, I agree with you that an application as above is better with AJAX than with Silverlight.Arun
Silverlight can work with webservices the same way you will use web services in a regular ASP.Net application, if you follow the separation of concerns, Silverlight will be your user interface.

I will choose Silverlight if your have a requirement were you need bring the interactivity and rich controls of the windows applications to the web, plus animation.

For a LOB (line of business) typical application, I will take ASP.Net Web Forms as you can drag and drop controls to the web pages and give extra usability with Ajax controls or with third party controls like Telerik or Infragistics, or if you have time to learn a better way to do it I will pick ASP.NET MVC 2.

If you take the ASP.NET way, don't forget to take a look to JQuery and JQuery UI controls too

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This application sounds like an extremely good candidate for Silverlight/RIA Services.  One thing to keep in mind is that your site may not work well on Linux machines for a while yet (moonlight development is still in progress).  Also, I've noticed a performance hit on older machines with Windows XP if you do use animations and such, they can become "choppy."  And many of the Silverlight controls come with animations already (the ChildWindow for example).

Silverlight also allows drag and drop, the latest sdk and toolkit come with many handy controls for datagrids and graphs.  It offers a nice Business Application template, and there are many tutorials about setting up a RIA WebService, which is pretty easy to lock down against attacks thanks to WCF conventions.  The best part (for me) there is little or no Javascript to write.  All of the client side code can be written in the CLR language of your choice.

Telerick also makes Silverlight controls.

Silverlight is also less mature as a technology, and the layouts can be difficult to get to your liking at first.  But if you have the time to learn it,  I highly recommend it.  I have enjoyed it thoroughly.
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