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Silverlight Not Plugged In to Firefox 3

Michael Desmond, editor in chief of Redmond Developer News and Desmond File blogger, is on vacation. Filling in for him today is Kathleen Richards, RDN's senior editor.

Microsoft is running into some compatibility issues with Silverlight and the latest release of Firefox. Available as a free download earlier this week, Firefox 3 is a major upgrade to the popular Mozilla browser.

"From what I've seen, the older versions of Firefox are fine," said John Papa, a senior .NET consultant at ASPSOFT and author of an upcoming book on data access and Silverlight 2. "There is a list of browsers on the Silverlight site and they all work very well – the only one I have seen issues with is the new version of Firefox."

He continued, "Some of the biggest issues, quite honestly, are getting the right version of Silverlight installed."

Tim Heuer, developer evangelist for Silverlight at Microsoft, addressed some of the Firefox 3 issues in his blog:

"The nutshell version is that there was an apparent change in how NPAPI model was implemented in FF3. Despite the back and forth in the bug report, Microsoft has made some servicing updates as well as SDK updates that make FF3 and Silverlight play nice together. There still seems to be some broader concern over the FF3 implementation (as there were a number of plugins that stopped working as well), but at least a level of work around has been established for Silverlight."

Cynics may say that Microsoft is probably in no hurry to make Silverlight compatible with other operating systems and browsers, especially Firefox, its top competitor in the browser market.

"I don't see it as a problem," Papa said, "because Microsoft is totally aware that if they don't solve that problem, [Silverlight] is certainly not going to take off. They really want it to be a viable option to Flash and if they want that, they can't just make it work on IE."

Although the problems may have resulted from changes in Firefox, Silverlight is still a brand-new technology, and many developers are waiting to see how it all shakes out before they decide to build apps with it. Microsoft released Silverlight 1 in September 2007 and Silverlight 2 beta 2 early last month.

Web developer Jeffrey McManus, the chief executive of Platform Associates and, said he's sticking with HTML and AJAX for now, and taking a wait-and-see approach with Silverlight.

"I am holding off doing anything with it," he said. "If something crazy happens and it really starts catching on or they were to make it more open in the sense that it was less of a Microsoft proprietary kind of thing -- I know there is the Moonlight implementation that the Mono guys are working on...The learning curve and risk of working with Silverlight is not going to outweigh the benefits of sticking with the trendier stuff – that's just kind of where I am with that stuff."

Are you holding off on Silverlight development because the technology is proprietary? Are you building apps with Silverlight, or waiting to see if it catches on? Weigh in on all things Silverlight at

--Kathleen Richards

Posted on 06/19/2008 at 1:15 PM

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