So Mozilla announced a new product recently: Prism. Prism, as noted by the devs, is designed to compete with Microsoft’s Silverlight and Adobe’s AIR. What are these obscurely titled things you ask? Well as far as my neophyte ass can tell both Silverlight and AIR are plug-ins/development platforms used for web applications. Web applications, like gmail, are the current internet development craze. Finding new ways to deliver content to a population spending increasing amounts of time living in their browser. The difference between the two programs being developed by
evil corporate society Microsoft and Adobe and Mozilla’s Prism are hard to spot out of the gate (and with no experience with any of the aforementioned platforms). As best I can tell the differences lay in the fact both Silverlight and Air are separate tools for delivering content. Web apps are developed straight into and delivered directly by Air and Silverlight. The advantage of Prism, as far as I can tell, lays in its ability to take already established web applications and wrap them in code that allows them to be directly accessed via one’s desktop using a browser stripped of unnecessary accouterments (navigation bar, etc.). In other words allowing one to access web applications as if they were simply desktop applications and thus better integrating the desktop experience with the web itself. Interesting stuff.
Of course I could completely wrong about how any of this stuff works, at least until I try it.
EDIT: Thanks for the comments below. For others curious I found an article from Infoworld that describes AIR a little better for us unititated types.
Also, from Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie comes a good blog post with some more good information about Silverlight.