Cherkis tells us that Microsoft developed Silverlight with three key goals in mind. The first is to adapt to a variety of platforms and environments, as described above. The second is to offer a richer, more interactive Web experience. The third is "deep zoom".
Deep zoom provides simplified access to massive amounts of information with minimal impact on the device being used. Perhaps the best way to understand deep zoom is to see it in action, on the Hard Rock Café Memorabilia site (http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/). The site first presents a collage with pictures of all of the Hard Rock memorabilia from the various Hard Rock locations worldwide. Users see the slogan, "Turn on, zoom in, zoom out." Selecting and zooming on one of the graphics, users watch resolution go from low (blurry) to high (absolutely clear) in the space of a few seconds. The really exciting feature here is that, due to the fact that Silverlight is built over HD technology, deeper zooms provide extraordinarily high resolution. When drilling into Bo Diddley's guitar, for example, it is possible to see fingerprints under the strings.
Microsoft has no plans to stop with PC-based experiences. The logical end game for Silverlight is to provide very rich content to resource-constrained devices. Like my BlackBerry. I love it, and couldn't do without it. But the only time I use the BlackBerry browser is when I'm lost (BlackBerry Maps) or if I'm sitting in an airport and am really, really bored. I'd love to watch the Democratic National Convention online and have a quality experience on my BlackBerry. And hopefully, by 2012, I'll be able to do just that.
Julie Craig is a senior analyst with Boulder, Colo.-based