Silverlight is a cross-browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, etc.), cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc) plug-in that delivers ASP.NET-based media, such as music, videos and other streaming entertainment services. Similar to flash programs like Adobe Flash Player, Silverlight allows you to view these media applications directly in your browser in a streamed setting–that means you can watch videos and listen to music in near-real time. Silverlight can also be integrated with other web applications.
Microsoft is synonymous with technology, so it is no surprise that it is always looking into new ways to push Internet technology to its limits and capitalize on the success of its products and services by offering everything under one brand. Thus, when Microsoft launched Silverlight to compete with other online flash media applications, the industry took notice. Now, Silverlight is one of the lead competitors in the online media market.
Requirements to View Silverlight
To view Silverlight applications on any web server in the world, install the Silverlight plugin on your computer. If you are on a website that uses Silverlight (your own site or any other site), view the applications just by installing the plugin. If you have not installed it, the website will prompt you to do so.
In essence, there are no requirements to view Silverlight applications except that you install the plugin. That means any computer in the world (whether Mac, PC or other) can view websites utilizing Silverlight technology.
Silverlight Hosting Requirements
Hosting Silverlight is an easy process, no real server requirements are necessary. Because Silverlight has the same requirements as any HTML pages might, you can run Silverlight on any Linux or Windows server.
You will, however, want to ensure you are hosting on a dedicated server or virtual private server for most Silverlight hosting. That is because Silverlight can be resource-heavy, especially if you are planning to host a large media or entertainment website. Discuss this with your chosen web hosting provider, as there be less expensive alternatives.
Tips and Tricks
While Silverlight can be hosted on any machine, you may run into some very normal problems loading the applications. If so, try one of these tips:
* Register the MIME type for the XAP file extension (read more here). Occasionally, this is a good tip in Linux environments as well, though your web host may already have updated this if it claims to be a “Silverlight compatible host.”
* If you are looking to try a free service to see how Silverlight works, try Microsoft’s own Silverlight Streaming. It is a free Silverlight hosting alternative.