As you probably know, Silverlight 3 was released exactly a month ago. So, is it safe now to work with the new Silverlight 3 features or should you stay with Silverlight 2 for a while to make sure that people with Silverlight installed can view your site without having to upgrade first to SL3?
There is one website that I know of that provides independent data on Flash, Java and Silverlight plugin penetration – it is www.riastats.com. I know it is objective or at least definitely not pro-Microsoft because there has been a heated debate a few months back between the owner of the site and a Microsoft PM on whether riastats.com uses the right methodology… So, I was checking it on a daily basis to see how SL3 is taking off. It took off slowly… then SL3 was put onto Microsoft Update. On pretty much the same day, RiaStats stopped collecting new data, so everybody was in the dark.
Well, Riastats started working again earlier today, so now we have new data from yesterday, and it blew my mind: Silverlight 3 is up at 23%, while Silverlight 2 is down at 8%. So, in general, every third computer or device (including devices like the IPhone for which there is no Silverlight) attached to the internet has some version of Silverlight installed. 1.5% stuck at SL1, 8.25% is at SL2, and the majority has already upgraded to SL3 (23.25%). The big X you see on the picture shows how SL2 installations were upgraded to SL3 in a matter of weeks.
So, what is the answer to whether you can target Silverlight 3 in your projects, or if you should wait and keep your things with SL2 instead? I think it is clear – Go with Silverlight 3!
A quick note about Microsoft Update: it is not the same as Windows Update, although it uses the same infrastructure – it is the update service for all non-Windows MS applications, like Office. Also, automatic update for Silverlight plugins is opt-in, so we can’t blame Microsoft that it has used its OS monopoly to distribute the Silverlight plugin.
A quick note about Riastats.com: the site starts with a Pie Chart, showing Silverlight 3 at 1.5%. Please note that this is a 30 day moving average, so don’t expect it to show any meaningful data for at least a month with regards to SL3 penetration. Use the Line Chart instead to see the diagram on the left.
Aug 11 2009, 10:58 PM