Your main point (one runtime for desktop and browser) is clear to me now.
I still don't buy the filesize issue. In fact, I'd say SL has a disadvantage as you can do the seemless install with Flash (to something like 99.99999% of the web). Yeah, there are drop off rates, but no one's going to avoid SL (except a few yahoos) if
it's the only thing in the way of the Olympics for example.
one thing I'd add: bragging SL's file size is less than Flash (say flash+air is like 20MB) is not an important point. Plus, consider SL isn't really as small as you say when you include the rather large patches that user's get via auto-update.
First, I find it interesting that the capabilities (and reliability) of the plugin seems to matter less to many folks than the perceived quality of the programming environment. If only I could live in such a world. Say a contractor repairs your house--do
you care what tools he/she uses? No, you care about the result.
I do see some value to the claim that a better programming environment could lead to more robust end results. Naturally, I don't believe the question as to Flash/Flex/ActionSript being an inferior envoronment has been proven.
There are other considerations too... like what the developer base is like (and for those in the .net world it can appear that there are tons of those folks around... of course for Flash-heads it looks the opposite). No one has mentioned the reliability
of the plugin. Some pointed out SL has issues cross browser etc. One thing you can't debate is the fact Flash player is solid... and performant.
Finally, the argument that "life's too short" to learn a new language--that's just plain whack. Is anyone using the same tools they were 10 years ago? I know I'm not. If you don't adapt to changes you can forget it. In fact, this is a good argument why
I should learn SL. It's just that I don't ever hear of any SL jobs... and I hear of tons of Flash stuff. I'll be trying to change that by hanging with the SL folks a little more.
I was one of the "long-time Flash experts" at the meeting. I agree Mike did well not to badmouth Flash. In fact, I think he did well to educate many of the SL folks who (with all due respect) seemed super un-aware of Flash. I mean, I almost wondered which
Internet they were on. But... my big takeaway was that SL developers use SL because of the tools... they're familiar and they believe it's the most portable for their teams etc. Now as a Flash developer I might be slanted--but I really believe my clients
choose me/Flash because of the capabilities of the player. Many times I get to work on a project because of a feature that is either new and unique to Flash player or just "better" in Flash player. Never have I had a client balk at Flash because of the underlying
tools and language. In fact, if I had to use AS1 they could care less--they just care about the result. My take is that many/most/all SL folks care more about the tools and language than they do about the result.
Ultimately, my take is that SL is trailing capabilities wize than Flash Player.
Also, I think SL folks are .net vetrans that would not in a million years use Flash (many times for unwaranted reasons). Where, all the Flash folks I know--including myself (and Big Spaceship as the video mentioned) would be glad to try SL. Why not? Who
cares about the language? With all due respect to MSFT users, a programmer can learn whatever language comes along. Flash/ActionScript is certainly a real and capable language. Plus, it seems (from my perspective) that there's a large community of Flash/Flex
folks. So if the underlying language is important, ActionScript has some advantage.
Sure, I realize VS is a great tool. And C# or whatever language may have some advantages here or there. I don't want to discount that... I'm just saying this is not the reason my clients (including, for the record, MSFT indirectly for games I've programmed
that run in MSN Messenger and on MSN.com) choose Flash.
So, if SL is just a way to give .net folks a way to do "ria stuff" then great. If it's supposed to kill Flash, I dunno. I think the whole video picture is where the battle will ultimately go.
Finally, I look forward to learning more about SL and to help any .net/SL folks learn about Flash--though MD is doing a pretty good job at that (which I sincerely believe is a good thing for MSFT)