Microsoft to take Silverlight offline eventually, says exec

There are a number of initiatives to make Web apps run offline, such as Adobe AIR. Until now, Redmond has been quiet on the idea of bringing offline access to Silverlight.

There are a number of software projects that enable Web applications to run offline, including Adobe's AIR, Google Gears, and the Mozilla Foundation's Prism. What about Microsoft and its Silverlight browser plug-in?

Microsoft does not currently have specific plans to bring offline capabilities to Silverlight, but it's something it will eventually do, said John Case, general manager in Microsoft's developer division.

"It's something that we will want to do," Case said in an interview on Monday. "Eventually, customers will expect us to do it."

Silverlight is Microsoft's cross-platform plug-in for running media-rich applications in different browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Apple's Safari.

Microsoft executives are expected to detail more enhancements to Silverlight at its Mix '08 conference in Las Vegas, which starts on Tuesday.

The company developed Silverlight as an alternative to Adobe's Flash Player, which is widely used for Web video and rich Internet application development.

Microsoft is trying to create a common development environment for Windows, Web applications, and its online Web services.

Until now, however, Microsoft executives have been quiet on the idea of bringing offline access to Silverlight, saying that its bigger priority is porting Silverlight to other platforms, including Linux and mobile devices.

Adobe last week released Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) 1.0, a download and development platform for making Web applications behave more like desktop programs, including offline access. Google Gears, still in development, allows Web applications to store local data.

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