HTML5 vs. Silverlight – Which One is Better?

Design & Media Technology

There is a lot of debate these days on whether to use HTML5 or Silverlight? Both have the support of major giants in the industry i.e. Apple and Microsoft respectively. To follow are some of the basic differences between the two technologies in various scenarios and applications:


HTML5 needs to integrate CSS3 and JavaScript to add its effects to web pages. On the other hand, Silverlight can be programmed without getting error prone due to usage of a statically typed .Net language. It is easier to program in Silver light. Although JavaScript has increasingly provided built-in functionality through different libraries, it is still difficult to work on those rich applications which are a piece of cake in Silverlight.

Resource Usage

Silverlight has a disadvantage in that it consumes a lot of hardware resources of your device while HTML5 is more resource friendly. This is the primary reason which Apple has given for not including support for technologies other than HTML5. However, we should not forget that newer devices have dual core processors which greatly offset this drawback of Silverlight.

Compatibility with Browsers

When HTML5 will be fully standardized it is likely to get better support from all the newer versions of different browsers. On the other hand, newer browsers would have to be compatible with older versions of Silverlight in order to get the proper functioning. The later scenario is highly unlikely.

Video Display

HTML5 uses multiple codecs to run videos on the browsers that are not considered in the Apple’s bloc. Silver light always needs a plug-in for any case and won’t even run on iPhone and iPad.

Video Streaming

HTML5 video quality isn’t that crisp as other competitors and its lack of ability to provide video content of various quality levels on various bandwidths to the user is also a hindrance in getting the message across to low data rate users.

Add-on vs. Integration

Silver light works just like a plug-in. You can simply add the functionality to for any browser. HTML5 pages, when designed, should be compatible with all the browsers.


Silverlight application is not easy to decode, while HTML5 being more tilted towards open source is a relatively easy target of stealing code. The divisions of JavaScript and HTML are clearly marked so it is easy to view and understand the code.

Hardware Interfacing

Silverlight supports microphone and web cam and thus renders a number of rich interactive applications. At present HTML5 doesn’t provide direct support for these devices. However there are some difficult ways to get around this in HTML5.


Silverlight is not popular in the SEO community. At present the content of Silverlight is not indexed by search engines. HTML5, like its predecessors facilitates search engines to crawl through its content and get maximum exposure for the website. Of course other algorithms which search engines employ should also be satisfied.

From the above discussion it is evident that Silverlight is not suitable for online business websites or those sites which require traffic through search engines. HTML5 has disadvantage in creating interactive content. From a user’s viewpoint, Apple’s platforms present bleak prospects for Silverlight. Therefore, each has its own niche market.