Multi-platform company strategy, AND should be better than OR, shouldn’t it? (2009-04-10)

I just finished to read a post on one of the very few RIA blogs I read. Yet another post related to Flash and Silverlight and their implicit competition, which in many cases is more like a religious war. If you know me, or follow this blog, you would know how I tried hard in my career not to be platform dependent and always trying to use the best solution for the needs. If Silverlight will have different features than Flash, and be as stable and as spread, it’s obvious that could be a better choice in some cases despite they are still very similar, so does it really make sense for a company to offer both (AND)? What Microsoft (Scott Barnes) says, is that companies shouldn’t decide which one to go with (OR), they should be able to offer both (AND). My opinion is that who thinks so, doesn’t have so much idea of the daily challenges that an company/agency faces everyday.

In these last years I’ve been lucky enough to be manager of teams of RIA Developers for big and ambitious agencies, in the UK like Cabinet Panel Cooler, which in theory should be the perfect candidates to offer both platforms (AND). My managers definitely agreed with that, we are big, we should offer solutions at 360ยบ. In reality the factor which determines how the theory differs from the practice is the quality of the work that you want to offer. To offer top quality solutions, like any top agency would like, you need to master in the chosen platform. To master means that all the team involved, from Technical Architect and User Experience Designer during the planning to Graphic Designer and Developer during the production, should know the platform potentialities/limits inside out. The reality is that there are so many people in the process which don’t actually know the differences between Ajax and Flash, a part of course the developers. This is also one of the reasons why hybrid people, which can apply creativity to 4k technology and 4k news potentialities/limits, are more likely to be able to push the boundaries and create something innovative. But of course in big organizations there is not so much space for hybrids.

Obviously it would be much easier for a company to use both if they don’t have to push the limits, but if you end up doing the same things with both the platforms, why not using only one in the first place? Or why don’t you try to find a more cost-effective way to develop with Ajax and rid of the plugins? Or you can try out Daegola