Obama’s website uses open source LAMP for its implementation, but the Democratic National Committee is planning on using Microsoft Silverlight for streaming video from the convention:
The technology behind the high-definition streaming video, by contrast, is a pioneering venture. The DNCC plans to use Microsoft Corp.’s new Silverlight 2 cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in to deliver rich media and interactive applications. Silverlight 2 isn’t even due for public release until the fall, so the DNCC will use beta software, according to Microsoft.
“There are some incredible applications that have been built on this platform, and it’s becoming more and more popular,” said Aaron Myers, the DNCC’s director of online communications, mentioning NBC’s plan to use Silverlight 2 to stream high-quality Olympic footage. “Some of the features that you can bring to video on Silverlight, without revealing what we’re going to do, are pretty impressive – things that other people are not doing in video.” (NBC Sports also plans to use Silverlight in its web-based videos during the upcoming Beijing Olympics.)
Democratic convention officials said they are aware that Silverlight 2 is still in beta and reiterated their confidence in the new release and the convention’s partnership with Microsoft.
But anyone considering the technology for this summer has some questions to weigh. Ray Valdes, a Gartner analyst, said he views Silverlight 2 as “in effect, a 1.0 release.” He added that it’s reasonable to ask, “Will the technology be bulletproof on this high-scale endeavor when it hasn’t been released yet? How many users will go to the level of downloading the plug-in?”
Microsoft said its Silverlight 2 beta plug-in is a quick 4 MB download for users. A company spokeswoman added that Microsoft is committed to providing a “stable, quality release” that will automatically update with the final Silverlight 2 release. She said customers such as Hard Rock Hotel Inc. and British Broadcasting Corp. are already using Silverlight 2 beta 1, replete with “deep zoom” capabilities, with no issues to date.
In addition to consulting and custom applications, Microsoft is providing business productivity, e-mail and real-time collaboration applications, including Exchange Server, SharePoint, Office Communications Server and Live Meeting. The DNCC also is using Microsoft’s Virtual Server 2005, with Windows Server 2003, to maximize server utilization, in keeping with the convention’s “green” focus.
But all is not lost for the open source camp:
The DNCC, however, is not using Microsoft technology exclusively. The Web site will run open-source Apache servers on BSD Linux, along with Windows servers. Site content and staff blogs are handled by the open-source SilverStripe content management system and framework, according to Colangelo.