As with any technology - choices have to be made when you start developing and it was no different for Money Dashboard when we started out. Instead of pro's and con's of Silverlight versus other methods - let us share some of the benefits that helped drive our choices.
When we started this project we had the opportunity to plan out our product roadmap over the next few years and put together some great ideas on features and benefits that we wanted to develop. We also had some very clear objectives in the short term - build a rich user experience that was enjoyable to use and build from the ground up with security paramount. One point to make first is that we have always seen Money Dashboard as more of an application than a website, given the functionality and features that we plan to build into the service.
There are a number of reasons as to why we have gone down the silverlight route, these fall into two categories: User Experience and Security.
Interactive - rich and interactive user experience within the user interfaceIntegration - seamless integration with application such as Microsoft Office Individuality - The ability to dynamically change the user experience based upon your individual profile as we develop this functionality of the system Speed - A fast and efficient user experience despite the increasing richness of functionality through the support of multi-threading and a 'Thick client' approach. This really just means that we can speed up everything by using your computer to help out when needed. Efficiency - both the application and how it talks to our secure environment is fast and efficient using much less bandwidth than a traditional website based application. Cross platform - A consistent experience regardless of whether you're on a PC, Mac or other device due to Silverlight's cross-platform and cross browser support. For the future - flexibility in the functionality supporting the product roadmap, both now and in what we want to build in the future
Seamless data access - instead of waiting for all the data to be returned, or having to wait between page loads, your data is available and updated as needed. Local data assembly - even we don't have access to all of your personal and financial data in one place! This is all assembled by you on your PC. Double encryption - Money Dashboard talks to our secure environment through a protocol that is double encrypted and transmitted in a binary format with lots of security features such as one time tokens. This was the most secure form of data transmission that we could find. No loss of data - say you're on wifi and you momentarily lose your broadband connection, you are still able to view your data and any changes you make are likely to be saved. Protected environment - the Silverlight environment helps us prevent against Trojans or other methods that pose a risk to our users.
There are more reasons but these are the some of the benefits that helped make our decision. We are looking to support a variety of other platforms in the future such as the iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile, Desktop widgets, Offline applications and many more. We wanted to make sure we had a solid platform for building the product into what we aspire to be the one place for you to manage your money.