Recently I have been thinking a lot about how software and content developers target different software platforms.  Two very compelling recent developments are the adoption of Flash video and AJAX. 

Both Flash and DHTML have been around for a long time.  It seems that over the past year these two technologies are really taking a big jump. 

One is standards based. One is proprietary.  One has weak developer tools. One has strong content tools.  Both have relative ubiquity. 

A key question for me is what factors govern the decision framework for making a bet on these technologies.  How do developers and content creators “do the math” to decide that the power and customer value of the experiences they can create are worth the cost of development, page load time, test hit, etc. to make a bet on these?

For the .NET Framework, the story has several dimensions.  For server side programming, and websites in particular, there seems to be about an even trade off between PHP or JSP and ASP.NET.  This is pretty clear with the rate of new site development on ASP.NET and the options you get today from hosting companies. 

Client side targeting is another part of the story.  Right now web sites with hosted Windows Form controls are rare and corporate IT team do actively write .NET Framework applications.  Consumer penetration is actually quite good with estimates of 55-60% of all desktops today have the .NET Framework 1.1.  There are a lot of shareware/freeware apps now starting to take a bet on the .NET Framework. I personally suspect this is because of the great tools and the speed of development.

So, how does your team approach this area? When do you decide to take a technology dependency? What a key factors for you?