How Did We Come Up With Silverlight?

How Did We Come Up With Silverlight?

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I'm sure some readers will be interested in the decision making process that we went through to arrive at the name of Silverlight for our new web runtime platform. It was a tough choice; we know that WPF/E was much loved by the community and that acronyms can be both inspiring and evocative, but we really wanted to try something radical and different.

We had some really great alternative choices that we considered before settling on Silverlight, and I thought now would be a perfect time to share them. I hope that after you see the other brand names we considered, you'll be happy with our final choice. So here goes... drum roll, please; here are the top 10 names we rejected before settling on Silverlight:

10. GrayLuminosity (close, but there was just something not quite right about it)
9. AJAX - Asynchronous JavaScript And XAML (turns out that acronym was already taken)
8. David (Bill Gates vetoed that one himself)
7. non-Windows Presentation Foundation
6. Windows Technology Foundation (usually shortened to WTF, of course)
5. MicroMedia Player (a lightweight web alternative to Media Player)
4. Microsoft Light New User Experience (shortened to LINUX)
3. Microsoft 2.0 (big 800lb gorilla? Us? No, we’re your friendly neighborhood Web 2.0 startup)
2. Redlight (“Roxanne… …you don’t have to wear that dress tonight…”)
1. Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation Live Rich Client ActiveX Player R2 Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 CTP (or WPFLRCAPR2UESP1CTP for short)

I'm immensely grateful to Steve, Laurence, Jaime and others who were part of the brainstorming team - your contributions helped shape the product into its current form!

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  • Why not LiquidMotion? hehe  

  • Je mag aannemen dat het de meesten niet is ontgaan dat WPF/e, Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere een...

  • Classic! I can't believe you didn't use WPFLRCAPR2UESP1CTP though!

  • Tim Sneath has a great peice on humour on how we came up with the name silverlight. Check it out . Great

  • Don't tell me that Timed Interleaved Media Service (TIMS) didn't make that ten...

  • P.S. According to slashdot in a couple of days, it'll be rechristened $ilverlight :D

  • I'm glad you didn't name it Silverflash .. that would be too obvious .. :-)

    Anyway, nice piece :-)

  • How about:

    ITI - innovation through immitation

  • It's obvious how you came up with it. Silverlight. Silver-light. That would be one way you could describe a flash, right? Flash? Adobe Flash? The "Flash Killer"

    Couldn't have taken more than two minutes to come up with the name Silverlight.

  • I came here from JoS ( but I'll just reiterate my comment from there:

    Sparkle would've been better.

    The name Silverlight sounds like a fake word. Just compare it with some really successful product names: Photoshop, Windows, Office, Google, AutoCAD. Those names invoke some meaning.

    I admit that Sparkle is a little too close to "Flash" and they're probably trying to avoid that, but c' is going to be competing with Flash.

    Let's see if I can think of one on my own (Sparkle was the code-name for Microsoft Expressions!)...

    Motion. (Introducing Microsoft Motion!! that sounds good.)

    Dazzle. (probably taken)


    Argh, I can't think of anymore...coming up with good product names is hard!

  • How about Splash

    That's what they call window art in the sign painting business.

  • SilverLight - note the S, and the V, and the G, which of course is the acronym for SVG or "Scalable Vector Graphics", which it the technology produced by the W3C, that basically does the same stuff. This is the conspiracy theory being played with over there on their newsgroups. Furthermore SilverLight has more letters stuffed between S-V-G, alluding very sneakily to the fact that Silverlight has more features.

    Frankly I think it's a total coincidence, but it's still fun to watch people dream this up.

  • Why Not WepLet

    {From Java Applet to microsoft WepLet}.

  • Obviously, it came from Flash :-)

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