Microsoft solutions specialist i5 has strengthened its capabilities with the recent acquisition of Chameleon Technologies, a Web design studio. On joining i5, Chameleon has been renamed to BlackLight and will specialise in developing web content-based on the emerging Microsoft Silverlight technology.
According to Glen Ansell, i5 MD, the addition of strong front-end skills ideally complements i5’s recognised back-office capabilities. “With Black Light, i5 now has the capability to deliver complete, integrated solutions which seamlessly integrate back office functions such as CRM, BI or transactional capabilities with the most advanced visual aspects of the new Internet,” he says.
“BlackLight comes from a strong media and design background, an area in which i5 has not yet developed capability. With this competency, we i5 is now in a position to add considerable further value to our customers and the solutions we deliver through the addition of design and media expertise,” Ansell adds.
Pointing out that the Internet is changing with the emergence of the concept of Web 2.0, Ansell says Microsoft’s Silverlight directly addresses the visual quality of the Web. “Much of the fuss around Web 2.0 concerns changing content, such as social networking phenomena, personal publishing and information creation and sharing. But there is another element which is fundamentally evolving – the way that this information is presented,” says Ansell.
With Black Light, Ansell says i5 is positioning itself to lead the South African market into the new-look Web.
Simon Wilkinson, BlackLight CEO, explains that Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework for building and delivering media experiences and Rich Interactive Applications (RIA) for the web. “In some ways, Silverlight is analogous to how [Adobe] Flash is used on the Web today. However, Silverlight takes that much further,” he explains.
Silverlight runs in all popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera. “It is combination of different technologies into a single development platform and allows the selection of preferred tools and programming languages,” says Wilkinson. This, he points out, provides developers with greater freedom to deliver innovate content presentation solutions.
It also integrates with existing functionality which you have already created, he continues, integrating multimedia, graphics, animations and interactivity into a single runtime.
The bottom line, Wilkinson says, is that Silverlight provides easier access into back-end applications and a dramatically improved user experience of the Web which will spur the development and functionality of Web front ends. “This potentially opens up new opportunities for innovation through the Web. Companies can start to leverage the Web as a more powerful additional channel to market with this technology,” he concludes.