Last few days there has been a buzz around Adobe’s announcement of collaboration with Google and Yahoo! to improve the ability of search engines to index Flash files better – which are normally .SWF binary files. Instead of coming with open XML based file formats Adobe has chosen to offer an “optimised” (basically a server component) version of Flash Player that sits on a search engine’s server and checks for Flash at the same time as HTML.
Compare this with Microsoft’s Silverlight. Silverlight applications are packaged in a XAP file (which are simply a zip) format and any static textual content is in the XAML files. XAML files are nothing more than a well-defined XML file, this means even today without any special API search engines can index Silverlight Applications. In addition, Silverlight apps support deep linking which is important for facilitating relevance, very much like HTML’s nested links concept. For more details see this post here by Microsoft’s Nikhil Kothari on how Silverlight by design is Search Engine friendly.
Anyways, this is a very important step that Adobe that has announced. Flash is currently the entrenched player in the RIA space having more than 95% of market share. This has resulted in enormous amount of content is out there in the Web in Flash file formats. These have been so far out of reach of Search Engines and any attempt by Adobe to make it reachable is welcome. And any competition here between Adobe and Microsoft is also a welcome one.