Jan 2011

Introducing SilverlightXAP.com : Royalty Free Silverlight Controls

by Steve Wortham
After about a year in the making I have launched SilverlightXAP.com. Originally the site was called Silverlight Shaders and was going to be dedicated to Silverlight pixel shaders, but that was decidedly short-sighted. SilverlightXAP is an online marketplace for Silverlight controls. I expect the range of products to be broader since a Silverlight control can be just about anything. And in keeping with the spirit of the original idea, I even created a control that involves a pixel shader called the saturation rollover effect. I have also launched the site with some controls stripped from the Silverlight SDK.

The idea behind SilverlightXAP is similar to Zune Marketplace or the iPhone app store. A developer submits a control to the site and sets their price. I then review, test, obfuscate, and publish the control. The developer then gets up to 70% of every sale of their controls.

These past few weeks have been intense. I've been spending 50 or 60 hours a week, and working right through the weekends. I've been so focused on building the site that I've forgotten things that should be routine. Someone might ask me, did you shower today? And I think to myself and simply say, "I don't remember." Now that the site is released, I hope to finish up some things and then restore my life/work balance.

Beyond the hectic pace, this site has been more involved than other recent projects as there's a lot to think about on the business side of things. But I found a lawyer named Matt Thomson from Kronenberger Burgoyne who specializes in all things internet. He drafted an online distribution agreement and end user license agreement for me last November. That took care of my biggest concerns around copyright infringement and such. He also answered a lot of questions I had and affirmed for me that my idea was sound.

Anyway, the site is brand new and the collection is a meager 5 controls at the moment. But in the next few weeks I'll be pursuing various avenues in getting the word out. I know that it's absolutely critical that I find Silverlight developers other than myself who are willing to contribute.