IdentityMine Blog

| Tags: Silverlight

IdentityMine drives innovation and passion for technology; as a Premier/Strategic partner to Microsoft; we were among the first to develop for Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Kinect, and Surface. It is an exciting time for developers and Microsoft as it prepares to move to a new Operating System (OS) with Windows 8. Why is it awesome? Windows 8 will run on an ARM processor and System on a Chip (SoC), which will allow scalability across form factors (yay tablets!). Microsoft plans to create a consistent User interface (UI) across all platforms (PC, Windows phone, XBOX).

At the WPC 11’ Conference, Microsoft’s Andy Lees stated, “You can have full PC compute power available in whatever form factor you like,” and, “We won’t have an ecosystem for PCs, and one for phones, and one for tablets — they’ll all come together.” Porting applications to different form factors can be simpler with HTML5 than Silverlight; so will developers who invested their careers in Silverlight embrace HTML5 because it is more responsive when it comes to porting applications to multiple Windows form factors?

Microsoft made it clear that Windows 8 will run applications using HTML5 and JavaScript, while stating nothing about Silverlight. That’s not to say that Silverlight is out of the picture; Microsoft has made it clear that there will be several ways to develop applications for the new Windows OS. Windows 8 tablets will have more development options, allowing for more robust applications, as well as cross platform capabilities.

IdentityMine is heavily invested in Silverlight, although we are technology agnostic (check out the technologies we work with here). It seems Microsoft is hinting at a paradigm shift in the way we will develop for Microsoft products; user experience software application development companies like us are anxious to hear more about the future of Silverlight for Windows 8. We don’t believe the shift will be as black and white as some make it out to be. We don’t see it as HTML5 or Silverlight – We believe there’s plenty of need for both technologies.

Do you question the push for HTML5 and Java Script development? Do you think investing in HTML5 will grow your business?

IdentityMine would love to hear from you!

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19 Responses to “Windows 8 and the Future of Silverlight”

  1. Derik

    As an architect for a company that went all in on Silverlight to build our product stack off over about 18 months ago w/ the encouragement of Microsoft we cannot afford to change directions right now.

    Personally I think that if MS is true to their word they will allow a SINGLE application to run on PC, Phone and tablet. IMO this means starting w/ the baseline that WP7 built and allow my WP7 apps to run on Windows 8 and vice versa.

    Reply
  2. Morten

    I don’t really get the big fuzz about Silverlight on Windows 8. To me Silverlight is about a browser plugin, and not really about a platform for building native Windows Apps. I know Microsoft is pushing this whole full-trust Out-Of-Browser idea, but I have yet to see anyone really do that. They usually go the WPF route instead which is very understandable. Actually this push for OOB, p/Invoke and full access to local files in SL5, hints at that this might be the new thing for Win8, and WPF is getting shoved out the door.

    Microsoft already announced two things that makes me calm down a little bit:
    1. “Existing Win7 apps will continue to run on Win8″.
    2. “If you know how to develop for Win7, you already know how to develop for Win8″.

    However, I think the really big question is this: Will WPF run on an Arm-based Win8?

    Reply
  3. SleepyDaddySoftware

    I think in the future (HTML6 timeframe?) we’ll see a standard similar to Google’s NaCl (Native Client), but using a CPU-agnostic low-level byte-code format like LLVM. This would allow plugins like Silverlight and Flash to be embedded in the web app itself, but with native performance and access to the DOM, including hardware accellerated 2D/3D contexts (canvas/webgl/etc..). Combine that with a standard “app” packaging model and offline “app” caching for better startup performance, and you really have something that can replace Silverlight. Until then, html5 is just “usable” but not the final solution for the industry at large, in my opinion.

    Also, I think browser vendors would have a much easier time implementing, maintaining, and verifying standards compliance of their LLVM implementations than they would with Javascript. They’d already have a reference implementation to go by for one thing. Less complex specifications with less ambiguity for another.

    Reply
  4. Laurent Bugnion

    Hey Morten,

    Over the past few years, we did quite a few full trust OOB apps. They are out there indeed. In most cases the motivation to go Silverlight instead of WPF was Mac compatibility.

    Cheers,
    Laurent

    Reply
  5. Ben Reierson

    What I love about Silverlight/WPF development right now is the great tools. If MS (or anyone) can produce HTML5/JS tools that enable the same kind of efficiency as Blend+VS, then I’ll be happy to switch.

    Reply
  6. Evan Lang

    I don’t think MS is pushing for HTML5/JS development per se… I believe that they believe that HTML5 is the next big thing, and are trying to get on that bandwagon before it really gets moving. Of course with MS’s size and influence the two are somewhat one in the same. :)

    Personally I’m more with Robert.. I can barely stand conventional web development.

    Reply
  7. Nick Zdunic

    Well I think for real hardcore cutting edge dev you’ll need Silverlight/WPF

    Can see converafe of Silverlight/WPF in the future as well. Jupiter (aka Silverlight 6) will bring this to light in Windows 8.

    Reply
  8. LBiege

    In the real world H5 and SL seldom co-exist b/c no companies wanna spend money to maintain two vastly different app stack of products so it’s always an either-or relationship between the two regardless what MSFT says about the two. It’s frustrating to see MSFT embracing H5/JS which is absolutely junk IMO.

    Reply
  9. Carlos

    To me, the math is terrifyingly simple:

    Silverlight’s chance of success with the most widespread mobile OS (Android): 0%

    Silverlight’s chance of success with the tablet that holds 90% of the market right now (iPad, which still has no peer): 0%

    Number of platforms that run HTML5 apps with zero recompilation or kludgey “cross-platform libraries”: Win/Mac/Linux/iOS/WP7/Android/Blackberry… That mysterious thing that Amazon is building… The HP tablet… It goes on and on….

    Do you want your reach to asymptotically arrive at Zero or do you want the stuff you build to be more usable in more platforms every day? The explosion of diversity in platforms even in the enterprise is crazy right now – I would rather spend my time polishing my HTML5 skills, learning about new tools like Adobe Edge instead of watching the share of devices I can deploy to shrink every day.

    Make no mistake, no matter how much you loathe “developing for the web” or how much you decry the lack of wysiwyg tools like Expression Blend, HTML is becoming more than just the language websites are built on — it’s becoming the premier way that software is made.

    *also, we can’t rely on “Whatever Windows does is what we’ll do/is what will save us”. In a world nearing 1 billion iOS devices and eBook readers that become web-browsers after firmware updates, Windows just isn’t that relevant anymore.

    Reply
  10. Art

    Carlos leaves out some important info on Android/iOS versus Silverlight adoption.

    People are not drawn to Android or iOS because they render standard HTML5 apps so wonderfully.

    They are drawn to those platforms because of the native apps.

    Consider Silverlight/WPF as the best way to make Win7/Win8/WP7 apps just like Java is to Android and Objective C is to iOS.

    Reply
  11. Santtu Kähkönen

    Carlos… also from what I’ve seen… most people go for android for two reasons;

    1. they are really cheap
    2. they are very available everywhere

    Most phone user’s (the non-geek population) have no clue (nor care), what OS/language or even apps the phone/tablet has… really, they don’t.

    In the end, it’s pretty much just pricing & marketing with only 1-2 hit apps that matter in the end.

    Also Android is only marginally more popular than Symbian atm. and with Meego and Mango arriving soonish… who knows how it turns out.

    … But to the original topic. I’d also hate to see WPF/Silverligth phase out, in favor of HTML/Javascript, since I’ve been investing heavily on learning them in the past years, and I think they still have quite a lot of untapped potential for the future of Windows.

    Reply
  12. CrystalBall

    Think Carlos is saying that silverlight has a limited range.. plugin or not. Its limited verus HTML and javascript which can run on any device. For websites, in my opinion, one would be foolish to think ‘right I’ll only invest in silverlight’ at the expense of javascript/css/HTML(5). I can see whats attractive to MS devs about silverlight but even the most hardcore MS devs, somewhere down the bottom of their hearts, must know that javascript/css etc the future of the web and for good reason and the hope that silverlight can somehow overturn this is just purely… hope.

    Don’t get me wrong I agree with the point silverlight is the Win 7 mobile as iOS is to iPhone as Java is the Android.. etc and thats a good place for it but using it for something that you want to run in a browser.. Don’t do it. And I’d say that to iOS devs if apple came out with a plugin for a web browser to let them run iOs apps in the browser.

    Reply
  13. Anthony

    For me, it’s not so much the thought of Silverlight disappearing that troubles me. It certainly would be problematic, since my company is also heavily invested. What really troubles me though is the thought of going back to html/javascript/css. I really don’t care about tooling, etc. No matter how you shake it up, it’s just awful. In the time I spent figuring out how to get the layout correct in html, I’ve built entire applications in technologies such as Silverlight. Whether you like or hate Silverlight, you have to admit it’s a good programming model.

    If you want real cross-platform innovation, forget about html. What we really need is a model similar to Silverlight or other browser plug-ins. A modular XML based front end and some sort of common runtime on the backend. Make it .NET and C#, Java, or something new altogether, I really don’t care, as long as it IS NOT JavaScript (Why are we building libraries and applications in a scripting language?). Can anyone really provide a good, Basically, all of the things that Silverlight is, but truly cross platform. The problem with Silverlight at the moment is that it’s an MS technology (read: competitor) so you won’t get much cooperation from Adobe, Google, or Apple.

    If we could get everyone to agree on a standard model, we wouldn’t need a plugin at all anymore. You could have a plugin for existing browsers, but new versions could come with the required technology built in, much like html, etc is today. If they did it in the 90′s adding support for javascript and css, why can’t they get it done today?

    What I’m really trying to say here is: Is this the best we can do?

    Reply
  14. Alan Bourke

    Carlos said:

    “*also, we can’t rely on “Whatever Windows does is what we’ll do/is what will save us”. In a world nearing 1 billion iOS devices and eBook readers that become web-browsers after firmware updates, Windows just isn’t that relevant anymore.”

    Apart from, oh look, all the Windows machines running businesses, which despite Linux being apparently ready for the desktop for the last 10 years shows no signs of budging.

    Reply
  15. vplusplus

    Note:
    a) Silverlight is not available only with-in METRO version of IE
    b) ARMS will support only METRO apps
    c) METRO Apps are available only through MSFT APP store
    d) METRO Apps share 30% of revenue with MSFT

    Let us connect the dots…

    So MSFT promote the new METRO experience, create an app store and expect developers to produce METRO apps.

    Now there is Silverlight, which provides most of the capabilities if you ignore the ‘contracts’ part which enables you to integrate with other apps.

    If Silverlight is supported in METRO space, more interestingly, with offline capability, what is the incentive to build ‘true-metro-app’ that must be published through app store and share 30% with MSFT?

    Simply put, Silverlight in METRO space substantially diminishes incentives for building Apps store; A glaring hole in positioning and promoting app store.

    If MSFT is not greedy, the carriers might me. What if MSFT choose to share App store revenue with carriers to promote adoptation. They have no choice but to block the opportunity to side step app store, i.e. simply build a Silverlight app.

    This is not a technology decision, pure busines…

    Reply
  16. Anthony G

    Programming in Silverlight is a dream. Programming in HTML / Javascript / CSS is vomit. Microsoft is really screwing up right now. Us developers have no clear direction. What do we say to our customers now? What is the platform of choice? You can’t pick Silverlight because you have no idea if it will still be around in a few years. Should you write in html because it is *supposed* to be the next big thing? Let’s think about what they are trying to tell us: HTML IS THE NEXT BIG THING!!! REALLY?!?!?!? Is it the early 90′s again? I don’t care if you are talking HTML5 or HTML105, it’s still HTML.

    The combination of XAML and C# (or whatever language is your preference) is superior in almost every way.

    Microsoft, I am very disappointed. It was a short year and a half ago that we were tasked with writing an iPhone application. I was appalled at what measures of torture Apple forces on their developers. I thought to myself “Developing for Microsoft is an absolute dream compared to this garbage. I’m glad they don’t put us through this same nonsense of arcane languages, inferior platforms, and an absolute grilling for ‘security’.” I was wrong. Dead wrong.

    Let me explain something Microsoft. Apple can do just about whatever they want because they are basically a religion. If they made a phone that set people’s pants on fire, they would tout it as a feature that is useful in the winter and people would brag about it on their blogs. You don’t have that luxury.

    One more thing I don’t quite understand. We’re being told this is for cross-platform compatibility, yet if you read the fine print, the ‘HTML5′ / ‘Javascript’ that will run in Metro are proprietary implementations. In other words, NOT CROSS PLATFORM! So, what is it?

    If much of this post seems confusing and all over the place, it has hit it’s mark. At least my confusing rant was somewhat intentional, unlike what we are currently experiencing from Microsoft.

    Reply

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