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Silverlight Survives With Version 5

There's been a lot of talk about the death of Silverlight  (the rival to Flash)  now that Microsoft browsers and future versions of Windows will be all about HTML 5 (that other rival to Flash).

Microsoft evangelists spent thousands of man hours and flew hundreds of thousands of miles convincing developers that Silverlight was the next big thing for the Web -- making pages as dynamic and exciting for coders as a Taylor Swift concert is for 12 year-old girls (and their dads!).

But Silverlight isn't just for the Web. You can build highly interactive apps that run inside or outside a browser, and that may be why Microsoft continues to press Silverlight forward.

The tool is on version 5, which is available now. I don't understand what makes Silverlight 5. I've never been much of a code monkey. What I did glean is Silverlight is now better at handling 3D graphics, high-end video and provides 64-bit support.

One important thing to understand is Silverlight has a purposely limited role. For instance, while you can build Win 8 classic or desktop apps, it is useless for Metro.

I think it is time for Microsoft to come clean on the precise role and future of Silverlight.

Do you care about Silverlight? Explain why or why not at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/14/2011 at 1:18 PM


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Reader Comments:

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 Tom

I think we need to better voice our desire for MSFT to continue to fully support SL. They need to hear that we want it, that we use it, that we need it. And they need to hear it over and over and over again. Getting SL brwsr suppt on WP7 and iOS would be a great step forward. Yes, yes, there's concern over battery life, but hey battery tech is getting better all the time and so now's the time.

Wed, Dec 14, 2011

I'm developing a 3D Silverlight application that I will deploy to the Web and it looks like it will be an easy port to the Xbox to reach the 60 million Xbox users. I might even add Kinect full body UI for fun. I've also developed LOB applications in Silverlight that were a pleasure to create. I'm not looking forward to HTML5 and Javascript until the tools are there. We went with Silverlight specifically because of it's cross browser support but if Microsoft doesn't make Silverlight 5 work on most browsers then we will be pissed.

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 John McFetridge Gainesville,Florida

It is too bad you are not more of code monkey as you might appreciate the power that SL brings to the table. Yeah there is much to do about HTML5/Javascript and it is a good , evolving solution and might be where SL is in 2-3 years (if it does not splinter into Google/MS versions). SL lets a developer work in object orientated languages like C# where we leverage the power of real classes, interfaces and dependency injection. Thus we can build robust web based apps that are almost as responsive as desktop apps. Now, one can do this is javascript and I have, but it takes so much more time and code. The more code the more support issues. SL SVG is step beyond HTML5 as transformation matrixes( rotation,translation ..) can be apply on a object basis where in HTML5 they are a property of the canvas. Of course SL is XAML based and so is one of the programming models for Windows 8 metro. I am currently porting a Windows 7 Phone SL app to Windows 8 and a pure SL app. Much of the XAML moves to the new platform without change. So I believe we should be discussing XAML solutions vs HTML5. I see a need for SL to build robust business apps like in the medical industry and if properly designed they can run in Windows 8 Metro also. However I must add that the Metro design is not good for developing apps like this and the SL UX will need to be “watered down” so the business app is better off in the old windows desktop mode. I must say that I do not see the need to write desktop apps in this day and age. The other issue is SL vs WPF and here I really believe that WPF will gradually fade away especially now that SL use XNA for its 3D graphics. The javascript option for Metro is interesting as I guess Microsoft is trying to bring in the legions of script developers but made no mistake the javascript they write is metro specific. To make the code portable to a browser will take some great architecture. Summary, I see SL as a niche for building demanding UX for business apps that run cross browser and desktop , the rest is an HTML world that I must admit is improving with things like Jquery and KnockOut (data binding and MVVM). That niche might be small but is highly profitable for the developers with the right skills.

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 Marc

You wrote "Microsoft browsers and future versions of Windows will be all about HTML 5." Hmm. Where did you get that impression? My understanding is that they cannot choose and therefore support everything. I am glad Microsoft will support Silverlight for (at least) ten years: http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean45 Maybe by then "HTML 5" is ready for prime time.

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 Eric

I believe that Silverlight can be used to make WP7 apps/games and Xbox Live games... I could be wrong, though.

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 gt Canada

Never cared about it. MS is flogging a dead horse

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