Sunday, September 18, 2011

Silverlight is dead…and our thought process too !


People says that when you dream about someone who you see going to die in your dreams,In reality he/she lives a long ! ..Something similar is going for Silverlight these days.More people saying bad about and more the core platform is growing better day after day.

My post here today is not to shout that I am Silverlight MVP and We are not dead but I just want to trigger a positive thought process so that we will not go dead with current “Silverlight dead” discussions in near future.

Just to clarify :

Thought I love Microsoft technologies a lot and especially Silverlight that does not mean that I am Fanboy and in this post I am defending something. I have equal love and passion towards other MS and Non MS technologies as well. From last 2 yrs I am working in IBM and executing large WPF Projects and also using some Open Source tools and technologies.

I am not employee or decision maker at Microsoft nor I am a complete Windows 8 Master or Metro UI Geek etc. So following stuff is purely based on my personal analysis, Being a community chap I am always open for feedback and do correct me if something I mentioned here is totally wrong.I would love to hear that and add more to me.

“Silverlight is dead !” ..The new story on Internet … :

This all started in last PDC when Microsoft showcase strength of HTML5 + JS on their own platform.I know even initially I was also wondering why they are doing such hype of this platform but then realize and understood entire Development Ecosystem.

I have also wrote a biggie article on that situate here and got positive response from all of you :

Silverlight, HTML5 & Windows 8 : Where we are heading to ?

So before making any final thought,do read that and this article..after that its your call !

Coming back to the subject :

Build event and reactions after keynote :

Few points I would like to take up for discussion -

  • Why people want every time a commitment from Microsoft Senior representatives like Scott Gu or Steve Ballmer to come on stage and explicitly say that “Silverlight is not dead !!” ? – Same for WPF and other technologies.
  • Unless one technology is not dead, New and enhanced things never comes up..I mean do you still want Visual Basic 6 if I show you strength of VB.NET or WPF for that matter. Why people are not shouting when Classical ASP,VB6 etc gone dead ? Because there was a need of .NET/WPF somewhere and that’s why they are present today. Same is the case for HTML5,Metrofy Apps and WinRT

Windows 8 as OS and Windows 8 Tablets :

  • Today I installed Win8 Dev Preview on my Dell XPS and frankly,with Mouse it does not give any feel like it gives on Touch supporting devices.But UI is amazing rather outstanding !
  • There is a Desktop mode which is similar to normal Windows,So MS is not forcing you to be on Metro all the time,you have choice !
  • Microsoft is now head to head with other vendors especially to compete devices like iPad.
  • There are still millions and billions of Windows XP,Windows 7 Users. It takes years to migrate OS for big organizations.(My employer IBM India is still on Windows XP).So entire world will not change in one night time after complete Windows 8 is available.

Some random thoughts on HTML5 Native Apps :

  • They are amazing ! Something worth to learn and try out.
  • I don’t think they are true cross platform and will run on Mac ! Correct me here if I am wrong (Silverlight is Cross platform and same code with small modify runs on WP7 as well)
  • At this moment I am not sure how many will adopt Metrofy or HTML5 + JS platform for “Enterprise Application Development” where we usually plug WCF,WF,MEF,Microsoft Enterprise Library etc.
  • With Blend Support, Now job is easy to design these HTML5 apps, So Designers will be happy for sure.
  • Performance and tooling support for HTML5 is in great progress but then same question again..Is it full functional like WPF or Silverlight, Just having similar features and capabilities does not change game totally.

If Microsoft declare death of Silverlight : Think over this..

  • Do you think people will keep their mouth shut and just obey ? I mean think from WP7 perspective.Think over this..
  • There are Thousands of App in WP7 Marketplace Up and Running on millions of devices, what will happen to them if Silverlight is dead ?
  • Do you think Microsoft is just making fun of people from past few years by launching different versions of Silverlight? Today we are in version 5.So think over this..
  • Do you think Microsoft will say one day that “Silverlight is dead rollback your apps which are there on your WP7/Marketplace/Web or OOB state” …crazy ! It will not happen like that anyway..think carefully when you say its dead !
  • What to develop,which language to use : Usually this totally depends on one’s comfort level with the technology.Think over this..

Current Silverlight situation and what to do in future ? :

  • There is no official statement from Microsoft saying “Silverlight is dead”, So stop right there and don’t follow those garbage and nonsense blogs/posts/discussions/videos/thoughts saying “Silverlight is dead”
  • Read the feature set of Silverlight 5 Carefully !
  • Windows 8 / WinRT /.NET 4.5 etc are in “preview” and not  even in “Beta" or “RC” some features can be added or removed,its common thing in Product development.So it will be too early to make judgments on availability of Silverlight on Windows 8 or with WinRT, Metrofication etc.
  • Keep track of happening changes in the new Windows 8 Platform, start building small small apps using Visual Studio 2011.
  • Do more visualization than actual migration.This is not right time to decide whether the new development should be a Metrofy or normal one since entire platform is in preview stage.So even not ideal time to create PoCs since many things will be changing/breaking up/crashing because of preview state.
  • Follow correct and official Microsoft resources which can be : Microsoft Representatives, Silverlight MVPs and Insiders, DPE Evangelists etc.
  • Now “XAML” + Code behind of your choice is the buzz word instead of just casually saying its WPF’s XAML or Silverlight’s XAML

What’s the benefit of investing in Silverlight from last few years then ? :

  • XAML ! Those who are working on WPF and Silverlight..its party time for them since they already have one Rich and Demanding Skillset of XAML
  • Not much learning curve since Silverlight Developers are already aware of C#,VB.NET and XAML with tools like Expression Blend etc. So they can easily upgrade themselves to Metro UI App Development.
  • Windows Phone 7.5 aka Mango coming up, Silverlight is the core Application Development platform on phone,So keep your Silverlight skills with you.

Silverlight on Windows 8, Metro Plug-in less browser and other stuff :

  • Agree and accepted that Silverlight does not work in “Metro IE” in Windows 8 but it does in Windows 8 Desktop mode and again Windows 8 is in preview stage and it will be too early to comment.
  • See the picture below : Silverlight is still there on those blocks


  • Visual Studio 11 do comes up with default project template for Silverlight, Check this out :


  • I tried running my current SL5 apps and they got executed successfully,see this :




Conclusion :

I wrote all this to just trigger positive thought process instead of just shouting and spreading death news of Silverlight. Some things I know you have in mind and which are not clear,but frankly for some of the things even I also don’t have answers and clear vision since this is all a preview platform.

Picture will be more clear when entire platform will go to Beta and then RTM mode.So till the time instead of wasting time in nonsense discussion..lets focus and new Metro UI App using XAML, New HTML5 + JS platform,New Visual Studio 2011 and .NET 4.5 and lets get some good hold on that before making final judgment on Silverlight’s future.

In some of the section above I may sound arrogant and away from subject, but intention of this post is to keep positive focus about platform and build healthy and non biased thought process.

So..Silverlight is dead ? Look back..Think again..Do analysis,spend some time on new platform and then jump to conclusion.

Remember ! Blogs,Forum comments or News blogs people does not deal with your actual client, They are not real decision maker. Its only you and you and you who will take a call on your App Development platform and for Silverlight..lets Microsoft decide on that..It will be better !



Anonymous said...

I think "Silverlight Dead" is just a exaggeration. But if ARM slate didn't support Silverlight is weakness about this this runtime! That mean, if you dev a Silverlight App your app will not run (with or without some minor change) on ARM slate, that is a bad news. With the hype about HTML5 & run everywhere, some manager will miss interpretation this exception about silverlight. I hope MSoft will add silverlight to ARM slate.

I'm a MS / XMAL/ Silverlight fan, but if Silverlight is not supported, Silverlight will not die, but loose momentum. MSoft have the responsability to support the silverlight's cross platform feature, especially on the platform they control.

(Sorry for my bad english!, isn't primary language)

Rui said...

What MSFT(mostly from the Win/IE team) has done to SilverLight will scare IT companies from starting new project with it. How to persuade a CTO into a SilverLight-based project with so much FUD (from MSFT themselves no less) around it? Almost impossible. That to me is dead enough.

You have to understand ultimately Win team never likes the idea of a rich and robust cross-platform framework that could weaken the sales # of Windows. You do that, you are their enemy and they want your head be it Netscape, Java or SilverLight.

The devastating effect is that they essentially are destroying the trust ScottGu & DevDiv have built over the years with so many developers coming to MSFT b/c they could not stand HTML/JS. Even Google is 2nd-guessing Javascript's viability and yet MSFT is busy throwing their loyal fans under the bus. It's gonna leave a bad taste in lots developers' mouth for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Yes I've heard from some Microsoft managers that HTML5 is the future and that Silverlight is "dead" or "frozen". These rumors seem to be well founded.