Latest announcements by Microsoft executives leave no doubt. Microsoft is shifting its support to HTML 5 and by doing so gives up on its RIA platform Silverlight which it repurposes for mobile. Adobe releases a Beta of a new HTML5 supporting tool kit, and by doing so also embraces the HTML5 option. It does look as if both give in to the market preferences for standard, no-plug-in and non-propriety option of HTML5 (see "Microsoft favoring HTML5 over Silverlight: reports" ).
If we follow Microsoft's early announcements when launching Silverlight, Microsoft pointed out the value of Silverlight in two aspects: The first was the graphics and media richness it enables while the second was the .Net developer's quest for a simpler, .Net based RIA development.
In a new world where HTML 5 replaces Silverlight and Flash in providing a solution for the quest for standard rich internet, the second quest for simple .Net based development of rich Internet application is left unattended (now that Silverlight is off the shelf and no longer serves as RIA, developed the .NET way). Reading developers' reaction following Microsoft PDC in October 2010 is probably the best way to learn about the impact of this announcement:
"Silverlight is dead, quite a surprise they have for us in PDC this year. I think most devs arround the world were expecting just the opposite, the Silverlight 5 announce. I think Microsoft should had been more honest and recognize the big mistake they made, wasting so much time and resources in a technology that is never going to be used massively. I assume my mistake as a developer for the resources I invested in Silverlight. The most sad thing is there aren’t any tools for HTML 5 in .NET, those four years of Silverlight left us with the hands empty. I think is time to move to GTW, every evidence is screaming that Google is the future." (Quoted from this blog)
I must express my humble opinion here and say that there might be more to the Silverlight twist (and Flash) than meets the eye. It might also be a result of slow adoption rate in the business sector that pays for its applications (vs. the consumer that does not). Being in the business RIA market for some odd years, I have been hearing quite too often enterprise CIOs saying that they will not allow plug-in RIA solution for security reasons, no matter if it is Microsoft's or Adobe's. I have been also hearing enterprise CIOs complaining about the stiff learning curve and lack of productivity that the new RIA solutions impose. I have been hearing them complaining about the hardship of data binding and I have been hearing them complaining about slow response time of applications written with the new Ajax based RIA solution.
Visual WebGui does support HTML development the .NET way, and naturally supports HTML5
We have been there for the last 3 years, betting on HTML by boosting ASP.NET Ajax development and runtime and indeed, being highly rewarded by market opinion leaders, adoption and traction. We have been enabling the classic VB6-like desktop development paradigms for HTML based front-ends. And now more than ever it seems like we are here to collect the big prize. Visual WebGui enables the best of .NET simple and structured development paradigms for HTML5. Exactly where Microsoft has been aiming with Silverlight, but we target open standards non-propriety platform. And that is a big difference.