My position on the #Silverlight debate

Latest update (and hopefully last update): Microsoft has published a few posts to clarify the debate. Please consider the following:


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Print | posted on Saturday, October 30, 2010 10:47 PM


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Nathan Pledger at 10/30/2010 11:04 PM Gravatar
We're building our CRM package around Silverlight because HML4/5 is just not up to the task of providing the performance and flexibility as Silverlight. A decision that I suggested myself, so high stakes personally.

I certainly found it disappointing to neglect Silverlight's position in PDC10, but go back 6-12 months and Silverlight came on leaps and bounds in SL 3->4 and its time in conference justified this. There's only so much time to grab attention and SL has had its time in the limelight, hopefully now it is doing the hard work and providing solutions that come online soon. I've already had to craft rebuttals to people doubting my decision - Microsoft don't make me look a complete idiot!

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent Bugnion at 10/30/2010 11:10 PM Gravatar
It is safe to say that the reason why Silverlight was not mentioned much at PDC is that they had so many other things to talk about (most notably Windows Phone 7, on which many from the Silverlight teams were involved). Also, Silverlight has been developed in rapid cycles of approximately 9 months, which many deemed too intensive (no time to actually use the platform before moving to the next version). There is currently a certain slow-down which was *requested by the community*.


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Craig at 10/30/2010 11:25 PM Gravatar
Laurent, I agree with you, and I don't even develop in Silverlight. HTML5 looks promising, but it is a long long way from primetime.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Joost van Schaik (aka LocalJoost at 10/30/2010 11:52 PM Gravatar
Very well spoken. The fact that now Silerlight certification exams are being offered show that Silverlight is now a maturing technology. At the PDC the hot new things are shown. Silverlight 4 is a pretty complete feature set, so Silverlight in itself is not 'hot and new'. It's a very cool technology, but now a normal part of everyday life. Get over it. Now we finally get to use in a whole project in stead of upgrading halfway around because there's *another* new version :-)

And by the way, Windows Phone 7 is still on Silverlight 3. It makes to sense letting 'plain' Silverlight get too far ahead of Windows Phone 7 - that hurts the story of reusable code too much.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Notboss at 10/30/2010 11:56 PM Gravatar
I think you have to look at what Microsoft's CEO Ballmer and President Muglia said. Their cross-platform strategy HAS shifted from Silverlight to HTML5. I think that means Silverlight will never be pervasive on the Web - especially the mobile Web. It will not reach Flash's level of acceptance (97+ % of Web + Android + Blackberry +??). Microsoft won't invest in the cross-platform story.

So it doesn't matter how technically good Silverlight is from a .Net developer's perspective. I think it means for economic reasons most .Net developers will stick with AJAX etc.
Silverlight isn't dead, but its not cross-platform either. That's a big change. It's enough to give pause to Web developers regarding any future investments of their time in SL.
Even though its not comparable, they'd be better off learning JQuery.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by The Luddite Developer at 10/31/2010 12:49 AM Gravatar

I totally agree with you. In fact I am tempted to say that I even agree with you more than yourself!!!

It is not unknown for Microsoft to back the wrong horse or put all of their eggs in the wrong basket, see the Internet; recent browser development(Prior to IE9); and of course Search Engines.

Having been a strong javascript developer in the past, you will know the benefits of developing Silverlight applications as compared to Javascript code. Remember, Oracle now own Java and could give some companies major headaches, not wanting you to google any lawsuits in particular, but if they can go after Android, who is to say that Larry Ellison does not have his eye on HTML5. HTML5 does appear to be very dependant on Javascript.

So what do Microsoft have to do now?

They have to indicate their absolute and total commitment to Silverlight. Work extra hard on cross browser support. Ensure that EVERYTHING works in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and even in IE9; which it does not at the moment.

Cross platform support is going to be more of a challenge and some things are just not within Microsoft's control. This is going to be true regarding the Apple iPod and Android phone. Yes, mobile devices are going to be very important going forward. We all know the opportunities that are being presented with the WP7 phones.

Developers will have their own opinions about what platform combinations they would like to see supported. Currently, the first three combinations would be my priority:

1. Windows + Internet Explorer (Versions IE+)
2. Windows Phone 7
3. Windows + third party browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera)

Other Combinations are really a numbers game and dependant on your own requirements.

4. Apple OS + (This may be considered a niche market by some, it reaaly depend if you want your Silverlight Application to run on an Apple)

5. Linux (I don't really care about, but if Microsoft or the Linux community want Silverlight then the Silverlight versions must be kept inline with the most up to date Silverlight release, not trail months behind).

I have two issues that I would like addressed.

a) Mouse Scroll Wheel in Firefox
b) Infragistics HTML Viewer Control running in SL/IE9,

You will need to be logged in to Microsoft Connect to see this issue.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent at 10/31/2010 1:07 AM Gravatar
@Notboss: Hi,

I know what they said. They are supporting HTML5, this is the shift they are talking about, and it is not new. Other teams at MSFT have blogged about this before (see As for .NET developers sticking with one or the other technology, the point I make is that there is room for everyone. I happen to have been proficient in JavaScript in the past, and to be a Silverlight/WPF/WP7 expert, but I am also confident that if I need to use jQuery in the future, I will be able to pick it up relatively easily (as I found it relatively easy (and fun) to move from Java to C#, from JavaScript to WPF/Silverlight, etc. We all need to learn new things all the time, it is part of what we do. The worst developers I worked with were always the ones who refused learning new platforms. This is an evolution.

Now to be fair: I don't expect everyone to learn Silverlight. But it doesn't mean that you should fear other technologies. In the contrary, play with them (Silverlight is really a lot of fun) and learn from them. I learn a lot from what I read about jQuery and HTML5. In the end, I am sure that we will all win (and most of all the public, who will have amazing applications made with amazing UX technologies).

Does that make sense?

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by notboss at 10/31/2010 1:43 AM Gravatar
Hi Laurent,
Of course there's lots of room for all sorts of things on the Web. My point is that the SL cross-platform story has been diminished. Businesses have to make strategic decisions. It's not OK to have developers jumping from platform to platform or language to language too often. It sucks productivity. Dev shops have to make strategic decisions.

In that context MS just gave us a huge dose of guidance and they did it without providing any cover for SL. The blog post you referred to is out of date. The future of Silverlight has changed but we don't have a lot of details. If I had a big investment in SL I'd be mad as hell.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent at 10/31/2010 2:15 AM Gravatar
I have big investments in SL and I am not mad. Also, I do have more info than I can talk about. I do agree that the messaging at PDC was messed up, and that annoys me. But I am not worried for the future of the platform.


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Notboss at 10/31/2010 2:25 AM Gravatar
I remember being on an NDA where we got to alpha test some really cool stuff. We all gave a thumbs up. It was never released.

People need long-term public guidance. They need a consistent and coherent message. CIOs read this stuff and make decisions. Developers get dragged along for the ride. The release of IE 9 and other related things MS isn't talking about yet will be the big event.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent at 10/31/2010 2:34 AM Gravatar
I do not doubt that big things are coming for IE9 and I am excited about it. As for CIOs, if they make decisions based on one article and a series of angry tweets, then I cannot help. Technology decisions need more depth than this ;)


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by hybridweb at 10/31/2010 2:53 AM Gravatar

I would like to agree with you, but....

My heart is with you, but my brain is saying something else.

If MS was really not backing away from Silverlight, then why didn't Muglia say something like this:

"Your web - your way; If you want to follow the established HTML path, then MS is right there with a fast and standards-compliant browser. If you want to transfer a desktop experience under .NET to the browser, then Silverlight is available."

I mean, it would be so easy to do this. MS has the resources and the technology to accomplish this. The existence of the upcoming IE9 and the established SL4 prove it. How difficult would it be to maintain both technologies?

I guess we'll just have to wait to see how this plays out. I would propose a few tests to determine what path MS is following, i.e. parallel technology stacks or deprecating one in favor of the other.

1. The official MS response to the controversy and how quickly it comes out.

2. Whether or not publically recognizable people begin to back away from Silverlight

3. What MS publishes (if anything) regarding the next version of Silverlight, as well as the version after that.

4. Whether or not prominent Silverlight bloggers begin to publish in the future about Silverlight topics other than focused on WP7.

I'm a desktop person. I have been so for essentially all of my career (stretching back to those distant MS-DOS and Win16 days). I want to work with the web, but I don't really fancy the HTML approach. Silverlight and Flash/Flex seemed ideal for me. Now, one of these, maybe both, seem to be dying. Very frustrating.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by hybridweb at 10/31/2010 2:58 AM Gravatar
I should also add that I see Silverlight as the perfect technology for a Windows-based App Store.

That one wasn't mentioned. Why not?

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Eric Smith at 10/31/2010 3:03 AM Gravatar
Thank you for making sense out of the last couple of days of nonsense. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. Why would MS dump a technology that, in my opinion, has only now matured into a viable Enterprise level option. I believe SL will gain serious momentum in the coming months, because many, like myself, were unable to consider in our applications before now.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Francesco De Vittori at 10/31/2010 3:59 AM Gravatar

Quote: If MS was really not backing away from Silverlight, then why didn't Muglia say something like this:

"Your web - your way; If you want to follow the established HTML path, then MS is right there with a fast and standards-compliant browser. If you want to transfer a desktop experience under .NET to the browser, then Silverlight is available."


Interestingly this is exactly what was said in the Shape keynote just a couple of days before PDC (Shape = a Swiss MSFT web/cloud/etc. conference).
Look here it's the second talk.

As stated by others here, I believe that they made a genuine and honest communication mistake at PDC. They wanted to show the new & hot stuff and Silverlight is nowadays more a concrete reality than "new & hot". I bet they were completely surprised by the global hysteria.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Carlos lone at 10/31/2010 4:10 AM Gravatar
Well done! I like the way you put things On the table.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by hybridweb at 10/31/2010 5:32 AM Gravatar

It would be nice to believe this.

I can totally believe that a MSFT representative who isn't privy to the political process at MSFT central would say these things in all sincerity.

Unfortunately these representatives aren't the ones making the decisions.

Having said that, I really hope that what happened at PDC was a gigantic foot-in-mouth incident. But, after tracking @MossyBlog (and others...), and what has been said there, I'm not so sure.

Just to be clear, here is how I think things should be.

There are browser-based web applications, which are designed to have the broadest possible reach. This naturally requires (at least at present) the assumption of the lowest-common-denominator hardware and OS/browser support. HTML5 is a total win in these situations

Then there are other applications for which the lowest-common-denominator approach is inappropriate. I had thought that this would have been the ideal target for Silverlight (or Flash/Flex for that matter).

I use the web constantly. I just have no particular desire to program HTML-based browser apps.

I'm hoping for a pleasant surprise, but preparing for disappointment.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by MrIke at 10/31/2010 6:42 AM Gravatar
Wtf does "Silverlight's strategy has changed" mean? Is Silverlight dead as a web technology or not?

Microsoft's comments are vague as hell, it's not very responsible to say such things. I don't want to bet on a possibly dead technology.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Ian Smith at 10/31/2010 7:09 AM Gravatar
Laurent, You say you are "not worried about the future for the platform", but that's ridiculous. You should be! I'm already seeing tweets and blog posts about projects that had been earmarked for Silverlight being cancelled or edicts coming down from CTOs that suddenly "Silverlight is not to be used". Simply name-calling those who report such information as "stupid" isn't going to change things!

Long before PDC the smoke signals went out (I'm not going to repeat them all here, done too much of that in tweets and comments on other blogs BEFORE PDC already) Microsoft went into PDC having seen the strong adverse reaction and (quite deliberately in my view) chose to ignore them instead of address them head on. That in itself sends out a huge message, and Scott Guthrie making bland claims about "200+ engineers working on Silverlight and WPF" or "we're investing significantly in Silverlight" (for the Phone you mean?) are meaningless without more solid facts and figures.

All this talk of "unprofessional tech media" just makes Silverlight evangelists look unprofessional. They're being "passionate". Critics are being "emotional". Double standards, much? I expect such knee-jerk nonsense from those like Justin Angel who seem to revel in being deliberately "controversial" - I'm disappointed to see it from you. I first saw such comments being made when Tim Anderson (ITWriting, The Register) speculated very fairly on Scott Barnes (former Silverlight PM) tweet that "Silverlight and WPF are dead" a month or so back, and most recently when Mary Jo Foley gave a very reasonably balanced evaluation on specific statements Bob Muglia made at PDC. She was very careful with the wording she chose to use (as was Tim) and to criticise these journalists, who do the best they can to maintain integrity in a profession where not everybody takes the same approach, is unfair to them and just enforces the opinion that maybe those doing all the shouting are being less than professional themselves!

We can argue about the merits and demerits of Silverlight all we like (do I really need to bring up a VHS vs Betamax analogy again ;-)), but none of this matters if the business doesn't go with it and doesn't believe in "the vision" Microsoft have been trying to push for 3 years now.

All the heat over the last few months has seen several of my bigger clients (or potential clients) walk away from Silverlight. These are not small projects! Silverlight is now perceived as "too high risk", or "an option with no get out if Microsoft abandon it, which rumours suggest they might do". And this was BEFORE PDC. If you've got a delivery date a year or two years away it's very obvious that an HTML5 falling back to HTML4 AJAX solution has far greater reach (and for God's sake PLEASE don't quote those silly statistics at me. 40% if internet traffic comes from mobile devices that aren't even capable of running Silverlight) and far less risk.

The take-up of Silverlight amongst the average developer has not been what it should, given the advantages it offers. I have my own views on this, and am always surprised when I see other developers continuing to pedal the "It's easy. It's more productive" line. I wonder how such developers explain the appallingly low lack of interest in the technology from business and developers, given how long Microsoft have been trying to promote it.

The alarm bells should have gone off in Redmond long before they did, and too little has been done too late to win the hearts and minds of those who've dismissed Silverlight as some sort of "poor man's Flash" or "a world of pain with memory leaks, performance issues, buggy controls, a mess of different silo frameworks that have to be made to work together with no real advice or guidance from Microsoft other than yet another revamping of unrealistic Getting Started material".

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Notboss at 10/31/2010 9:05 AM Gravatar
I don't think Microsoft made a simple communication mistake. They are shifting substantial and important resources to HTML5, IE9 and related efforts. This isn't just one little slip.

Remember Dean Hachamovitch's "The future of the Web is HTML5"

Or, Mark Quirk's “As the number of the things you can implement with HTML clearly goes up, the need for Silverlight and Flash goes down,” said Quirk, though he added hastily, “The value that those players add needs to go higher.”

CIOs read these things and get the message.

There may be efforts at damage control next week. Or not. When/if they come, they won't be very effective. Microsoft doesn't do nuance. There's too much history here and too many resources going into HTML5/IE9/etc.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent at 10/31/2010 9:15 AM Gravatar
Hey Ian,

Fair enough. I guess I should rather express my feelings this way: I am worried about the future of Silverlight, but this is not new. It is still a young technology so of course it is impossible to know exactly what will happen with it. That said, worried is a very strong word. I don't lose my sleep over it. That said, I am not happy about what happened, of course. I said so to the people

About the tech journalists, I plead guilty. I have very little respect for the profession. I can see how it feels like I am putting everyone in the same bag. However, I have more respect for Maryjo Foley, Tim Anderson and Ed Bott, for instance, than for others. I guess that I came a bit strongly in this paragraph, and of course I am sorry for that. I won't retouch it now, because that would be hypocritical, but I hear you.

About CTOs cancelling projects or forbidding using Silverlight based solely on what we saw this weekend, my feelings are more "direct". As much as I feel sorry for my friends who lose projects because of that (and I really, really do), if the decision is really taken because of a Twitter "shift-storm", then I start to wonder about the professional value of the said CTO. I remember doing this kind of research myself before, and I would most certainly not change my mind over one weekend, and certainly not over something like this. It just sucks that honest, hard-working people lose jobs because of that kind of superficiality.

For other reasons to reject Silverlight n he web, I can understand that. Choosing a technology for a long term project is really really hard (again, I had to do that in the past). For web projects, I could see reasons to prefer HTML5 to SL, though to be honest these are pretty much the same reasons than preferring HTML4 to SL, i.e. if it is doable in HTML in a reasonable time frame, I would recommend not to use Silverlight. Putting every project in the same bag, however, is not possible and we carefully analyze each project before making recommendation. I have been refusing projects in the past because they didn't make sense in Silverlight.

Regarding Scott Guthrie's claim, I remind you that it was not related to the SL vs HTML5 debate at all. It was in the contrary related to WPF vs SL (yet another "XXX is dead" clamor without foundation). That's all I can say about this. Yes the messaging from MSFT needs to be better. And yes this weekend has been damaging. But again, I do not see a different message than it was a few weeks ago (as you yourself underlined), and certainly nothing that warrants the tsunami of impulsive retweets around the death of Silverlight. This is just what I meant when I said I was not worried. Poor choice of words, maybe. It's been a long weekend ;)


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Lixin at 10/31/2010 10:32 AM Gravatar
Microsoft should be critized for those unresponsible announcements, posts and articles. Do those stupid MS heads have their brains and really listen to the clients? I think they should give their positions to someone else.

Silverlight might not be suitable for those open web projects. But it really fits for mission critical applications. What MS could lead to mass project cancellations and then have all of us think MS is not trustable.

While I do think using Javascript in those areas makes the code harder to maintain, solution delivery slower and hence more jobs will be generated and my clients will rely more on me, I still want to do something better and make the development a more pleasant experience.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Lixin at 10/31/2010 10:43 AM Gravatar
BTW, for data intensive projects, HTML 5 won't help much more than HTML 4. The only thing more help, as I can see, is those improved Javascript engines on HTML 5 browsers. So I can imagine that CIOs will change some Silverlight projects to using HTML 4 + Javascript (I am with Ian Smith). I am also changing dev platform of one of my projects from Silverlight 4 to WPF. In near future we could also think about WinForms again.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Notboss at 10/31/2010 12:26 PM Gravatar
"BTW, for data intensive projects, HTML 5 won't help much more than HTML 4."

I wouldn't discount "HTML5" so easily. Microsoft is putting a real effort into passing Chrome. The results are not so easy to predict.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Jont at 10/31/2010 1:17 PM Gravatar
Thanks for an interesting read. I'm not an expert in SL but the few things I've done with it regarding cross-platforming and tests I'm very impressed. JS is not that effective and not something I want to learn more of. Future of programming in a broad scale would be effective and fast languages like, php, ruby on rails, SL, "flash", C# and other objective languages. Just because few major corps says javascript/html5 is the future of webapps doesn't mean it will be the major one.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Notboss at 10/31/2010 2:09 PM Gravatar
"Just because few major corps says javascript/html5 is the future of webapps doesn't mean it will be the major one."

Sigh, that Microsoft has reversed course on HTML5 features and JavaScript performance in IE9, you should watch for more progress around JavaScript at ECMA. They've already agreed to syntactic sugar to add classes and other features.

The JavaScript we all learned a few years ago isn't necessary what we'll be using in a few years. Despite minuscule resources in comparison to Microsoft, Adobe got a lot of mileage out of adding language features to JavaScript. It's not C#, or even Java, but it was enough to give Flex traction.

If Microsoft works with Mozilla, Google, Apple, and others at ECMA everything changes.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by JrMike at 10/31/2010 3:26 PM Gravatar
JavaScript is a pretty decent language overall. It's simple which is actually a positive aspect for a language to have. And yet you can still do complex polymorphism and other OO fanciness without tons of boilerplate code like Java or C#. Duck typing is simply awesome.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Anoop at 10/31/2010 4:06 PM Gravatar

There is a different angle to this, this is not just about a developer's career.

The fact is, today, a number of enterprises already started investing in Silverlight for their next generation web applications. So Bob, what those guys are going to do now? Scrap the existing Silverlight projects, because Microsoft says Silverlight is not that cross browser/cross platform any more, and it is no longer the preferred platform for developing web applications?

It is a matter of trust, My take here

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Tim at 10/31/2010 6:51 PM Gravatar
I've been doing Silverlight dev for the last 6 months and have come to respect your opinion greatly - I'm using your framework and you have unknowingly answered many questions of mine via Google searches! I think everything you say is in this post is correct, yet you are drastically underestimating the idiocy of the average CTO and vastly overestimating the potential for Windows Phone 7 succeeding.

Tying the future of Silverlight to the phone seems almost the same as killing it, because the phone seems pitched as "the iPhone alternative for people who find Android slightly too complex" which is a very small market. They won't conquer the iPhone (better dev environment, but MS can't beat Apple at user experience) and they're not even trying for Blackberry and the corporate sector.

Personally it's influencing my focus for future learning back towards Java/Android.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Eugene Akinshin at 10/31/2010 8:02 PM Gravatar
"Also, I do have more info than I can talk about."

Great to hear this, but why MS keep silence? At this point, we need some official statement from MS.

As MS Partners we invest lot of efforts in silverlight and we need to know was is just waste of time and money.

And we publish our new silverlight app today(!): - Can't imagine myself doing something similar on croopy HTML\JScript base.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by bitbonk at 10/31/2010 10:26 PM Gravatar
If I read you correctly you have one (and only one) point:

It is just too early to give up on SL.

And I agree with you. Bu that doesn't make the shift of focus/resources/effort towards HTML5 at Micrososft less true. We are currently seeing the beginning of a general shift towards HTML5 throughout the whole industry, not just Microsoft.

And I think we should all agree that it is a good thing and do our best to support it.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by pradeep at 10/31/2010 11:35 PM Gravatar
To all the above people,
Bob muglia will resolve the confusion regarding his speech today through a blog post. Here is the part of mail i got from Scott himself.
"We are working to fix this and should hopefully have a very good clarification post by Bob tomorrow that reaffirms the importance of Silverlight to Microsoft and our investment in it going forward."

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Notboss at 10/31/2010 11:58 PM Gravatar
Here's a brief and somewhat historical perspective:

Sorry it has to be pseudonymous.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Mark Pearl at 11/1/2010 3:15 AM Gravatar
I remember at Teched a few years ago when we were comparing Linq 2 SQL and Entity Framework...

Long live Linq to SQL - oh wait, I mean, long live Silverlight!


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Dmitry at 11/1/2010 6:35 AM Gravatar
One question I found interesting reading other post on the subject. "If the development experience [in SL]is so superior, then why are the standards-based websites still outshining the Silverlight ones?".

It's the very interesting question because it's true. I suggest the following answer - designers mostly ignore Silverlight.

SL webapps usually are produced exclusevely by developers. They don't have designers in their team and worse, they cannot hire those disigners, and even more worse they even cannot buy designer style, as they easily can do in case of HTMl/CSS. In fact, even WinForms world is better in that area! And designers hate Blend etc. And that's what I think really killed SL/WPF story.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by pedro at 11/1/2010 7:04 AM Gravatar
I would love for someone to show me where anyone from microft stated that Silverlight was going to replace html.
People saying silverlight is dead clearly don't have a clue about what it is, and what it is for.
Ask the seesmic guys when will they transition to html5.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Dmitry at 11/1/2010 7:58 AM Gravatar
Nobody consideres that as an possible option. The whole discussion is around the question will MS continue to invest into SL as heavily as it did before, that's all. Looks like for now (and after this whole burst) MS tries to reassure us that yes, it will. But... I wonder if this is just a damage control or true intention.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by ahmet at 11/1/2010 7:59 AM Gravatar
remember what the .net introduced to us: a common language runtime and JIT compiler to build native code. i think we need the same for browsers: a rich library + server side engines to compose html output of your work. just code once against the framework and engine converts it to html5 (or html6) and it runs on ie9, chrome 75 and firefox

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by RedmondMax at 11/1/2010 9:19 AM Gravatar
1. “We all know how tech journalism works today”…. If already known, why not craft your statement more carefully, or do not talk to them at all if you can afford
2. “if the decision is really taken because of a Twitter "shift-storm", then I start to wonder about the professional value of the said CTO” … that is why you are a MVP, most of us are not, our CIO/CTO even more stupider. why not have MS come out clear message on Silverlight asap to put this mess to its death. How difficult is it ? or MS does not care at all ? simply most of us are too stupid ? only know how to “putting their own incorrect spin on it” ?
3. Do you know what’s MS strategy on RIA application going forward ? Silverlight or Html 5 ?
4. I heard, not confirmed, maybe you can help to clarify, that MS often gives MVP the talking points/direction for their blog/presentation/interview

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Resuna at 11/1/2010 10:11 AM Gravatar
It's not my job, as a user, to make your job easier.

If I can't use your website without installing a plugin I don't already have installed, I'll go elsewhere.

And the only plugin I have installed is flash, and only because Flashblock is pretty mature, so I can choose whether to run it or not.

So, even though I have Flash installed, if I can't navigate your website without flash, I'll probably look elsewhere.

Silverlight? Google Gears? Facebook? Someone's random toolbar? Forget it. I've had to dyke that stuff out of user's computers after they screwed up far too many times.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent Bugnion at 11/1/2010 10:49 AM Gravatar

Fair enough. As we all live in freedom (more or less), you are free to go to other sites, just as I am free to choose the best technology for a given situation. In certain cases, the best technology is HTML/JS/CSS. In other situations, it is Silverlight. I happen to work for a company (IdentityMine) that makes what I would call "extreme UX", in other words we create applications that are at the edge of what technology can do. We are constantly pushing the technology to its limits. We work for clients who need this because they are not satisfied with common UX. Multitouch comes to mind (this is a field where we are very active), uncommon designs, high-perf animations, huge amounts of data, etc. For these scenarios, HTML/JS/CSS is not the best suited technology.

But again, I am not personally hurt or anything if you choose to pass your way.


PS: I should add that we never encountered a situation where Silverlight was not installed OR installing it was creating an impossible issue. This is something that we always check upfront. For the very rare cases where it is not already installed, we find that people are ready to install it once they understand how it will improve their UX.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent Bugnion at 11/1/2010 11:04 AM Gravatar


To 1: It was an emotional weekend as you can imagine. I let my dislike of tech journalists (sorry, of journalists in general) be more apparent than I usually do. I already explained, and MaryJo herself told me it is OK. Nothing to add.

To 2: I suppose that by now you saw the messages by Bob Muglia and Steve Ballmer explaining more calmly what the strategy actually is. Reading these posts, I find that they corroborate what I already knew, and what I always said: HTML (4-5) should be used for "standard web access", but for situations where it is not enough (such as multitouch, large quantities of data, high performance, etc etc etc), then Silverlight is the (cross-)platform of choice. For cross platform desktop applications, Silverlight 4. For Windows Phone 7, Silverlight for WP7 (or XNA if you do games and/or 3D apps)

To 3: As I said above.

To 4: There are many MVPs and many expertise. I happen to be in one of the newest ones (and smallest group), and I know personally most of the MVPs within. Within the Silverlight group at least, I can ensure you that we do not get directions. We do get early access to technology and/or information. We also have access to mailing lists on which we can talk to members of the team (many of whom I know, again, personally) which helps us gather information early. However, much of this information is confidential (we all signed an NDA and can be kicked out if we violate it). This of course helps us when we need to write on something. In the case of my latest book Silverlight 4 unleashed (and the previous one before that), I don't think I could have written them without this early access.

I am sometimes asked to give sessions at Microsoft conferences, and in some cases (not all the time), they ask me to talk on a specific topic. However, the presentation is always fully mine, as is my blog and all I do. At other conferences (Microsoft or not), I submit topics I select myself which are picked or not. For example the "Understanding MVVM" session that I gave a few times this year (at MIX and other tech conferences) was submitted on my own decision. MSFT was not involved in this at all.

Hopefully this gives a little insight on what we do. I think that even people who disagree with me (there are some ;) will vouch that I try to do what I do in the most honest way I can. This is not always easy because of emotions, like this weekend has shown.


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by vizcayno at 11/1/2010 1:29 PM Gravatar
I believe that the rapid adoption of a development tool is due to the simplicity in use, adaptability, high efficiency/effectiveness and the always pleasant feeling that it is a finished product, and not a product which seems to scratch the pettiness or insecurity that his architecture is the appropriate, where the missing parts NO LESS important are generally covered by other companies with inherent costs. I think Microsoft has this kind of problems with Silverlight and other products also.
Do you imagine how a person reacts when buying a beautiful car where the 6-speed where the 6th will be available one year unless you buy the components of a third party who already has it? Or to have special buttons to accommodate external mirrors, arranging the steering wheel to the extent of one, but that does not have a button to accommodate the seat? Or finally, when going to more than 80 mph during more than 5 hours, several pieces of electronics overheat and it is necessary to stop the car for a few minutes?

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Resuna at 11/1/2010 2:07 PM Gravatar
So it's come down to that. It's not security versus convenience. It's bling versus security, bling versus convenience, and bling versus the handicapped.

What user experiences are you providing that are worth it?

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by RedmondMax at 11/1/2010 2:14 PM Gravatar
Thanks Laurent for your lengthy response. You have lots my respects. I am about using your MVVM light and buying your book, that says all. Maybe we all were a bit over-react. This Silverlight thing seems an isolated incidence, but not really. Over years, Microsoft lost its creditability if not lost its way yet. When I saw the news, I immediately thought about MS disassembled IE team after they killed Netscape, I thought something like will happen to the Silverlight. The statement like “we are all in” towards to WP7 and the cloud, gave me less confident, not more, more like empty statement from a teenager.

With Apple at left, Google at right, Microsoft is struggling, Silverlight as few good things coming out of Microsoft, last thing you want is to create huge confusion among Silverlight community, your first line of support. and its impact on CIO/CTO is way beyond what Microsoft can understand, really. As MVP, it is probably relatively easy for you to convince CTO/CIO, but not most ordinary Silverlight lovers like myself. Late 2008, I was working on html/Ajax web application in one of well-known companies in Seattle. I spent lots my own time (I am consultant) and put my reputation online pushing Silverlight. Finally I convinced them to the Silverlight, one of reason it was kind difficult because MS lost its credibility among them. Otherwise, its CIO/CTO will push Silverlight, not another way around. This company has over 10 yrs history, over $200M revenue, all they use is Microsoft technologies.

Microsoft built itself on one believe: PC will be in everyone’s hand, and every home. In this Post-PC days, they seems lost their way and their believe, the “shifted” statement only show they are struggling.

Until I gain more confidence, I will think twice to push MS technology with my reputation, I simply can’t afford to do so after what happened over past days.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Martin Wawrusch at 11/1/2010 6:22 PM Gravatar
I have been a Silverlight adopter since the early beta days but have to say that it lost it's appeal to me a long time ago. Html 5 started to gain traction starting this year in a way no one would have predicted 12 months ago. It is now on a course that makes it unstoppable. A lot of features that matter like drag and drop or local database storage or web sockets are now available in modern browsers, and that is all that is needed for 99.9% of apps that are running in a web browser.

A lot has been talked about how Silverlight makes development simpler. This is something that can debated upon (and I personally disagree for various reasons) but it does not matter. What matters and should be important is what makes it easier for end users to access and use a web site. Having to install a plugin is a major roadblock. Having to wait for a silverlight control to download is a major issue (look up Amazons and Marissa Mayers statements about how even 100 ms influence user decisions). Not being able to view a website on so many devices is just a no no.

Microsoft had the chance to push Silverlight as the new application development paradigm for all devices (xbox, the pc, tablets, surface) and failed to execute on that opportunity. Now it is too late.

Laurent, I truly feel sorry for you, John, Tim and all the others who put their heart and soul into Silverlight.


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by griffondor at 11/2/2010 3:01 AM Gravatar
j'espère que le html5 vas mettre a terre tout les plugins marre des plugins comme flash , silverlight, quicktime, sa ralentis la machine

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Christian at 11/3/2010 2:07 AM Gravatar
I think MS should push the convergence of Silverlight and WPF to push cross-platform rich-client applications. HTML5 will probably win in the browser.

# A List Of JavaScript Quotes From SL Fans

left by Meni at 11/3/2010 8:42 PM Gravatar
I wish I wrote every quote, but it would gone something like:

* JS Is hard
* JS Is a POS
* I Would be really sad if forced to develop in JS
* I'd rather cut my right hand then do JS
* HTML is for documents only
* No support for the web-stack in VS2010 therefor I cannot do it
* HTML5 Will be ready in 2022

Just kidding ;-)

Any more you encountered?

It seems that the more SL fans get desperate, the more they diss the open web-stack.

Viva the OPEN web. Down with Flash and SL (BTW, Just mentioning them side by side is a hugh SL marketing win, Flash has much higher share)

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Laurent Bugnion at 11/6/2010 5:02 AM Gravatar
@Andre: I think there are no reasons to think that MSFT has "killed" anything. The links on top of this post explain clearly that this is not the case. I suggest that your CIO reads them and avoids taking decisions based on what he read in Twitter. I am happy to talk with him to explain rationally what the future holds for Silverlight.


# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by MikeO at 11/6/2010 6:31 PM Gravatar
1. There's no doubt that installing Silverlight runtime on all internet-capable devices is essentially impossible. So, yeah, Silverlight is not the platform of choice if you want to deploy to as many devices as possible.

2. If you want to deploy rich UX to a known set of devices/platforms, then Silverlight's still got many advantages over other plug-in based alternatives. What're you going to do instead? Learn Flash?

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Francois Germain at 11/8/2010 3:12 AM Gravatar
HTML5... Big "VaporWare" which doesn't solve real business issues TODAY... Yes, like yourself, I am mad to see that that the Silverlight story has shifted from what it was 1 to 2 years ago to what it is now, but come one, this is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD...

Having a substantial investment in SL4 for several LOB application modules and a strategy for public consumption vs. desktop users vs. mobile users, here are some thoughts for you all:

If you are into building something really useful that is cross platform, your best is to select a VERY flexible and productive SOA layer. Make sure you can expose consumable endpoints to all the client platforms you will target.

Once the server-side technology is settled and proven to work for all necessary client devices, create a vision that targets which specific features will be implemented on the different platform based on use cases and priorities.

Here some real life examples:

You have a portal to build that has a potential for huge public reach? Use SharePoint 2010

You have business application modules that require RICH user interactions and will be used on Windows Desktops? Use Silverlight4

You have most of your mobile users on IPhone4? Build a client for IPhone targeting the features that makes sense for them.

You think in 12 months, more than half of your mobile users will be on Android 2.2+? Rebuild the same IPhone client on Android and leverage the platform hardware, desktop widget capabilities, etc.

Sounds complicated? I don't think so. No one technology will be able to create stellar usable story on all platforms, period.

If you accept that, then you must know that, albeit the fact Silverlight is not Microsoft R&D focus right now and that Silverlight user story has shifted to a more focused set of users, that it will find its niche on the desktop and on mobile platforms and that it will be supported for YEARS to come.

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by Maverick78 at 11/18/2010 9:55 PM Gravatar
A CIO deciding to switch from an already mature technology such as Silverlight to a technology which is still a draft (even if HTML5 might be a good bet, don't forget it's still a *draft* and W3C *does not recommand* using it) should wonder on his credibility!

# re: My position on the #Silverlight debate

left by winter at 1/9/2011 3:40 PM Gravatar
I've participated a complex public web application using html and jquery. There's so many js and css to manage. And to handle those javascripts interoperations really a pain. Also, when trying to do an update a version using a shared javascript, you will found it's so hard to change as it's used in many places.
If silverlight can really cross platform and browser, it surely a better platform given the development ease and better management and control.

The road of Visual C++ shows that a better development environment can win over long time.
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