Developers React to Windows 8 Reveal
So, Microsoft last week drew back the curtain on Windows 8, and the reaction in the developer community has been a heady mix of interest and consternation. The funny thing is, the widespread worry is more about what Microsoft didn't say at the two events where Windows 8 was revealed (Computex in Taipei and All Things Digital near Los Angeles) than what it did.
There's just one problem: Sinofsky and Angiulo failed to discuss the XAML technologies -- Silverlight and WPF -- that have been core to Microsoft's developer messaging for nearly half a decade. As one reader commented to Andrew Brust's Redmond Diary blog post on Windows 8:
You can't blame Microsoft for focusing on the new (and ready to be revealed) stuff in Windows 8. But you would think someone in Microsoft marketing would rise to the defense of Silverlight, a platform that recently took its lumps when All About Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley quoted Bob Muglia, former president of the Server and Tools Division, as saying of Silverlight that "our strategy has shifted," and that "HTML is the only true cross-platform solution for everything, including [Apple's] iOS platform." Foley had asked Muglia about Silverlight because the keynote at the Professional Developers Conference featured only one mention of the technology. His response set off a firestorm of developer concern.
“The browser that we showed runs Silverlight and it will still run on the desktop," Sinofsky responded.
Sinofsky had an opportunity to level set the developer community, to affirm that Microsoft has the resources and will to support both HTML 5 and Silverlight as first-class environments in Windows. Based on reporting early this year by Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurott, it's almost certain that Silverlight will have a strategic role in Windows 8 application development. And yet, the Silverlight development community was once again left with its confidence shaken.
Other developers urged calm.
He also offered some advice: "First, [don't] listen to rumors and fear mongering. Second, don't read more into things than are really there--don't give in to wild speculation (base things on facts). Third, things in the tech world change; don't cling too tightly to any one specific language/framework/etc. I am heavily invested in .NET, but I think of myself as a developer first and foremost and know I will be OK no matter what changes happen in the tech world."
But one enterprise developer said the concern is merited, given the stakes involved in large scale development.
"Enterprise business applications take years to build. There are many thousands of IT shops and ISVs who have embarked on multi-year development projects enthusiastically embracing Silverlight, given clear direction and assurances from Microsoft," he wrote.
For the moment, a lot of speculation is swirling around the development strategy for Windows 8. As developer Steve Yetter pointed out, we may not know exactly where "Microsoft is going with this," but he preached patience.
"Before jumping to conclusions, let's see what happens at the BUILD conference."
Posted by Michael Desmond on 06/08/2011 at 10:10 AM