Letters from Readers

Silverlight Reactions

In our December cover story, "Silverlight Futures," developers expressed their views about Redmond's aggressive promotion of HTML5 and awkward disclosure of a shift in Silverlight strategy. VSM readers are divided on the use of Silverlight for business apps going forward.

My team is no longer pursuing the use of Silverlight for corporate line-of-business (LOB) apps because it won't work with the hardware that our users want to use: iPads, iPhones and Android devices. If Scott [Scott Guthrie, Silverlight lead and corporate VP of the Microsoft Developer Division] comes out and says that Android will support Silverlight, then I might reconsider -- but I'm not going to tell upper management they need to purchase a different device to get to an internal LOB app. ASP.NET 5 should target the HTML5 spec, and I see how Microsoft is trying to influence pieces of the CSS spec (tinyurl.com/29oj3xc) to set up its tooling to render HTML5-compliant output. That's a good thing to see the company starting to do because the next refresh of the IDE hopefully will contain all that -- and more CSS3/JQuery support -- to justify the upgrade.

D.
N.Y.

There's a lot of focus on the things that HTML5 will bring that can already be done in Silverlight video/audio/animation -- but what about the things it can't do, such as read and write to a database? Anyone developing a business application will soon be lost with a pure HTML5 solution if they can't do this. To me one of the many benefits of Silverlight is that I can code the majority in .NET and I don't have to bother too much with HTML, JavaScript and so forth.

Matt
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom

I've supported Microsoft for years, but this shift on Silverlight has forced me into silence. I can't say to management that they should invest in any Microsoft technology if Microsoft is going to allow internal squabbling to shift its emphasis like this. I still use Silverlight, but I don't recommend it. I stay silent and let the other architects push their approaches. Silverlight's future is uncertain.

Posted Online

"With HTML5 promising native support for video and animation ..." Could you please explain why this is at all relevant to application development? How many business applications have -- or could have -- video? Zero. Silverlight is steeped in animations, and this is all very supportive. But I've never heard any customer complain about the lack of animations in their applications, whereas people quickly complain about too-apparent animations. So again, what difference does HTML5 make for application development? What's really relevant to application developers is speed of development and customizability. With its controls, templates and data binding, this is where Silverlight really shines.

Marc
Beaverton, Ore.

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This story was written or compiled based on feedback from the readers of Visual Studio Magazine.

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