Silverlight's Stumble?

When Microsoft unveiled pre-release demos of Windows 8 last month, it set off an unintentional firestorm around the future of Silverlight. Revealed for the first time were Redmond's plans for supporting HTML5 and JavaScript as a native development environment in Windows 8. The scheme promises to attract a vast community of developers and open the way for development across diverse platforms, including Windows-based tablets.

Yet neither Microsoft Corporate Vice President Mike Angiulo nor Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky even mentioned Silverlight in their presentations. Asked about Silverlight support during a Q&A session, Sinofsky replied: "The browser that we showed runs Silverlight and it will still run on the desktop."

This kind of faint praise is normally a non-issue. But Silverlight, envisioned as a universal vehicle for cross-platform .NET logic, suffered a sudden course change in October, when former President of Server & Tools Business Bob Muglia said: "HTML is the only true, cross-platform solution for everything." Silverlight today is targeted at rich Windows client and Web-enabled applications, and is the primary platform for Windows Phone 7.

So, will Silverlight be a strategic part of Windows 8? At press time, Microsoft remained silent on the matter, but reports indicate that Silverlight will enable "immersive applications" via the XAML-based UI library code-named "Jupiter." It's also worth noting that Microsoft has invested untold resources ramping Silverlight from a fledgling media player runtime to its current incarnation. Advances in Windows Phone "Mango" and the Silverlight 5 beta indicate that work continues.

Still, many developers are nervous about the future of Silverlight. And until Microsoft articulates a vision, it's hard to say they shouldn't be.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

comments powered by Disqus


.NET Insight

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Upcoming Events