Silverlight: Does the new path lead to the end of the road?
July 31, 2012 —
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Related Search Term(s): Microsoft, Silverlight, XAML
This was a compelling proposition, provided Microsoft could make the underlying plug-in technology ubiquitous. At the time, Microsoft Internet Explorer enjoyed massive market share, which made possible the assumptions that Silverlight might get bundled with the browser, or would be mass-deployed through some other vehicle only available to Microsoft.
Fast-forward to about a year ago, and there was a very different landscape, with fears for the future touching virtually every contemporary development technology, save C++, which was promised a renaissance. Assertions were made that .NET was dead, that Silverlight was dead, and that Windows 8 would break with the past and render all software previously developed unusable. Today, we know that .NET is not dead, that Windows 8 has full support for .NET and Silverlight via the desktop, and that there is a new platform within the platform in the form of Metro.
Microsoft’s failure to comment on Silverlight’s road map beyond Silverlight 5, and questions about the role of Metro, are the primary sources of the continued sense that Silverlight will not see a version 6. This has to be very frustrating to Microsoft, since even releasing a new version of Silverlight has not quelled the storm. Silverlight 5 came out in December 2011, and yet the conversation continues.
To the best of my knowledge, Windows 8 desktop will not include Silverlight 5—or any other version of Silverlight—out of the box. While I understand the mixed message including it would send, since Silverlight is not enabled in the Metro side of Windows 8, I cannot help thinking that this would diffuse much of the fear, uncertainty and doubt that is currently circulating.
When Silverlight makes sense
If you look at Silverlight not as a specific tool set, but rather as a vehicle among several for delivering a XAML-based experience, then the path forward is clearer. Russell Fustino, senior developer evangelist at ComponentOne, said, "To me, it is very clear that XAML is here to stay. So, with one skill set, developers can develop for all of these different platforms, and Silverlight is just one slice of it."