A while back, I wrote a blog about Windows 8 and the Future of Silverlight, and today I would like to talk a little bit about the future of Silverlight because we already know Windows 8 is going to be incredible (As described in previous blogs) and I don’t need to talk about that anymore. Silverlight 5 Release Candidate was announced September 1 of this year, which gave us a glimpse of what was to come in the full version; XAML Debugging, Multiple Windows Support, Linked Text Containers, 3D Graphics, and the list goes on. IdentityMine thrives on creating rich/immersive applications, and Silverlight 4/5 is the catalyst in which these applications are created. But as the mobile and computing world faces a paradigm shift, with powerful handset and touchscreen devices, the tech-savvy populous demands that these all work synonymously. Even Microsoft stated that their cross-platform runtime solution was HTML5, as porting applications to multiple devices is stated to be much easier. (Adobe has also stated that they will be no longer creating new versions of Flash, as to focus more on HTML5). Is Microsoft noticing these trends in the tech community and following suit?
What is going to happen to Silverlight? We know that there is at least going to be a Silverlight 5, but with the Microsoft reorg that took place in June, dispersing many in the XAML/Silverlight team, the direction and continued support of future versions are in question. Still, Microsoft remains committed to the newest release of Silverlight as described in their support policy, which states that they will remain committed to supporting their Business and Developer products for at least 5 years. But does that mean that they will start phasing out Silverlight within this time? Microsoft has said nothing about definite future plans for Silverlight, but that may just be because of their recent disclosure crackdown of products.
Writing Silverlight off as a dead developer tool is still premature, but just as business models change to accommodate consumer trends, developers may need to look to the future to see where the future of media experiences is heading (Silverlight will most likely be able to handle this for many years to come). That being said, Silverlight is still their developer platform for Windows Phone and LOB apps. All of these mixed signals can become confusing - can’t there be a one-size-fits-all solution?
Sometimes I feel like this debate is like saying that Toyota is ending production on the Camry because they wouldn't release plans for the 2012 model the day after the 2011 model hit showroom floors.
I have a few questions for the developer community (As if I haven’t already asked enough):
- Can developers do everything they need to do to create rich applications with Silverlight 4?
- Is there even a need to upgrade to Silverlight 5?
- Does it even matter that there may not be a new version of Silverlight?