Silverlight: Alive and Well!

Silverlight Just Logo Following PDC10 last week there has been much speculation in the press and online about Microsoft’s commitment to the Silverlight platform.

So let’s set the record straight: Silverlight is not dead, in fact Silverlight is more important and strategic to Microsoft than ever.

Silverlight conservatively has 60% installations on Internet-connected devices worldwide – a jump of 15 percentage points in the last year. Our management is committed to Silverlight  and we are currently working hard on the next release.

Silverlight will continue to be cross-browser and cross-platform, and run on Windows and Mac; it is a core application development platform for Windows, and it’s the development platform for Windows Phone 7.

Silverlight and HTML 5

We see a powerful synergy between Silverlight and HTML5,  and we’re committed to both technologies going forward.

The last few years have seen the emergence of a wide variety of Internet connected devices. We expect that HTML 5 will provide the broadest, cross-platform reach across all devices, and Microsoft will work to build the world’s best implementation of HTML 5 for devices running Windows.  At the PDC we showed the progress we are making on this with IE 9.  However, we see Silverlight continuing as a strategic development platform for mobile, Web and PC (for Mac and Windows). 

For business applications, Silverlight has seen broad acceptance across enterprises looking to deliver exceptional user experiences with the convenience of web deployment and the power of the .NET framework with Visual Studio. Business application development will be a major investment focus for us going forward.

In Media, Silverlight is the premium offering that builds on the capabilities of HTML5.  More than 100,000 developers around the world watched the PDC online last week using Silverlight, and gave the experience outstanding reviews.

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About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty is an independent consultant and programmer with three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects. He is the author of 2 dozen books and multiple Pluralsight courses, and has been a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP, Microsoft MVP and Telerik MVP.
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24 Responses to Silverlight: Alive and Well!

  1. Crispin says:

    Ben is spot on.

    @Jesse,

    “I just don

  2. Tad Anderson says:

    Earlier in the week I cancelled my order for Pro Silverlight 4 in C# and ordered Pro HTML5 Programming: Powerful APIs for Richer Internet Application Development. After spending a few hours with Pro HTML5 Programming: Powerful APIs for Richer Internet Application Development I reordered Pro Silverlight 4 in C# earlier this week.

    The rest of my thoughts after a week of this mess:
    http://realworldsa.dotnetdevelopersjournal.com/architecturallyhowdeadissilverlight.htm

  3. Pingback: Silverlight. What if? « AJ’s blog

  4. Fran Maz says:

    Jesse:

    In all honesty man, you have too big of a heart. I know you are devoted to SL, but upper mgt at MS are ruthless SOBs who talk out of both sides of their mouth.

    Time will tell, what the heck, at least the economy is crappy already, how bad could it be if my future as a SL developer goes down the toilet. You can’t get more poor.

  5. Andy says:

    Hi,

    I’m one of the lead devs of a huge silverlight project.
    It’s one of the biggest in a niche market when it comes to silverlight: Games.

    We chose Silverlight to create a game and had to cope with a lot of publishers and management to defend SL technology. Market share of SL was at 30% back then when we started.

    Now we got it up und running.

    There is only one major point that frightens me:
    Please tell me ONE Silverlight killer app which is used every day by every possible kind of target audience.

    I think there’s none.
    In flash, there are hundrets.

    I hate to see that the whole SL team of MS jumps onto the WP7 train, forgetting to make SL an every-day extension used on the web regularly.

    I believe Microsoft failed in making Sl interesting for every user on the net. That reminds me of the java applets 10 years ago.

    So I’m having a very basic fear because of the future of SL.
    And seeing all these reactions of fellow devs these fear seems to be amongst us all.
    Despite the current comments at the pdc.

    The silverlight community is on shaky feets.

    Now is the last chance to put SL back on track, microsoft, or it will die lonely in the web!

  6. Sam says:

    @Jesse Liberty

    Jesse, all the hard work you and others have done at Microsoft for Silverlight just got blown down the drain due to PDC 2010 and lack of strong clarification till date from Mr. Muglia and Mr. Ballmer himself about the future of Silverlight as a main stream choice for websites and web applications. I love Silverlight and I continue to stay loyal and develop projects using it, but like many others, it is an uphill task to convince my CIO/CTO to continue to invest in Silverlight as a platform for business applications. Careers are being destroyed and developers are feeling betrayed. You cannot tell me today that Silverlight will be available after version 5 if there is no developer base or interest left in this product. Please communicate to Mr. Ballmer and make him realize the extent of damage his soldier has caused. Limiting Silverlight’s future to the phone is not by any means a positive sign for Silverlight as a platform.

    I am extremely disappointed by PDC 2010. Please also ask the marketing people to rename this conference to: Professional Web-surfer’s Conference. Who the hell gives a damn about a standard’s based product like HTML during a Microsoft event like PDC? Standard’s based technologies are accepted without Microsoft having to cheer for it. We want to see how Microsoft’s products have an edge over rest of the world!

  7. I am glad that some effort is being made at damage control. It may be nice to see Muglia make some effort at clarifying it beyond a blog, maybe to mainstream media or whatever media outlet is appropriate. Maybe he should get rid of the coat and tie, and take some time to answser some of the comments directly, without something that sounds like a press release.

    I for one, don’t see why anyone is wetting their pants over html 5. It does fill in some gaps, like native video/audio, canvas, etc, but it will never have the capabilities of silverlight. And when it does get widely implemented, I would
    expect Silverlight to be even further ahead than it is already.

    The right tool for the job. Silverlight was not meant to replace html, but the opposite is true as well. Html will never be able to touch what Silverlight can do.
    Html 5 will extend the capabilities of run of the mill websites, most of which already
    look like template sites. But for my money, Silverlight will always be the best choice for true web applications that need a level of interactivity, creativeness and functionality for those that don’t want a run of the mill web experience for their
    users.

  8. Tad Anderson says:

    @Duncan
    Very well said.

    When it comes to technology CTOs and CIOs are looking at the news headlines, not at the commitment of the technical gurus at MS implementing it. As much as I appreciate the effort of the gurus to calm the masses, it really means nothing. The same crew I was battling in the DSL debacle a few years ago in which I was screaming go with UML, are now in charge of implementing the UML. Back then, they told me I was nuts, as soon as

  9. Duncan says:

    @Jesse – unfortunately, it’s not your confidence or commitment that sways the customer when we are trying to persuade them that Silverlight is the right solution choice. They have to hear that commitment from “Microsoft” – from people like Bob Muglia and others in the tech media; and it really has to contain more concrete intentions than it currently does (even if they aren’t entirely feasible, but are at least plausible) to make up for the faux pas that was committed.

    I have a client who agrees that Silverlight, as far as he can tell, is a great technology for his project, but he is wary, to the point of rejecting it, because of its perceived future as a supported solution.

    So, you don’t have to persuade us of Silverlight’s merits – but we have to be persuaded that our customers can be persuaded of them; that is the issue.

  10. @Doctor G
    We’ve stated clearly that Silverlight will continue to be cross platform and cross browser, and that we continue to work on new features. It may be that HTML5 will have something to offer for ubiquity, that wouldn’t be surprising; but it would be shocking if HTML5 was able to do all Silverlight can and will do – so shocking I’m betting heavily against it. In any case, I just don’t see these technologies as mutually exclusive in the way you seem to imply.

    We have sufficient ubiquity with Silverlight to be a very realistic RIA platform. That will only grow over time. I just don’t see where all the angst is coming from – I acknowledge that it is there, but I think it is more about fear of what might happen than fear of what has actually been stated or promised.

    It does seem to me that there is a tendency to believe the most frightening interpretation of statements, and to discount the more reassuring statements. That is a natural tendency, I don’t fault it, but I do watch for it in myself as catastrophic thinking can tie you up in knots.

    What I know, as an individual looking at career alternatives, is that Silverlight is still the most exciting technology out there, and that the phone only enhances its position. I would be very surprised if that doesn’t continue for a very long time, just getting better and more exciting and interacting with other interesting technology along the way.

    I’ll be so bold as to recommend to you my Full Stack video cast series as an example of how Silverlight can work and play well with other technology.

    -jesse

  11. Doctor G says:

    IMHO I think the issue is this: Imagine your are Telerik or Infragistics, and you have just hear that an MS VP state that Silverlight is still alive, but it is the no longer choice for the WIDEST deployment of RIA apps. That means the huge investment (marketing, engineering, sales, etc.) I just put into my Silverlight Controls is now for a niche market that is Microsoft only (don’t tell me that Silverlight 1.0 on Apple or Moonlight are real choices).

    Even those of us who are individual developers were counting on the widest market for our work. Right now, that ground is being ceded to Adobe Air [Android, Mac, PC, etc.) (and I used to be a Adobe MVP in Flash 🙁 and I decided to invest in Silverlight skills).

    I think this is the pain. I can no longer say that my products are really going to be write once, run anywhere. That space for Microsoft tools is the currently vaporware HTML5.

    Does that clarify why this is such an outcry about the decision?

  12. Jesse Liberty says:

    @Sam
    I think, personally, that Microsoft has done a pretty good job over the past 3.5 years in demonstrating a strong commitment to Silverlight. A few ill-chosen words are not enough to shake my personal belief that Silverlight is the center of the development universe.

  13. Jesse Liberty says:

    @Ben
    What do you need in such a road map? Dates? Specific functionality?

    My personal understanding of why Microsoft doesn’t provide dates and features until we’re certain is that the disruption from a slipped date or a missed feature is far worse than the uncertainty of not having provided that level of detail.

  14. Anonymous says:

    @Tech Lead
    All of your feedback here makes it back to the team.

  15. Tad Anderson says:

    Personally I am done fighting the SIlverlight battle. It took a lot to convince me to pick up the fight for anything related to the browser. Silverlight showed some hope of breaking free of the browser limitations and architectural issues that come with it. I’ll be going back to WPF or Winforms for internal Enterprise Apps. or nothing. Someone else can build browser crap for internal apps. External apps, ASP.NET or MVC, but it will be a year or two before I push Silverlight again. Luckily Matthew MacDonald

  16. Tech Lead says:

    yeah , exactly. We are facing problems with management to convince them to go with SL for new project. Due to
    Not having clear road map
    Support for 64bit
    having little technical problems with controls (some time has big impact)

    we some one will carry this to the right person
    Thanks

  17. Frank says:

    Jesse people are scared. Muglia response is not enough.
    Please if anyone can contact MS , convince someone like Ballmer to publish an official post and clarify things with something like a timeline for the next 5 years of Sl development and a strong signal that we can use it for longlife projects and websites.
    WP7 will fail if Silverlight will not ne improved or updated in the future, my compoany and thousand of others will not spend money in formation for an only phone technology. My fear is that from now to 2-3 years, after a weak SL5 or 6, the technology will be shutted off.
    Adobe is creating a tool to convert Flash to HTML5 IF the DEV wants so.
    We have to be able to decide what to use. Personally i’m crying to thinking i have to return to Javascript. Better to go to hoe the terrain.

  18. SLDude says:

    @SLDude
    OK , my last comment on the Bing maps is just wrong. silverlight stay, 3DActivX is out.
    Sorry for this.

  19. SLDude says:

    Well, alive and not so well.
    I think MS should tell us what exactly has ‘shifted’ in SL strategy?, what is the roadmap? what is going to be in SL5?
    and it should be load and clear massage , not in the developers blogs, but in tech blogs for the CTOs and clients to see.
    Please [crying] I don’t want to go back to HTML CSS JS [/crying]

  20. Duncan says:

    Alive and well, but unfortunately perceived as neglected and ailing since Mr. Muglia’s ill considered words. Much harder now to persuade a customer to accept a Silverlight solution, even though in many cases it is the absolute best fit – and is the best bit of technology, with the best champions, Microsoft might ever have produced.

  21. Sam says:

    You need to re-build the lost faith and that can only be done with out of the world features for next version of Silverlight and sincere commitment from all Microsoft teams – including Bing and MSN that continue to use Flash as well.

  22. Ben says:

    Only a clear and detailed roadmap will work at this stage …

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