In many ways, we all knew it all along.. Silverlight was (sadly), not catching up as means to replace HTML development.
Everyone that ever used ASP.Net, and were sick of using 17 different technologies to deliver one simple website, was hoping that Silverlight would win a good market penetration, and that the days of JS / HTML / ASP.Net would be finally over.
So. Guess what. It’s officially not;
What Mary Jo Foley says is quite disturbing. Microsoft has been paying far too much attention to HTML5 to make us Silverlight people feel at ease. And it has a reason.
According to Bob Muglia, (Server & Tools president @ Microsoft), The home of Silverlight is the Windows Phone. It’s going to be THE development technology there, but when it comes to a real cross platform for the web – HTML5 is the way to go. (Unless you are sitting in specific SL Hotspots – If you are building an Intranet portal, etc. where market penetration doesn’t play a role).
I can’t really say I’m surprised.. In so many ways all of us have seen it coming for a long time. Microsoft’s constant “Silverlight is installed on 12% .. 21%.. 30%.. 45%.. etc.” wasn’t fooling anyone. When it came to cross platform penetration Flex/Flash still is the undisputed king, with development tools that were nothing to be ashamed of.
In many ways, SL is just an extension of WPF. Want to do what WPF can do on a Mac without installing a 300MB .net runtime? use SL.
But that is all what Silverlight ever was.
However, I still don’t think it’s such a hard blow, and here’s why.
IMO WP7 development in many ways could be more important than HTML5. Or more generally speaking, development for WP7 / iOS / Android is becoming the more important question.
The PC is a Dinosaur. We are going to continue to use the PCs if we want to write an essay, write a program, Model a 3d CAD, or do anything else that requires expertise (and a Keyboard..), but ask anyone that bought an iPad – You don’t really use your home PC too much after that.
All the rest is for the Smart Devices, and it’s enough to look at the Apple app store to understand that.
This means one things; HTML5 is up and running. And Silverlight / Objective-C / Flex are still MORE IMPORTANT.
Just one last ponder;
I really don’t want to go back to JS / HTML days. Silverlight is more fun, pure and simple.. and the reason I thought it might win the HTML wars after all is because what’s good for developers is ultimately better for the users. That was Microsoft’s attitude for years.. and that was what made MS win the OS wars with Apple and IBM (OS2 anyone?) 30 years ago.
Am I wrong here? How can anyone that ever wrote one tiny project in Silverlight would EVER consider returning to the dark days of JS & HTML?