The Future of Silverlight

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There is lots of debate going on in Internet regarding future of Silverlight.

What is true is that Microsoft’s Silverlight strategy has definitely shifted. Their initial strategy was promoting Silverlight as a cross platform, cross browser runtime competing against Flash.  Now after 3 years, this goal no longer seems as important.

Why is it so ? Even Flash has become less important nowadays since their platform is not supported in all the devices such as successful iOS devices. Even Microsoft cant develop a run time that’s truly cross platform, so has decided to support HTML 5 as the truly cross platform/cross browser platform.

Does this mean HTML5 replaces Silverlight on a feature by feature basis? Absolutely Not. Above is a slide from WPF Today and Tomorrow session at PDC’10 commented by a LaurentDuveau which answers many of the questions raised regarding the future of  the technology.

Apart from being development platform for Windows Phone applications it also have some sweet spots as mentioned by Bob Muglia such as media and business applications.

Much more significant however is that Silverlight still has a cross-platform future out of browser which may make it even more important eventually.

Microsoft is bringing all the features of Silverlight to Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and it will be supported natively. What does it mean ? The vNext of WPF will be part of Windows 8. If Silverlight is within WPF it will be able to run all the Silverlight apps without any change in code. This should allow Windows Phone 7 applications to run natively on Windows 8 tablets, which makes great sense.

While it often takes deep reading between the lines to get to Microsoft’s deeper strategy we know they are currently on an integration kick, which should bring all their products much closer together in the near future, and Silverlight, on the desktop and mobile devices, will be like HTML5 on the web, the glue which ties all the parts together.

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