Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Understanding the Microsoft Shift on Silverlight and HTML5

evolution-windows-html_xamlAs the old proverb goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That must be Microsoft’s mantra as it prepares to unveil a new strategy for Windows development at BUILD. It’s hard to fathom that only four years have passed since Microsoft originally introduced Silverlight, but in that short period the world- and Microsoft- have clearly changed. With the rising HTML5 sun on the horizon, Microsoft is signaling a new dawn to its legion of developers.

Microsoft overstepped with Silverlight and HTML5 is the correction. A careful study of Silverlight’s roots makes this clear while simultaneously underscoring the close relationship HTML has with modern Window’s development. No observer of Microsoft history should be surprised by the coming changes to Silverlight or HTML5 in Windows 8.

Let me explain.

The Roots of Silverlight

Rewind your mind to 2003. Windows code named “Longhorn” is generating waves of excitement, showing-off the beautiful successor to XP and promising futuristic new ways for storing files and… a brand new Windows graphics subsystem, codenamed “Avalon.” Avalon eventually progressed to what we know as WPF, but what you may not know is that Avalon’s roots are actually in the web.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

Michael Wallent is not a name you may recognize, but you’ll definitely know the products he has been responsible for during his tenure at Microsoft: Dynamic HTML (IE4), IE5 & IE6, WPF, and ultimately the roots of Silverlight. His background with Internet Explorer and HTML are supremely interesting when overlaid with the foundations of WPF (aka Avalon).

In what should be required viewing for anyone looking to understand Microsoft’s Silverlight story, Michael expounds on the background of Avalon to Tim Sneath in 2006. From the Channel 9 video (emphasis mine):

Michael: “So we finished-up with IE6 in 2001 and we had this real choice: this ‘web-thing’ is really taking-off and we want to make sure we build a platform for that. But we’re not really sure Trident (IE) is going to do it for [Microsoft] because of the scalability issues. And because the programming model between [JavaScript] and C++ is dramatically different and fraught with security issues. And [Trident] just doesn’t scale to meet the problems we needed to solve. It doesn’t do a great job with media. It does an okay job with UI stuff. But we felt in many ways we were limited with [what we could do with Trident].”

“So we said, “Hey, we’re going to start this new project, code named Avalon.” We started it towards the end of 2000, beginning of 2001 to try to build a web client platform that was a follow-on to Trident, but something that was modern that we could really build Windows on top of, not just “dancing hamster” websites.”

Wait, what? That’s right! The roots of WPF are in a project that originally aimed to create a new, modern web client that Windows could be built on. HTML5 in Windows 8 is already sounding less crazy. More from the interview:

Tim Sneath: “When you started Avalon, was that really your goal to replace or supplant the web as we know it today? Or was it a contextual background [for the project]?”

Michael: “You know, “replace” is such a nasty word. I think what we were looking at at that time was that people wanted to build richer applications. And there wasn’t really a good way to do it. HTML is great for a lot of stuff. Nobody loves HTML and dynamic HTML more than me…but the fact is, there are some types of applications that you see people today where they fall off a cliff…what can we do to create a better seamless experience?”

I think the market recognizes that HTML is good for some stuff, and then to go to the next step, you need other runtimes, because these HTML runtimes, coming from their SGML background, only can do so much. And you can’t push them too far or you’re not going to get a great user experience.”

Okay…so Avalon didn’t exactly aim to “replace” the web as we know it, but it clearly had the ambitions to take the web further. In fact, Michael goes on:

Tim: (paraphrasing) To go back to the genesis of Avalon, how did it incubate from that stage of recognizing the problems with HTML to a team of 100?

Michael: “Basically what happened is that we had a set of really smart folks working on Internet Explorer, and another set of smart folks working on the internals of Windows itself. And we merged those two teams together to create the Avalon team. So we thought it was the best of Windows, best of the web.”

And the veil continues to lift. The roots of WPF (and ultimately Silverlight) are in a project that literally merged Internet Explorer devs with Windows client devs, with heavy influence from HTML. And who had to bless this radical new “integrated platform” (Web/Windows) approach? Who do you think? From the video:

Tim: “Who did you have to persuade to build this team? What kind of buy-in did you have get internally to turn this in to a reality?”

Michael: “Basically, Bill [Gates].”

Tim: “You went and pitched him?”

Michael: “Many times. Many times. We effectively had a charter when we merged the Trident team with the User and DUser teams together to build the Windows platform.”

That explains (in part) why there were no new versions of IE for five years after IE6. It also underscores how significant this new “integrated” (web and Windows) platform decision was 10 years ago. It required approval from the top.

Digesting the Avalon Background

What do we ultimately learn from the Avalon interview with Michael:

  1. Avalon (and in turn WPF and Silverlight) has strong connections to HTML and the web
  2. Avalon was created because IE6-era HTML couldn’t meet the needs of Microsoft to build Windows (especially around media)
  3. Avalon was hugely impacted by Microsoft’s new (at the time) bet on managed code (.NET), which is one of the primary reasons Avalon did not use XHTML for markup.
  4. Windows, at least in concept, is built on an “evolved” web client platform

Bottom line: The Windows we know today already is heavily inspired by the web and HTML. The idea of Windows 8 integrating HTML5 for Windows development is nothing new. It’s just a new take on a 10-year-old concept.

The Silverlight Connection

When Avalon became WPF and shipped with Vista, Microsoft ushered in its rich new “evolved web client” platform for Windows development. That made sense.

Then Microsoft introduced WPF/e (e = everywhere), aka Silverlight. What started as a “merged” platform that combined the “best of the web with the best of Windows” was coming full circle in Silverlight and preparing to (in Microsoft’s view) replace the web as we know it (borrowing Tim’s words).

But the web of 2007 was very different from the web circa 2001 that inspired the roots of Silverlight. Browsers were evolving again. Standards were rapidly evolving to eliminate long-standing shortcomings. And perhaps most importantly, internet access was beginning to shift from Windows/Mac PCs to a world of multi-platform devices being lead by the iPhone.

Rather than read the writing on the wall and return to the tried-and-true Microsoft strategy of “embrace and extend,” Microsoft plowed ahead with their own custom approach to web application delivery.

Fast forward a few years and we find a developer community confused by the relationship of WPF to Silverlight. We find a Microsoft recommitted to the web via a reinvigorated IE development team. And we find a world where plug-ins are increasingly taking a backseat role to web application development.

Enter HTML5

Imagine how Windows might be different today if HTML5 had existed at the time of Avalon’s design. Given that the creators of Avalon were so inspired by the web, had the web of 2001 looked more like the web of 2011, maybe Vista would have ushered in an even more web-like development model that’s now being assumed to be part of Windows 8. And if that had happened, the conditions that created Silverlight would have never existed.

That’s not to say that XAML would never have existed (though clearly it would have evolved differently). What Michael says is true: HTML is great for some stuff, then other runtimes are needed to go further. Windows still needs its rich, native development environment. XAML provides that, and it will in Windows 8 and probably Windows 9.

What we don’t need is a replacement for the web. Michael knew better than to call Avalon a replacement, and Microsoft has now learned that lesson with Silverlight. Instead, with Windows 8 and HTML5, Microsoft is returning to the “embrace and extend” strategy that has served it well over the years, and re-calibrating what it means to create an OS that merges “the best of the web with the best of Windows.”

HTML5 in Windows is Not Radical

Despite the media and developer reaction to the early Windows 8 discussion of HTML5, the idea of Windows embracing web technologies for native client development is not radical. As you’ve seen in my documentation of Avalon’s evolution, the idea has been floating around Microsoft for at least a decade, and arguably for even longer than that (many of the anti-trust claims against Microsoft revolved around their deep integration of IE in to Windows in the early ‘90s).

Windows 8 and HTML5 are simply a re-focusing of this long-standing strategy, and it represents a “correction” by Microsoft to properly acknowledge HTML5 as the technology for the web, and XAML as the technology for Windows.

Microsoft “overreached” when it tried to make its “native” platform technology an equally suitable cross-platform, cross-device, “web replacement” platform. There are simply too many platforms and devices for Microsoft to attain that position. Instead, in September Microsoft will re-cast XAML as the solution for when HTML5 is just not enough, while simultaneously embracing more of HTML5 for “near native” Windows development.

Telerik Insurance

It goes without saying, but Telerik is insurance for perceived risk in Microsoft platforms. If XAML continues to be the platform that makes sense for your applications, Telerik will continue to be the premiere provider of XAML tools. If HTML5 and JavaScript make more sense for your next generation of “Windows” development, the new Kendo UI framework is worth investigation. Either way, Telerik, to paraphrase a customer, has your back.

Microsoft can’t replace the web, but that’s okay. With renewed clarity on where “native Windows development” and “native web development” meet, Microsoft and Windows 8 promise to usher in an era of clear developer direction and simplified Microsoft development decisions. Ultimately, what should now be obvious is that the “grand shift” Microsoft will discuss in Anaheim is nothing new. And with that perspective, you can start planning for the future with more confidence while Microsoft does a quick “take 2” on merging the web and Windows.


CastleSoft said...

Will Kendo UI be part of the Telerik Ultimate suite ?

Todd Anglin said...

@CastleSoft The official licensing of Kendo UI is still being finalized. Kendo UI will be available as a separate product on under a dual-license model (Commercial and Open Source GPLv2). We'll share more on pricing and potential inclusion in the Telerik Ultimate Collection soon. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that you give us options.

But we prefer xmal as long the layout engine of html is brocken.
And html layout engine is brocken ny design. And htl didn´t change at the moment.

Todd Anglin said...

@Anon- As is commonly said, not every project requires a hammer. You need the right tools for the right job, or in the case of software, the right requirements.

HTML has its quirks- its pros and cons.

XAML his its quirks- its pros and cons.

Telerik will provide tools and premium developer support for both, so you can make decisions like this to work with the platform that makes sense to you.

Fallon said...

Wow, what a complete misreading of developers reaction.

You have some great products, but this post really makes me question if you have any concept of the community you're serving.

There may have been developers upset about Microsoft embracing HTML, but you would be hard pressed to find them, they're so few.

The concern wasn't HTML, but replacing C# and XAML with HTML and Javascript

We NEED a strong HTML standard, and HTML 5 is a huge step in the right direction, but let's face it, it doesn't hold a candle to XAML/C#, at least not yet.

Did they(MS) seek to replace the Web with Silverlight? I think that's another gross misreading of the facts, unless your definition of the web is the browser.

In fact, that's so silly that if you actually believed that, then you would say that the iPhone is seeking to replace the web, unless all apps are written in HTML.

The web is a communications medium... PERIOD! IMO, if nobody looks at replacing the agreed upon standard from time to time for communication over that medium, HTML 5 wouldn't even exist(BTW, copying what Flash/SL are doing).

I think that what you should have done here is what you really were trying to do from the start.

Make sure that we know that what ever direction the wind is blowing, you'll be flapping in the wind with us, attempting to provide some measure of stability.

That's a noble goal without the need for the other stuff.

Todd Anglin said...

@Fallon- Some fair feedback.

However, I think I'm not on a limb to suggest the developer reaction to HTML5 in Windows has been filled with fear. Specifically, with fear that HTML5/JavaScript in Windows spells trouble for investments in XAML.

My point is that this fear is unnecessary. HTML5/JavaScript and XAML/.NET will co-exist in Windows and serve different purposes.

That said, this is a change for Microsoft and Silverlight.

The Internet is not a communication medium. It's the world's largest application delivery system. And in that sense, Microsoft was trying to position Silverlight (WPF "everywhere") as the platform for Internet application delivery. And in that, they overreached and are now adjusting to focus XAML on native Windows (desktop/tablet/phone) development and HTML5 on "everywhere" development.

Hope that helps clarify.


Anonymous said...

It is hard to beleive that Telerik tell us not to buy it's current Silverlight products by argue that there will be a 'bright html5 future' products. Telerik is simply shooting themselves in their foot.
This lack of reliance by both (Microsoft and Telerik) will suppose a big crisis in the Windows technologies. you will have to wait another 2 years in order to developers learn again this html5 wave and be able to buy your products.

Todd Anglin said...

@Anon2- I think you misunderstand.

The case being made here is that you *CAN* and should buy Telerik XAML products. Today those are delivered in our RadControls for Silverlight and WPF. As Microsoft evolves XAML, we'll adapt, but the point is that XAML has a strong future, and Telerik is already a strong provider of these much needed XAML tools.

I think you'll find after BUILD that there is no "crisis." It's XAML as usual + HTML5. Telerik is well positioned to offer you tools for both.

In fact, the safest path forward with XAML is to buy Telerik XAML controls now so that you're ready for XAML's evolution.

Hope that helps. Sorry if I mislead on this point in my analysis.


Anonymous said...

HTML and JAVSCRIPT are wrong way for development as long as we have n Browsers and n Javascript Interpreter.

The development costs are too high for true applications.

Not simple smartphone apps.

For us it´s clear --- We will not support the HTML and Javascript hype. We do what we need for our apps not what apple and google said.

show me one app which is build in html and is performant and has a great interface.

And which works in all browsers which claims to be html5 compatible.

HTML5 is a woodway.

Best negative eample is the comment function here.

Its very poor in usage

Todd Anglin said...

@Anon- (Sorry I can't address you by name.)

HTML5/JavaScript is not a universal solution. There will definitely be apps and development that should not be done with HTML5.

You've got to understand the pros and cons of every platform.

And there are plenty of good examples of real HTML5 apps today:

- Google Docs
- MobileMe Online Tools
- New York Times
- Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader

If HTML5 is not for you, that's okay. But it's real and it's coming, and it's more than hype.

Hope that helps.

Ben Hayat said...

Based on many readings, I can see the shift of XAML being more towards the Windows/desktop development and HTML5/JS for web development. What's not so clear [to me yet], is, what's going to happen to the "existing" Silverlight platform and the applications that were developed? Will "Current SL" sort linger around as of SL5 being the last version of Silverlight plugin development for the web? I'm pretty sure MSFT won't pull out the runtime, so it looks like the current SL technology, will become like the Win32 or Winform that will be available, but not much enhanced or developed from this point on. Again, I'm only talking about the current one and not the one that is going to be part of Win8 (Jupiter).

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others, you fundamentally don't understand the reason developers are in open revolt over this HTML hype from MS. HTML+Javascript is fundamentally inferior to XAML+CLR+.NET as an application development environment. Among its many shortcomings, it lacks statefulness, databinding (rich or otherwise), strong typing, and a managed environment with integration to all the stuff that exists in the .NET stack. Actually creating an HTML "application" takes forever in comparison to Silverlight due to the primitive nature of tools and the scattered resources you have to gather to get anything done unless you do it all yourself. Look, I know your job is to sell your controls. But don't tell us developers that we should just accept a decision from MS that will be as disastrous for the MS developer community as it will be for the company itself. We are professionals who know more about what we are doing than clearly MS management does at this point.

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents :

HTML is a no go.

I just want to say that what is needed will not occurs which is having one way to develop which embrace the native development with the web development.

We are doomed for many years with the web separated from windows because if I continue working with my great Telerik product for windows making SL/WHATEVER NAME IT'LL BE applications, I will not have both the application and the web everywhere

When I mean everywhere I mean it.

So I hope one day I will be able to make an application that will be seen EVERYWHERE on the web and windows which is actually what I like most in the world : Silverlight way of developing

Blend + VS + C# + WCF + xaml = 99.9999999% winner

What is the .0000001 you ask ? EVERYWHERE

Todd Anglin said...

@Anons 3 & 4:

I can appreciate your perspectives, but they are a bit short sighted.

Look beyond the Microsoft universe and you'll see it's not Microsoft pushing the HTML5 wave. Microsoft is simply acknowledging that its efforts are better spent enhancing the "native" Windows dev stack (for Desktop/Phone/Tablet) and making it as attractive as possible. As part of that that "refocusing," it's joining the industry to help evolve and adopt HTML5 as the "reach" platform.

And let's not forget that one of the primary drivers of HTML5/JavaScript success is one of the primary Achilles heels of plug-ins like Silverlight: mobile and devices. And with smart phones now shipping more units per quarter than PCs, you cannot ignore this huge audience that is unreachable by technologies like Silverlight.

But again. This is not one platform fits all, and the panic (even in comments) is unnecessary. Microsoft is not abandoning XAML. Quite the opposite.

So if you love Blend + VS + C# + WCF + XAML, great! That's still a path forward for you and many others, with great tools from vendors like Telerik.

H.Dolder said...

Can one theory explain all things MS is saying/doing ?

I propose the following "Standard Model":

MS is ...

* Creating an alternative NET H5JS Framework in which they are implementing some important "low-level" changes ...

* Replacing DirectX with the HTML5 Rendering Engine.

* Replacing MSIL with Javascript.

* Implementing Silverlight/WPF/XNA in a layer on top of HTML5 (not side-by-side with HTML5). See: and search "WP7 UIElementRenderer".

* Viewing the HTML5 Browsers as "Plugins" for the different Operating Systems and adding also Out-of-Browser (OOB) functionality for each OS.

Can you imagine the impact on portability ?

Can you imagine the impact on Java based systems ?



Ben Hayat said...

I have been involved with Silverlight since it first version and in fact Todd & I had a long & passionate conversation about SL in 2007 in Orlando TechED conference, and we both have had a lot of investments in SL and it's technology. So, we're both pretty rooted in there. But some of the Anonymous comments suggest that Todd or Telerik are taking MS side or dictating developers what to do. Todd's article is basically laying the history's event for the past 10 years and states the obvious what is happening and what direction the industry is moving.

The advent of HTML5/JS isn't governed or control by MS, there are many other big players in the picture. Whether you like it or not about the way the industry is moving, it's no reason to throw shots at Todd or Telerik or xyz and etc.

I'm looking forward to the new SL/XAML, I'm learning JS/jQuery, I'm seeing some amazing things being developed for devices that are beyond MS reach. I just see MORE opportunity now than before.

Oscar Agreda said...

This is simply the best Article some one has put out there to explain the whole mess Microsoft has created.

I have sent this article to many Silverlight Developers like myself and we all found it to be so true.

Actually, after reading it and considering that comes from Todd Anglin, it made me think and re-evaluate... everything makes sense now..

I love Silverlight so much, but not I have to Know Silverlight as well as HTML/JQuery to continue developing Business Applications.

Amazing Article, thank you

Rui said...

Those of you believing in HTML5 + JS need to look no further than the lackluster performance of Google's ChromeOS to tell the truth.

Let's face it: Google is HTML5. HTML5 is Google. They have every vested interest to make their poster child H5 product successful. If Google cannot build excellent H5 products then no one else is able to. Meanwhile do you notice how popular Android - a managed code platform just like that of SilverLight - is? Why is Android more popular than H5?

You cannot put 2 and 2 together not coming with 4 here. You cannot tell me H5 is fine while its biggest pumper is unable to build a killer product out of it.

Think of this question hard: Is SilverLight not being widely supported on platforms outside Windows of technical reasons or political ones?

You see H5 is not that good a platform. It benefits mostly from the fact that it's the only game in town when it comes to cross-platform. In other words, H5 is alive merely b/c of its monopoly status rather then technical merits.

Jens said...

Nice to see that you blocked critical comments.

Todd Anglin said...

@Jens You must be confused. I'm not blocking any comments (as should be obvious by this open conversation thread). No moderation by me.

If comments do not appear, I assume they are being captured by Google's spam systems. I'll investigate...

Good to meet another friendly citizen of the Internet. :)

Todd Anglin said...

@H - Very interesting idea. Radical. But interesting. We'll compare notes in September.

@Rui - I think you're missing the point, a bit (as a few other commenters seem to be). I'm not saying HTML5 is the future for all software. Quite the opposite. I'm saying there will be native platforms, and there will be reach platforms. And for the foreseeable future, in the Microsoft space, XAML is the native platform, and HTML5 is the reach platform.

The point of this post is not the bless HTML5 as the end-all-be-all platform. That's a discussion for another time. The point today is that it is not radical for Microsoft to try to merge Windows and the Web (as it has been suggested since the Win8/HTML5 news broke). Instead, it should be expected. It's consistent with Microsoft's ambitions of the last 15 years.

That's really it. You're opening another front on the debate that is best discussed at a different time. Hope this helps further clarify.

John said...

I don't really understand... essentially Telerik are saying that HTML5 is the future, but PLEASE use our products. Oh, and we have a cool HTML5 product but we can't give that in the ultimate suite.

This makes no sense whatsoever. We're in the middle of ditching our Silverlight components in the next year and a half, and with it our Telerik licenses. It would be nice to have some HTML 5 tools at hand already, but if the best you can offer is some hints on some future licensing of a 3rd party HTML5 component then it seems a safe bet to find a vendor more committed to HTML5.

Todd Anglin said...

@John- I'm sorry you don't understand.

Let me try to re-underscore the relevant point from this post:

The future is NOT just HTML5. The future is NOT just XAML. Both will play a role in different kinds of development.

Telerik is a world-class provider for both platforms, with HTML5 support offered through RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX, Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC, and now Kendo UI. If you need professional tools for XAML or HTML5, Telerik should be your vendor of choice.

Hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to email me ( and I'm happy to help.

Marc Roussel said...

What Kendo can do to get data from a WCF service the easy VS way ?

Marc Roussel said...

Interesting detail

Marc Roussel said...

Just a small question. If I will never write any JQuery/JavaScript for the rest of my life. What else will I have to write an application that will target MOBILES ?

I'm a C# dude and a blend + vs dude so what do you think I'll have to write a complete application the way I do it now if no tools like that exists ?

JQuery / Javascript / HTML X are just not for me.

Ben Hayat said...

I'm in the same boat as you. Been doing Blend/XAML/C# for 4 years. And now facing a shift (nothing to do with MS announcement) where clients want OS agnostic web app for desktop/Tablet/Mobile.

No matter how many times I cursed, all I saw new JS tools popping up left & right.

- You can write C# code for WP7.
- You can write Java Code for Android.
- You can write Objective-C for iOS.

All that, to cover the three mobile platforms or you can swallow your pride and submit to life's changes and hurry up & learn JS/jQuery/CSS3/HTML5 and join the new generation and write one set of code for all three mobiles, tablets and desktop Web.

Your C# and XAML and SL coding will give you a huge jump start. It's VERY similar to coding current SL, and JS is very close to C# syntax. You, me and others can cry all day long, and all we see, is that we're left behind.

A developer to developer talk! :-)

Ben Hayat said...


Marc, check out this from MSFT:

Go to download and pickup SilkPDF.pdf and start reading.

Here you can watch the video:

You can see, you do things that looks just like SL, but no plugin and you can run it on iPad, Android Tablet and etc.

Enjoy it!

Marc Roussel said...

@Ben Hayat;

Thank you for this

If I don't have VS with the intellisence and C# + a tool like Blend for my UI I'm not in.

Does doing things like Silk can be done with my tools ?

That's absolutely what MS need to do. Give us the same tools and way of coding but without us to see the plumbing for having this kind of EVERYWHERE development.

Ben Hayat said...


I'm REALLY hoping that's what we hear at //Build. Tooling like Blend to do the UI.
As you may know, WCF RIA team is also working on RIA/JS project that you can find on codeplex.
Hopefully in a month we'll know what [the hell] MSFT is up to :-)

CastleSoft said...

@Todd Anglin - As a Registered Ultimate Subscriber.. I have my fingers cross that it will be included in Q3 2011 ?? :-) About to begin playing with the beta now. Like all Telerik products it looks awesome..!!!

Todd Anglin said...

@Marc- I definitely understand the sentiment. It would be nice if we could build all software with one language/platform. :)

And frankly, if your target is Windows (phone/tablet/desktop), you probably can. That's pretty much Microsoft's goal: make it easy to use one language/framework to hit all environments.

BUT...if you want to hit the very popular platforms that are not Microsoft-friendly (iOS, Android), you have to make some choices:

- Learn the native platform/languages
- Use an abstraction like MonoTouch to use .NET that will compile in to a native app
- Use a "universal runtime" (like HTML5/JavaScript) that runs on all target devices

It's a multi-plaform world, now. We as developers have to adapt. Hope that helps.

Marc Roussel said...

@Todd Anglin;

With respect to you Todd, I don't think I have time again to learn something else for other platforms. The world is now a place where we need this kind of programming model which is not to worry about things like this and having the application made fast, beautiful and accesible everywhere, aka Silverlight without the word everywhere.

Like the previous post from people I hope that this will happen.

Hope that we could just use the same programming pattern with the same tools which behind the scene it'll do the job of going everywhere. That's all people needs right now. We know they are capable of such mechanism behind the scene.

If HTML 5 and JS is suppose to be so great for the WEB it's now time to prouve it. Show that what we do in SL today could easily be ported to the all platforms without us to know HTML X, JS, Objective C and any other kind of things.

We worked so hard to learn SL and the tools that come with it that making another move again is time consuming in a time where it's not time for that.

Ben Hayat said...

@Marc & [some] others;

You guys are barking at the wrong tree... Here is what Vassil [CEO of Telerik] said, who has a lot more at risk than all of us together:

"The ugly truth is that we’ve got bitten by the confused Microsoft messaging and silence as much as or more than most. We would’ve liked more guidance from Microsoft on where things are going and why. It definitely would’ve been nice. But, and it is a big BUT, they don’t owe us anything."

Telerik is on OUR side. They create product for US. I'm not turning this to a MSFT bashing, but it's MSFT who has has caused us all in these problems. I just lost a nice contract, because the client said, they're not sure where SL is going. I'm actually counting on companies like Telerik to save our butt than MSFT would. Let's all get the picture clear in our head.

Marc Roussel said...

@Ben Hayat;

There's no barking at all. We are just discussing here.

I understand what you said. I agreed, Telerik is the best team I've ever had to work with.

That said, it's important to understand the need not the fear.

What I've said it clear. The tools we use today with SL, need to continue the same way but targeting all platforms.

I don't want to learn something else just because my customers need to target all the platforms.

There's no time for that since the customers want this now.

Like I said, we are in a time which time is very important and what have been leaned from the last few years needs to remain and go on.

There's nothing else that matter most for many people I know that works with SL today !

Again the only thing that remains here is hope.

Anonymous said...

I think Microsoft is committing some kind of ritual seppuku here.

For Windows development, this is how I read their strategy:
- Microsoft's HTML5+JS will most likely be an "embrace and extend" variety, after all it will need to provide the hooks into the OS to program those live tiles etc.
- So it will NOT be compatible with vanilla HTML5/JS
- So, in the end we get to use an inferior language, inferior UI markup and most probably inferior tooling to what we have now -- and the resulting app will still only run on Windows?

Thanks but no thanks.

And as far as web application development is concerned, I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with the Microsoft stack at all. Silverlight was a compelling programming environment, but if it it HTML5/JS only, it essentially comes down to Ruby on Rails / MVC3 for me, and MVC doesn't have enough of an advantage there to offset the fact that Rails runs on Linux servers.

I just don't understand why MS doesn't simply offer good SL Plugins for Linux / Android / Mac OS X / Blackberry / WebOs. Yes, that would mean you'd have to write an SL App + an iOS App to cover everything, but total development cost probably still wouldn't exceed the cost of developing a single HTML 5 App. And they'd have an argument why people should use their server software stack instead of the cheaper Linux alternative.

So, as far as Telerik is concerned: Thanks for all the nice products you've produced so far, I hope that you continue to support Silverlight for a good while and please make it easy to use Kendo from other platforms than just .Net.

Anonymous said...

"So, in the end we get to use an inferior language, inferior UI markup and most probably inferior tooling to what we have now -- and the resulting app will still only run on Windows?

Thanks but no thanks."

Great comment - bang on the money. Lets hope this isn't Microsoft's new direction

Anonymous said...

I really don't like this approach. The whole APSx/WPF/Silverlight feels a lot like the VB6 model where the form is separated from the code.

.NET Winforms has always been really easy as you can follow the way the objects are instantiated and pick up any problems.

Web technologies are a mess. They have all been extended way beyond their initial design intention.

I think it's the web that needs to be replaced. There is no need for human readable tagging in the modern world.

The disconnected system is a problem with the constant polling back.

What's really strange is mobile apps have gone in the opposite direction. There, individual smartclients are created for each application on each platform. These are more feature rich and re-active than the web sites.

I think there is more noise in the desktop segment as MS has such a great marketshare so if it were to go the same way as mobile, very few people would worry about making clients for Linux or Mac.

The Linux and Mac communities are small, yet they make a lot of noise when things don't go their way.

Todd Anglin said...

@Anons1- I think you still miss the point on HTML5/JS. Even if the Windows 8 model provides hooks to help make HTML/JS apps more native (and it likely will), the majority of your app would still be highly universal and reusable.

That said, if you love XAML, you'll still be served by Win8. XAML is not going anywhere, it's just evolving. It can never be the "run everywhere" platform envisioned with Silverlight (the iPhone and resulting smart phone explosion guaranteed that), so that's just a reality we have to accept.

As for Telerik, you can be sure we'll do both: support Silverlight beyond BUILD, and most definitely make Kendo UI easy to use with any server-side technology.

@Anon2- Actually, mobile apps look more like early PC apps. We're already seeing the trend progress where mobile apps moving towards HTML5/JS. Businesses know that it is unsustainable to build the same software 5 times, so we're seeing consolidation happen around the one technology that runs everywhere.

Maybe the web will be replaced some day, but it won't be anytime soon, so we should try to make the best of what we've got. And what we've got isn't so bad...