Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Silverlight Is Dead…


… a title which I hope brings massive attention to this blog and to this rant against those that are rabid in their attacks on Microsoft and the Silverlight platform.

First and foremost: Silverlight 5 has yet to be released. How can the platform be “dead” if we’re on the verge of a new version?

Secondly: Spend some time listening to MVPs and Microsoft people. Even though there is this awkward gag order until //Build/ it seems quite obvious that the platform will continue to be a viable option for developers.

Third: HTML5 is no panacea. Spend a few days looking into the different specifications and the varied support by browsers and platforms. It will become obvious that the W3C is being true to their word when they say it won’t be “finished” for a while.

Fourth: Grow Up. Yes you’ve made this enormous investment in Silverlight or WPF. I have too; the last 3 years of my life have been in the trenches and my employer took a calculated risk to do a significant amount of work in Silverlight. Does that mean that every rumor should shake you to the very foundation and cause emotional outbursts at being abandoned? Stay the course. When you have real information from Microsoft directly then you can have your break down if it’s not what you expected. I don’t consider my time wasted no matter what the case. I can take my knowledge of MVVM elsewhere. I know a lot more than I used to about asynchronous programming.

Fifth: Let’s just say it’s true. Does it still warrant all that drama? You’ll be fine. People are dying in wars, unrest, and natural disasters all over the place but guess what? If you’re a Silverlight Dev and They all of a sudden remove the Silverlight Project Template from your Visual Studio and run a secret binary on your local machine to destroy the plugin removing all evidence of its existence globally you’ll still be alive. You’ll still dust off your trousers and either port your work or begin new and fanciful things in a platform that you find available.

Sixth: Try to make a distinction between people who are vocal versus people who are actually building software. I’m aware of a project right now where I work that makes heavy use of COM. Yeah that “not dead but done” COM. People who build things usually have their heads down creating value. I know there are a lot of talking heads online, especially talkers unsympathetic to the “evil” b0rg in Redmond, but there’s a lot of noise for very little signal. It’s cool that people get passionate (I’m being passionate myself now too) but sometimes it’s a good thing to take a step back and survey the landscape of what is real and what is bluster.

I’ve already admitted I could be wrong. But as significant a decision Microsoft has potential to make, my approach is to take it in stride, try to learn as much as I can and be flexible since in the tech world, no matter who you are, change is inevitable. For some of us change, with all the concomitant turbulence, is fun.


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