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Microsoft

Silverlight Developers Rally Against Windows 8 580

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-not-gonna-take-it dept.
aesoteric writes "A legion of Silverlight developers have threatened revolt after Microsoft made no mention of Silverlight or .Net in the vendor's brief video preview for its upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Developers expressed fears Microsoft might let their investment in skills 'die on the vine' as Redmond finally embraces open standards. Microsoft, for their part, have told developers they can't say more until September."
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Silverlight Developers Rally Against Windows 8

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  • by tokul (682258) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:37AM (#36384144)

    This was a low move from a company that previously has a great track record with developers

    You are on the wrong track. Ask VB or web developers about their track records with MS.

  • Too bad, so sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:38AM (#36384152) Homepage Journal

    So these developers are crying because they invested in a technology that's becoming obsolete? What else is new?

    I've got way more dead technologies under my belt than I have active ones. It's the price you pay for being in the computer industry -- some of the skills you pick up will never be used again. Hopefully you learn some techniques from working with those tools that will carry over to future projects, but as long as you got a functional project out the door and in the hands of the users, what difference does it make whether you get to use the tools again?

    Then again, I enjoy learning new technologies. I don't expect to be doing the same-old, same-old for years, much less decades. And guess what? I've never learned a tool without learning some skills that did apply down the road.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:39AM (#36384158)

    C'mon does everyone instantly forget how Microsoft operates each time something new comes out? They come out with something, it hangs around for a few years and poof it's gone, just like Bob. It's freakin' groundhog day, the only thing that changes is the name of the latest MS fad.

  • by icannotthinkofaname (1480543) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:39AM (#36384164) Journal

    Must be a new policy against slashvertisements or something. Why can't we just replace the phrase "A legion of Silverlight developers" with the name "Netflix"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:39AM (#36384166)

    @iONiUM
    Surely you didnt believe siverlight would be everywhere??? Thats your mistake, believing a corrupt company. You deserve what you got. Now go use a more open vendor neutral development product.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:39AM (#36384168)

    if you haven't worked with Silverlight or WPF, you're really missing out on an amazing development experience.

    As an average web user who doesn't care what development experience developers have, I can tell you YOU are losing potential users of your application by the boatload because many, many people have better things to do than install yet another plugin that'll slow down / crash the browser even more.

    they should just admit that they fucked up with Silverlight and hung the devoted developer community that exists out to dry

    A great development experience indeed...

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:42AM (#36384194)

    Do you honestly believe they're going to even wink and nod at Silverlight? It failed because everyone already knew Flash, and Flash didn't require you to know a real programming language.

    Silverlight wasn't that attractive for me as a web developer. I had a hard enough time convincing our outsourced call centers to use Firefox 3 or 4, getting them to install Flash or any other plugin was going to be a giant fucking hassle. In your case though, it sounds like you didn't have that problem.

    (I was sad too, Silverlight's Firefox plugin, unlike the Flash plugin, never pegged my CPU to shit ads at me. Netflix also used less CPU to render similar content that I could stream off of Youtube... and this is on the -mac-, so it's not even like they're biased against me.)

    What strikes me as strange is that silverlight integration wasn't something they were talking about day one with Windows 8. if everything's an HTML document supported by JavaScript and styled with CSS, then why not have silverlight integration for more complex tasks?

    Microsoft is even starting to fail at Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. Usually technologies like silverlight(or activex in the past), would be the shiv up their sleeves to extinguish the flames. Instead, they're playing catchup to the likes of Apple, Google and HP(their own partner for Windows computers!).

    Feh.

  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:46AM (#36384228) Homepage Journal

    Silverlight could have been a success if only it had been cross platform. No sane person who screwed up with ActiveX and IE6 would touch Silverlight with a ten foot pole once it was clear it was a Windows only plugin without any support on anything but a PC. Granted there was a Mac plugin but nobody took it seriously. Had they released Linux support it would atleast have appered to be platform agnostic.

    Silverlight was never cross platform. Two platforms do not make something cross platform. Unofficial support from a third party does not make the original cross platform. Thats like calling Windows applications cross platform because of Wine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:51AM (#36384268)

    Now, you may think that's insane, but what we wanted to deliver was a very rich user experience over the web that was cross platform.

    I'm sorry, what? In what world is Silverlight "cross platform"? Oh, right, it runs on all version of Windows! Adobe isn't the greatest with cross platform support for Flash, but at least they try, sometimes.

    And at the end of the day, the message from Microsoft was that Silverlight will be everywhere "in the future," so we hoped we could hit all platforms with a rich product without doing any porting.

    The tards in marketing debated for a long time whether they could sell more Visual Studio license with "This will be everywhere" or "We're going to kill this next year." "Everywhere" won the coin toss.

    Microsoft has a well earned reputation for doing stuff like this, so it's really hard to feel sorry for you.

  • by Rophuine (946411) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:51AM (#36384272) Homepage

    I know I'm just jumping on the band-wagon here, but I'm a .Net developer who's worked for a couple of shops over the last few years and has seen plenty of new web products started. I've been on at least three projects where we wrote off Silverlight as an option, citing reasons like unwillingness to use the plugin, lack of available developers, and general opinions that the platform was on a fast-track to being canned.

    Then again, most products I've worked on with a focus on having a great user experience tend to undergo pretty massive UI overhauls every 18 months to three years, and it's pretty common to use different technologies at each iteration. Being forced into changing UI platforms shouldn't come as any sort of surprise to you.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:53AM (#36384278)

    .NET apps and Silverlight apps will run very well on ARM processors, unlike code compiled to x86 or x86-64. .NET is used on Xbox 360 also, and it's PowerPC.

    And Microsoft will be thrilled to have every app they can which they can claim actually works on ARM Windows as well as x86 Windows.

    I think these guys are making incorrect assumptions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:54AM (#36384286)

    many people have better things to do than install yet another plugin that'll slow down / crash the browser even more

    Hardly anyone outside of the Slashdot anti-MS crowd cares. Most users will just install Silverlight and be done with it.

    As for slow down/crashing, well, Silverlight hasn't slowed either of my browsers (Opera and Chromium FYI) or caused a single crash. If you're having issues, then it's most likely a problem isolated to your specific PC.

  • by Marc D.M. (630235) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:55AM (#36384290) Homepage

    Silverlight came very late to the internet party. And it came here as an obvious attempt to usurp flash. However, Flash had already been upstaged, somewhat by Javascript and what people call AJAX (thanks jQuery, mochikit, scriptaculus, yui and others).

    I'm not 100% sure on this but don't you have to use .NET to work with Silverlight. Anyone who writes HTML, CSS or Javascript code will have a bad taste for how .NET's WebControls generate code. Basically, the code is generated based on discovered browsers that Microsoft acknowledges.

    To see for yourself, try to browse a .NET site with Galeon, or Epiphany? Basic things like links and buttons don't work. Debian had to put the words "like Firefox" in the User-Agent string for Iceweasel partly because of this stupid type of browser detection.

    Then there's the fact that it always costs less to host on anything but Windows. It also costs less to develop for other platforms as well (e.g. Eclipse is cheaper than Visual Studio).

    We already had javascript, actionscript, html and ways to communicate between them. Okay, so flash isn't perfect. Did you (the legion of Silverlight developers), really think that Microsoft could have done better at a cross-platform web-based interactivity player than Macromedia? Forget Adobe, they bought the DJ to get into the club.

    I mean seriously, do you remember Microsoft Java from back in the days when applets were popular?

    If you ask me, the only good things Microsoft makes (considering their wealth and influence) are keyboard, mouse and xbox.

  • by flimflammer (956759) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:34AM (#36384484)

    I don't know about Silverlight, but .NET is not going anywhere. They've built up an armada of C# developers on the Windows platform. Seeing as C# is pretty much tied to the CLR, there isn't a chance in hell they're going to just abandon it.

    Silverlight never did catch on as well as it could have, so I do feel sorry for those developers who use it, if something should happen.

  • by inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:43AM (#36384540) Homepage

    Thanks for providing some perspective. It is good to hear observations and opinions that may not align with the views most commonly expressed here.

    Still, there are a lot of things in your post that I don't really understand.

    I know Silverlight is a running joke on /., and everyone here hates it

    Is that so? I thought that Silverlight was just another technology, to be discussed and evaluated like any other. It has its merits, and I have seen several people speak favorably about it on Slashdot.

    but I work at a .NET shop and we used Silverlight to create a product. Now, you may think that's insane, but what we wanted to deliver was a very rich user experience over the web that was cross platform.

    There are several things here that irk me. I don't think it's insane that a .NET shop would use Silverlight. I mean, if you're already committed to one, it's easy to use the other, right?

    What bothers me, though, is the concept of a ".NET shop". So, there is this company that has decided that .NET is going to be their answer to every question they encounter. I know that there are many companies that make this choice, or the same choice, but for a different technology (e.g. Java). But what happened to using the best tool for the job? There is a lot of impressive technology in .NET, but is it really the best tool for every job, now and in the future? In my view, it isn't, and can't be. So I would have my developers learn several technologies, and chose the best one for each project. Any developer worth their salt should have no problem with that, IMO.

    Next, the idea that Silverlight was a good choice to deliver a very rich user experience over the web that was cross platform. It may technically be possible (I haven't looked at Silverlight hard enough to know), but the idea that this would be cross-platform is simply wrong. If anyone had seriously looked at it, they would have realized that Silverlight only really works under Windows. Yes, I know about Moonlight, but simply reading the WikiPedia article about it [wikipedia.org] will tell you that what works under Silverlight will not necessarily also work under Moonlight. I am not going to speculate as to why people at your company may have thought Silverlight was cross-platform, but I am going to say that it was the wrong tool for the goal you stated, and someone should have realized this and spoken up. You may deride Slashdot's groupthink, but at least we do get dissenting posts, and they do get modded up, too.

    As well, the decision on technology was made over 2 years ago, and back then HTML5 was but a whisper, and Flash was still the big thing TM for interactive "web applications."

    I don't think HTML5 would have been a good choice, either, so I am glad to hear you didn't go that route. However, I wonder why you didn't go with Flash, given that, in your own words, it was the big thing TM for interactive "web applications" at the time. It also has a much better track record than Silverlight as far as support for multiple platforms is concerned. So why didn't you go with Flash? Also, since you mentioned HTML5, did you consider using DHTML (AKA AJAX)?

    As I said, since we're a .NET shop, Silverlight was a really great alternative to Flash.

    Well, opinions seem to differ about that. I think that if you had already decided on .NET, then Silverlight could have been a better choice than Flash (after all, you can write your code for Silverlight in a .NET language). However, if you had put the requirements first, instead of the technology choice, and your requirements included "cross-platform", then I question whether Silverlight would have been the better, or even a good choice.

    Furthermore, if you

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:59AM (#36384612) Journal

    Uhhh...dude? Installing SL is "clicky clicky, next next next". hell you don't even need to know how to fricking read as long as you know which button is next, hell my grandma could install SL.

    That said if you need further proof that Ballmer needs a good firing just look at the killing of VB and the flailing between .NET/ SL and HTML V5. MSFT went from "developers developers developers" to just blindly flinging poo at the wall and praying something sticks. VB was a Godsend for the SMBs and SOHOs, as it gave them an easy to use tool for VERY simple jobs like making a GUI frontend to a DB, and for that it was bloody brilliant. What would take a single line in VB know takes three in .NET and know it looks like they'll bone .NET and SL in favor of whatever is the flavor of the day.

    Add onto this the serious case of the "me too!" that MSFT has had since Ballmer took over (I mean seriously have you SEEN Windows 8? They took the wonderful GUI of Win 7 and replaced it with a fricking WinPhone! WTF? Do they think they are Apple?) and you see a once mighty company that was great for business, developers, and consumers, and have become this big drunken flailing elephant desperately trying to be "hip". Kinda sad really. You can see why Apple and Google are kicking their asses now, as they at least stick to their core strengths and build upon them (consumer goods and the web respectively) whereas MSFT is burning their long term gains for short term attempts at being fresh again. Stupid, lame, pointless, a waste.

    I have a feeling just like I did with Vista when Win 8 comes out I'll be booked solid for a good year and a half doing nothing but wiping Win 8 to "upgrade" the machines to Win 7. Sigh. I had hopes that once, JUST once, that MSFT would actually put out two good OSes in a row. I guess that is just a pipe dream as long as Steve "We can be as cool as Apple!" Ballmer is still in the big chair.

  • Re:Too bad, so sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JMZero (449047) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:21AM (#36384722) Homepage

    Office Office is going to remain .NET

    Office is not written in .NET. Unless they've made a very big change, it's written in C++, probably with a lot of MFC. ...you could still release cross platform .NET applications.

    Lol, cross platform .NET applications. Also, do you remember .NET controls hosted directly in IE? Neither does MS, despite pushing them for a while. And despite the fact that they had a reasonable security model for trusted interactions (unlike Silverlight).

    If anyone thinks Silverlight isn't going to be a part of IE10 in some capacity they've lost their minds

    Silverlight will probably be supported for a while, but it will slowly get worse. Just like ActiveX. Just like IE-hosted .NET controls. Just like some of the "browser re-use" components (things like custom print templates, and DHTML editing). You're probably too young, but at one point, ActiveX was the egg nog that was in all MS goat milk. Then it wasn't cool. Then it started having problems. Now it's an afterthought that doesn't work and with an incomprehensible magic security model.

    Silverlight will be the same. We're an MS shop, but we didn't drink any of the Silverlight Kool-aid, because it was clearly a tech that wouldn't last. It just didn't bring much to the table. Unless it finds a much better home in mobile or something, it will slowly wither away. .NET itself should remain for a good while, though. It's a decent framework.

  • by shmlco (594907) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:42AM (#36384824) Homepage

    Silverlight was Microsoft's answer to Flash, back when it looked like Adobe would take home the rich media prize. Then Apple boot stomped Adobe in the guts, declared support for HTML5, and the Flash gravy train jumped the rails.

    With even Adobe admitting that future products need to support HTML5, Silverlight is now an answer to a question that no one is asking. In a few years, Microsoft will quietly toss it into the basement, along with all of the other misfit toys they no longer want or need.

    Oh, well. Maybe it can play with Bob and Clippy....

  • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:49AM (#36384844)

    Yeah, if it doesn't run on BeOS, QNX, and the PS3 then it's not a worthwhile platform. I mean, who cares if the two platforms it does run on are over 98% of the desktop marketplace?

    Oh, right, we're just bitter that Silverlight doesn't run on Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:56AM (#36384874)

    Only the absolute dumbest individual on Slashdot would believe that Microsoft was truly cutting out Silverlight and not including it in Windows 8. They would be trampling all over their success, specifically with Netflix and driving people away from their own platform.

    Considering that there is a rumor that Xbox will support Silverlight sooner rather than later, I am always annoyed to see these stories. Then again, I am surfing on Slashdot. If it's bad news for Microsoft, then it's front page news for Slashdot.

    I miss the days when people at least appeared to be smart because they were commenting on Slashdot. Now Slashdot has turned into a hotbed of wasted trolls that know only enough about technology to be dangerous.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @04:48AM (#36385154) Journal

    But what happened to using the best tool for the job? There is a lot of impressive technology in .NET, but is it really the best tool for every job, now and in the future? In my view, it isn't, and can't be.

    There are many cases where using the "right tool" offers dramatic performance improvements over the wrong tool. For example, writing large scale structured data storage in C is probably a bad idea, but SQL does the job just wonderfully.

    But most cases aren't so clear cut.

    At my company, we're a Unix/LAMP shop focusing on PHP and Postgres. Gguess what our server administration scripts run? There's a small amount of BASH, but by and large, it's all.... PHP!

    Not that PHP is the ideal language for system administration and coordinating backups or system updates, but it's "good enough" and we're already familiar with it. By having it all written in PHP we get "plenty good enough" performance and the knowledge that any of our developers can pick up the script and immediately start reading it without having to think about the nuances of a different language.

    And really, even if there's a 10:1 system performance difference, does it make any difference if the background task completes in 5 seconds instead of 0.5 when it reduces overhead elsewhere?

    The "best" tool for the job is often the most conveniently available tool for the job...

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:57AM (#36385874) Journal

    most users just follow the instructions

    You've never done technical support, have you?

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @07:00AM (#36385888) Homepage
    Pssst, little word over here. You can't refute an accusation that Microsoft screws over developers by saying that developers who got screwed over by Microsoft were fools.
  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @09:14AM (#36386926) Homepage

    And a pretty good example of why it has failed... Had Netflix chosen Adobe Flash, they wouldn't be having so much trouble supporting platforms other than Windows.

    As much as I dislike Flash (it's a poorly written CPU hog), Silverlight is even worse. Yes it performs better - but only on the single officially supported platform.

    To Silverlight developers - boo-hoo, cry me a river. You brought this upon yourselves by immediately transitioning your content to new versions of Silverlight as soon as Microsoft released them without waiting for other platform's implementations (like Monolight) to catch up with the new features. End result is your content only worked in Windows, so users hated Silverlight-based sites and went out of the way to avoid them. (Potentially to your competition.) If it is indeed true that MS is moving away from Silverlight, I am not surprised. Producing Windows-only solutions simply does not work in the current market.

    An additional note: To my knowledge, Silverlight is not supported on any mobile platform (except maybe WP7, which is such a smalltime player as to be irrelevant). It is definitely not supported by iOS or Android, the two largest holders of mobile device market share. It is your fault for ignoring the explosion of mobile devices and sticking with a technology not supported by iOS or Android.

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