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Silverlight Developers Rally Against Windows 8 580

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 iONiUM ( 530420 ) * on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:31AM (#36384120) Journal

    I know Silverlight is a running joke on /., and everyone here hates it, 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. Furthermore, clients would install the plug-in after purchasing, so it's not like proliferation of the plug-in mattered. 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."

    As I said, since we're a .NET shop, Silverlight was a really great alternative to Flash. Furthermore, if you haven't worked with Silverlight or WPF, you're really missing out on an amazing development experience.

    Now, I completely agree with the mentality that plug-ins are stupid. We only did it this way because we sell a product; we don't put our stuff online to try and shove the plug-in down everyone's throat. 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.

    And now this, the latest in a long steady stream of screw-overs. They have seriously broken their promise to the developer community. While I'm happy they embraced HTML5 so strongly, they should just admit that they fucked up with Silverlight and hung the devoted developer community that exists out to dry. This was a low move from a company that previously has a great track record with developers, and I'm very unhappy with how they handled this.

    And yes, I fully expected to be modded down for just using Silverlight to make anything.

  • Windows Phone 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by donutface ( 847957 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:42AM (#36384196)
    My bet is that Silverlight isnt going anywhere anytime soon - Microsoft are still attempting to get a successful smartphone out the door. As long as they're focused on WP7, they'll continue to make investments in Silverlight to try and win developers for both platforms.
  • by Necroman ( 61604 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:46AM (#36384236)

    I would upvote you but I have a story to share.

    A few years back I worked for a hardware company that was looking to partner with MS for their storage software stack. We were doing some pretty crazy things to integrate their OS into our hardware and were working off promises of specific features and deadlines.

    After being 8 months+ into the project, MS starts missing software drops and stops communicating release status with us. We eventually discover they didn't like their product as was and was going back to the drawing board, which basically screwed our release.

    I don't expect a lot out of MS when it comes top products that arent their main line revenue makers.

  • by 24-bit Voxel ( 672674 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:01AM (#36384320) Journal

    I only use silverlight for netflix, but netflix is great. Flash on the other hand crashes and causes my 64bit computer to go crazy from time to time.

    For me, there is no comparison in terms of which is better. But I'm just the end user.

  • by Rophuine ( 946411 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:07AM (#36384342) Homepage

    We've found entirely the reverse re: enterprise users, albeit with a different plugin. Enterprise users are the ones who force OUR hands. They generally tell us what browser versions and plugins are available in their SOE, and we have to support that or lose the sale. Our clients are exclusively larger enterprises, and our success rate at saying "you just need to install [x] on the machines you're going to use this from" has been zero so far. As a rule of thumb, if it doesn't run on IE7 with Flash installed and nothing else, you're gonna miss some enterprise clients. We've just spent 18 months fighting to get our last client to accept us dropping IE6 support: even though they didn't have any deployed IE6 machines left, they wanted it in the contracts anyway.

    Agree completely with you about end users. Most people don't see "you can just install this plugin, restart your browser, and this will work". They see "this doesn't work".

  • The issue is that its obvious where Microsoft is heading, away from Silverlight and .Net. It gives the same effect as when Elop went out in public proclaiming loud and clear that Nokias Symbian was dead, people stop developing for it and customers stops buying it. As a Silverlight developer you know your days are numbered, you just dont know what that number is.

  • by Tapewolf ( 1639955 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:10AM (#36384664)

    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.

    I've been in this exact position myself as a Windows Mobile developer. Learning the 8-year, 200'000 line C++ product that I maintain would have to be completely rewritten in C# and/or Silverlight if it was going to run on WP7 was a fun, fun experience and I would not be terribly surprised if Windows Phone 8 ditched that platform for Javascript, just like last time.

  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:47AM (#36385814)

    VB developers had an extremely long and successful run of it and even now you can still developm in

    Not a very great way of putting it. What it meant was that countless billions of lines of existing code were useless overnight in Microsoft's new development environment. That was the first time something like that had happened and the warning signs should have been there for everyone involved as the same thing happened with .Net over the years - Winforms, WPF, XAML, Silverlight........ Microsoft could never decide what it was doing and seemed to expect everyone to rewrite their code every couple of years. Some people just haven't learned.

    And given that is basically a CLR compatible dialect it means you can work, reuse & integrate with every other .NET language and technology.

    Great. Completely useless to the existing code already written in VB, but nevermind. It also became clear to everyone that VB.Net was totally useless. C# is the primary language to develop with in .Net and if you can do the same thing in all .Net languages and they only differ via syntax then why not just use C#? Witness how ActivePerl and Python sank like bricks.

    That isn't to say developing in VB / was ever a rational or sane thing to do but I don't understand why anyone should complain about Microsoft's support over the years.

    VB was completely sane to develop with, once it got somewhere near good enough around version 5/6. I know it's not fashionable amongst many, but a massive number of business applications were written with it and you didn't have to deal with a lot of time consuming stuff like memory management as you did with C++ or full blown object oriented concepts that you just didn't need most of the time. It was a very sensible thing to develop with for many applications. What Microsoft should have done was implemented and improved classic VB but implemented it on top of .Net so all you needed was a recompile as with previous versions.

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