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Archive for June, 2011

The first demo of Windows 8 produced an indredible reaction of Silverlight developers having the sensation that Silverlight being dropped while promoting HTML5/CSS3 and Javascript as a new “first class” framework for the new OS.

I think that Silverlight and WPF are superior for many reasons compared to HTML5 and JS, as they are TODAY.

The reasons are:

  • XAML is BY FAR more elegant way to define UIs
  • Silverlight can completely re-template UIs easily
  • Building complex LOB applications. KnockOut JS is great, but not enough.
  • Silverlight is FAR more performant compared to ANY JS engine
  • Debugging HTML/JS app is a nightmare
  • JS is a dynamic language. Dynamic languages are powerful… but it’s extremely easy to lose control on your code.

Basically my thought are that HTML5/CSS3/JS is GREAT to build dynamic web sites, BUT when comes to write real/very complex LOB applications, then there are great limitations, at least TODAY. (please look at this great @shanselman blog regarding this stuff: Should I use HTML5 or Silverlight? One man’s opinion).

Talking about HTML5/CSS3, the standard is not yet defined, and many browsers implement it in different ways creating problems…

Before switching to any HTML and JS framework, I guess we really need to wait for adequate tooling – such as Blend for example – and for sure a REAL standard.

So… what’s really happening here? Should I need to learn HTML5/CSS3 tomorrow? I think the answer is NO. And I hope too because really I hate it at least at its current status.

The “future” as I hope it

Actually I think that Windows 8 will support ALL the platforms, including Silverlight, and Silverlight will continue to be supported in the future, however I think for a number of reasons that possibly Microsoft will introduce a sort of “deployment target” to HTML5/CSS3/JS for any application and continue to provide a .NET language such as C# and .NET along with XAML.

Let’s see what’s the current scenario:

  • WP7 runs Silverlight
  • Visual Studio, Blend, and other tools are currently based on XAML/Silverlight
  • Silverlight is a subset of WPF with some limitations

There are a lot of tentatives of “PORTING” features like data binding and .NET from Silverlight/XAML to other “platforms”:

  • Script# attempts to convert C# in JS!
  • Knockout JS implements MVVM pattern on JS
  • Mono touch allows writing C# code and run on IPhone/Android for example.

Do you think that MS will re-invent ALL their tooling to suit HTML and Javascript?

Do you think that tomorrow WP7 will run both Silverlight and HTML5 apps built in completely different ways?

Is Microsoft probably working on a sort of “conversion tool” or runtime that will allow current tools, XAML, .NET to be converted in HTML/JS/CSS3? A new “deployment target”, … something like that.

OK, this sounds very difficult or full of limitations, … however I am quite sure that it isn’t impossible, given the points above.

We’ll see what will happen in the next months…

Keep tuned.

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