Does Microsoft’s Silverlight have a future for itself? Just what does Microsoft’s latest endeavor into the world of programming mean to the programmers of our time. Even more important than that is what Silverlight will mean to the programmers of tomorrow’s time.
To do that, you need one of two things. The first could come as input from Microsoft which is to come in the form of a development schedule for Silverlight. The second thing would be analyzing the plus and minus points of the Silverlight platform to determine its future in development.
Since Microsoft so far failed to provide a serious plan for Silverlight we might as well weigh in the odds and evens. Before we do so, we should mention that Microsoft’s president of the server and tools business, Mr. Bob Muglia is a firm supporter of Silverlight. Since marketing doesn’t really make much sense to developers and programmers that doesn’t count.
So let’s move away from the Silverlight blog statements and head for the plus points Microsoft Silverlight has to offer. The first of the bonuses Silverlight offers is the fact that it has a unique appeal for the developers that received classic training. The biggest appeal comes from the possibility of developing in what can be described asa carbon copy of the Windows development model. This means that Microsoft Silverlight comes with the in-built usability of Visual Studio and other customary tools.
Another serious plus point for Microsoft Silverlight is the great way it works with Netflix. It’s the Silverlight ability that makes for high-quality streaming multimedia which is secured by digital rights management support and thus allowing for instant access to its online movie rental library.
And so we come to the best point of the Silverlight, namely its certainty as the preferred platform for Windows Phone 7 app development.
Sadly, we have reached the end of the plus point list for Microsoft’s Silverlight development platform.
Upon adopting the opposite point of view we find a list of things that promotes the idea of Microsoft Silverlight soon dying. The fastest killer Silverlight could have to face of is the situation where almost all of its plus points aren’t fully dependable.
Yes the digital rights management support feature that Netflix relies upon is only available with Silverlight but apart from that the bag of tricks isn’t so large.
Windows Phone 7 uses Silverlight as a development platform but the smartphone itself isn’t big enough to matter. With a future of unpredictability the Windows Phone 7 will hardly make for a great launch pad.
And then we come to terms with the big problem, Microsoft themselves is shifting most of their interest towards HTML 5. HTML 5 doesn’t and will not offer the DRM support for Netflix that Silverlight offers but when it comes to everything else the stats look bad. HTML 5 has another ace up it’s sleeve as it will work brilliantly cross platform with Apple preparing the iPhone, iPad and pretty much all of their products for it. The same doesn’t apply for Silverlight.
Another present situation applies pressure to Microsoft’s Silverlight, it was never a serious competitor for traditional HTML or even Flash.
So far we’ve managed to highlight the plus points of Microsoft Silverlight and then shoot them down in a comparison with other standards. This can only mean that the future of Microsoft Silverlight is, at best, grim.