This is the third post in a series following up on the //build conference.
I would lie if I didn’t say that Silverlight got a really special place in my heart. Since the very first introduction of Silverlight I have been able to see the idea behind Silverlight and the possibilities that Silverlight provides.
At //build a new API called Windows Runtime (WinRT) was announced. Based on this API it is possible for applications designed to run as Windows 8 Metro Style applications to communicate with the Windows Core Services in an easy manner. At the moment Windows 8 will be separated into the new Metro UI enabled a fast and fluid UI to touch based devices and into the normal desktop as we have it in Windows 7. The new Metro UI is a new and appealing way of running applications in Windows – however it is designed to tablets and touch and very much to consumers. From a business perspective it will take some time before the Metro UI will have its place – but it will come as more and more tablets and other touch based devices are being part of business.
The new Metro UI is a scaled down version of the full Windows experience – it got some limitations probably introduced to insure full fast and fluid experience. One of the limitations is the browser. As it is the case on the IPad it is a scaled down version and it does not support plugins. No plugins!? Yes, it makes it impossible to run Silverlight, Flash or Java-based applets (like NemID). At the same time it is not possible to run Silverlight applications out-of-browser or native (like on the Windows Phone) in the new Metro UI. In stead a new language based on XAML and C# was introduced to create Metro style applications.
GOSH! Is Silverlight dead then? No, Silverlight and WPF are still the preferred way to created business applications running on Windows. Both Silverlight and WPF applications can run on the classic desktop in Windows 8, but no doubt that the Metro UI is coming and it is going to be huge – I personally hope to see it released in the first half of 2012. However Microsoft haven’t released any news about a business strategy and it will probably take some years before we see Windows 8 in any of the large corporations. That is why I without a doubt say that Silverlight and WPF are still the preferred way to created business applications running on Windows.
If you feel that all of your Silverlight skills are wasted now then don’t worry. I got some REALLY GOOD NEWS! If you are a Silverlight or WPF developer you can reuse ALL of your skills. The XAML and C# based language used to create the Metro style applications are only slightly different from the language we use when creating Silverlight or WPF applications. I will write lots of posts in the future about the new language but until then: Sharpen your skills in Silverlight today and be ready for the applications of the future. I fucking can’t wait to create some amazing applications to the Metro UI :)
N.B. If you live of creating minor applications to consumers you should probably begin to take a seriously look at the new Metro UI – better today then tomorrow!