Coffeehouse Thread

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Silverlight / HTML5 (and WPF)

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  • User profile image
    Ian2

    "Right now there's a faction war inside Microsoft over HTML5 vs Silverlight. oh and WPF is dead.. I mean..it kind of was..but now.. funeral."

     

    http://twitter.com/MossyBlog/status/23980976666

     

    Is this guy is for real? (Former Product Manager (Silverlight/WPF) Microsoft Corp, UX Specialist)

     

    I guess that balancing healthy internal competition between teams vs benefits of cross fertilisation vs dealing with the * is never going to be an easy job.

     

    from the outside it looks simple-though - they all have to be developed further by MS. 

     

    But when we look back in x years we will see that WPF kind of fell by the wayside, Silverlight got marginalised and HTML5 won through as the mainstream web development platform.

     

    It kind of narls me to say the above as I believe that Silverlight has loads more potential, especially in the short term.

     

    In any event the best way forward, at least for now, is to commit to all 3 and continue the competition/cross fertilisation/* management process as best we can.

     

    Of course I have never run a conglomerate myself.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    There is so much more you can do with Silverlight/Flash than you can with HTML 5. I'm not even sure why they're mentioned together.

     

    WPF being dead...I can kind of believe it. It's been around for almost 4 years now and it still hasn't really taken off. I like it, and it makes drastically changing the look of standard controls extremely easy, but for most developers that's not enough of a reason to move away from WinForms.

  • User profile image
    SteveRichter

    the problem I have with WPF, silverlight and likely WP7 is that I can't program the stuff without a total focus of my time.  As long as Anders does not allow them in as first class citizens of C# ( guessing ), dependency properties are not intutitive to use.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Considering they just finished rewriting a huge portion of Visual Studio in WPF, killing it now would be phenomenally stupid.

  • User profile image
    rhm

    spivonious said:

    There is so much more you can do with Silverlight/Flash than you can with HTML 5. I'm not even sure why they're mentioned together.

     

    WPF being dead...I can kind of believe it. It's been around for almost 4 years now and it still hasn't really taken off. I like it, and it makes drastically changing the look of standard controls extremely easy, but for most developers that's not enough of a reason to move away from WinForms.

    If Silverlight doesn't get it's act together, that won't be the case for much longer. I've criticized Silverlight for a lack of ambition before, for example HTML 4 is far better for laying out text than anything in Silverlight or WPF. But in HTML5 there is not only the Canvas element that will let developers do most of the 2d graphical operations they couldn't do in traditional HTML, but it will (most likely) have WebGL which gives web developers a proper immediate-mode 3d API for the first time. Silverlight could have given that to developers years ago, but right now even Flash 10 has a more powerful 3d facility than SL.

     

    As for the complaint from twitter, Microsoft is a big corporation with multiple divisions. HTML5 is getting a lot of attention with the IE9 team. It's clear that the Windows division hates WPF (and probably .NET in general) and has no intention to ever use it, hence the development of Direct2d, DirectWrite and that animation thing that nobody is ever going to use because there's no authoring story for it. Meanwhile  Silverlight, WPF and .NET in general come from Developer Tools Division (correct me if I'm wrong) where they still have plenty of support. Basing the Visual Studio 2010 shell and editor on WPF is their attempt to get people to take it seriously, but it's not had much impact so far as I can tell.

  • User profile image
    davewill

    I read similar articles yesterday as well.  Where in the world is the disconnect?  WPF and Silverlight have just now been out long enough that they are worth investigating as "real" technology going forward.  Nobody can take a 1 or 2 year technology and argue to the higher ups that it should replace the existing code base.  It takes seasoning time to get to that point.  If Microsoft is on a 4 or 5 year decision cycle then something is broken.

     

    Has Microsoft forgotten they are in the business of building the developer foundation and NOT in the business of upchucking a new consumer product (iPhone) every 6 months?

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    I prefer HTML 5 and javascript because it does not require a plugin and is availible for all.

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    rhm said:
    spivonious said:
    *snip*

    If Silverlight doesn't get it's act together, that won't be the case for much longer. I've criticized Silverlight for a lack of ambition before, for example HTML 4 is far better for laying out text than anything in Silverlight or WPF. But in HTML5 there is not only the Canvas element that will let developers do most of the 2d graphical operations they couldn't do in traditional HTML, but it will (most likely) have WebGL which gives web developers a proper immediate-mode 3d API for the first time. Silverlight could have given that to developers years ago, but right now even Flash 10 has a more powerful 3d facility than SL.

     

    As for the complaint from twitter, Microsoft is a big corporation with multiple divisions. HTML5 is getting a lot of attention with the IE9 team. It's clear that the Windows division hates WPF (and probably .NET in general) and has no intention to ever use it, hence the development of Direct2d, DirectWrite and that animation thing that nobody is ever going to use because there's no authoring story for it. Meanwhile  Silverlight, WPF and .NET in general come from Developer Tools Division (correct me if I'm wrong) where they still have plenty of support. Basing the Visual Studio 2010 shell and editor on WPF is their attempt to get people to take it seriously, but it's not had much impact so far as I can tell.

    "HTML 4 is far better for laying out text than anything in Silverlight or WPF"

     

    How so?

     

    One bad e.g., in HTML, if you have a 100x100 div, with a span inside it with a loooong Url as text, the Url/text doesn't break to fit inside the div, it just stays on one long line.

  • User profile image
    rhm

    Maddus Mattus said:

    I prefer HTML 5 and javascript because it does not require a plugin and is availible for all.

    That's really a myth though isn't it? It's weird that when you call something a standard, people then automatically credit it with being built into browsers and not needing a plugin, when in reality Flash reaches far more desktops than HTML5 does or will even in 2 or 3 years. Even Silverlight, well behind Flash, almost certainly has more installations than browsers that have HTML5 features.

     

    Certainly developing content that requires a plugin isn't inherently attractive, but when I see things like Apple's streaming event last week and Google's Wave that require a large percentage of their potential audience to install a whole new browser, that's the very definition of a "boil the ocean" strategy.

     

  • User profile image
    rhm

    Harlequin said:
    rhm said:
    *snip*

    "HTML 4 is far better for laying out text than anything in Silverlight or WPF"

     

    How so?

     

    One bad e.g., in HTML, if you have a 100x100 div, with a span inside it with a loooong Url as text, the Url/text doesn't break to fit inside the div, it just stays on one long line.

    Actually, I've overstated that complaint in the case of WPF because you do have the FlowDocument there - not as powerful as HTML, but useable for most scenarios.

     

    Silverlight however is as basic as VB3 for text layout - text is just formed in rectangles. Want to wrap it around an image, or any other content? Forget it. The RichTextBox added in SL4 allows for some styling, but you still end up with just a RichTextBox, like old-school VB. And the styling system of XAML, while good for laying out controls, is both cumbersome to use and not as powerful as CSS when it comes to laying out content.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    I seems to me that people are prematurely calling WPF dead because they have seen Silverlight now running as a desktop client (OOBE) and they immediately think that MS will therefore kill WPF.

     

    I don't think this is the case -- WPF is a superset of Silverlight and not everyone wants to write apps that are runnable through a web browser.

     

    Herbie

     

  • User profile image
    Ian2

    Dr Herbie said:

    I seems to me that people are prematurely calling WPF dead because they have seen Silverlight now running as a desktop client (OOBE) and they immediately think that MS will therefore kill WPF.

     

    I don't think this is the case -- WPF is a superset of Silverlight and not everyone wants to write apps that are runnable through a web browser.

     

    Herbie

     

    I guess the question is which technologies will end up being the main stream web development technology (as opposed to which technologies are going to die)?

     

    MS is already positioning WPF in its own niche (well able to step up to the challenge of being used in the development of world beating desktop based applications such as VS).

     

    I personally hope that none of these technologies will be going away any time soon.

  • User profile image
    Lee_Dale

    I don't see WPF as being dead, even though the Web had taken precedence lately there still a big market for desktop applications obviously. I haven't done a desktop application project since WPF was released the last desktop application I built was WinForms but if I had one come up I would look no further than WPF.

     

    I fear more for Silverlight to be honest as I would always look to use standard HTML + JS before even considering a Silverlight app and I think RIAs have their place but it all feels a little Active X to me, I dunno if Silverlight will still have much love in 5 years time, especially when HTML5 becomes the standard.  I mean look at when SL got the most attention, wasn't it the whole streaming media thing? 

     

    I haven't come across many SL business applications and I certainly haven't had any clients request a project that would warrant it but that's just in my own small world of experience.

     

    Maybe I'm wrong but the whole RIA thing to me just doesn't feel right, I've refrained from putting too much effort into WPF and Silverlight yet bar reading a few books. 

     

    I've managed to be able to judge quite well where to spend my effort on technologies in the past so I'm just following my gut feeling at the moment. But this is IT so who knows!

  • User profile image
    mawcc

    I really don't understand what "WPF is dead" should mean. Silverlight and WPF are basically the same technology (XAML + Code),  they just happen to run in different environments.  So what the guy probably wanted to say is ".NET desktop apps are dead", but that is clearly not the case.

     

    Regarding Silverlight and HTML5 I happen to agree with http://team.silverlight.net/announcement/the-future-of-silverlight/

    Silverlight has it's specific uses, and there it is currently a much better choice than HTML5.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    mawcc said:

    I really don't understand what "WPF is dead" should mean. Silverlight and WPF are basically the same technology (XAML + Code),  they just happen to run in different environments.  So what the guy probably wanted to say is ".NET desktop apps are dead", but that is clearly not the case.

     

    Regarding Silverlight and HTML5 I happen to agree with http://team.silverlight.net/announcement/the-future-of-silverlight/

    Silverlight has it's specific uses, and there it is currently a much better choice than HTML5.

    Use the right tool for the job at hand...

     

    That simple advice is timeless and generally always correct.

     

    This person does not work for Microsoft and therefore his musings are his own and are not representative of what Microsoft is doing/thinking/planning/etc.....

     

    There is nothing wrong the idea of Silverlight AND HTML5. 

     

    WPF only runs on Windows and provides more horsepower than Silverlight (like support for true 3D, access to the underlying system, etc...).

     

    Speculation may be fun, but it's generally a waste of time.

     

    Use the right tool for the job at hand...
    C

  • User profile image
    LarryRay

    The very fact that SL is stuck in 32-bit while WPF on 64 guarantees the latter stays around as long as it takes for the former to catch up.

     

    That's b4 we even disucss the feature gaps b/t SL and WPF when building real world complex APPs rather than some mickey mouse websites pretending to be web apps.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Microsoft doesn't seem to always formally announce the "death" of a product, even if they lay off the entire team that produces it. Maybe we need a video with the "WPF team" to confirm they actually still exist. Smiley

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    spivonious said:

    There is so much more you can do with Silverlight/Flash than you can with HTML 5. I'm not even sure why they're mentioned together.

     

    WPF being dead...I can kind of believe it. It's been around for almost 4 years now and it still hasn't really taken off. I like it, and it makes drastically changing the look of standard controls extremely easy, but for most developers that's not enough of a reason to move away from WinForms.

    I'm probably not your typical "Microsoft-ecosystem developer" but I think the reasons I don't use WPF are the same reasons few other developers use it too:

     

    First and foremost: the WPF designer in VS sucks. You have to use Expression Blend, but that's a separate product with its own learning curve. WPF is hardly as simple as WinForms in getting something up-and-running.

     

    I'm also put off by the lack of WPF applications that aren't ugly. WinForms makes it easy to make something that looks presentable. Pretty much all the WPF apps I've seen in the wild (with the exception of Expression and VS2010) are horrible abominations. Developers are not designers.

     

    Other things, like the extra initialization delay put me off.

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