Tad Anderson

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The Political Side of Silverlight’s Death

It's death is not emotional or technical it is political

Let us say MS supports Silverlight for the next 10 years. That is great. But that means nothing to the customers I work with. Microsoft's poor communication over the past months built the coffin and BUILD put the nails in it when it was not even listed as a product. I lost a contract about 9 months or a year ago because of Bob M.'s comments, rebooted two Silverlight and one WPF project because of BUILD.

I just restarted planning a major initiative that was to include a WPF interface, a Silverlight interface, an MVC interface, and an ASP.NET interface. It was luckily only a few weeks underway. Guess what NO ONE, including me, is willing to continue with Silverlight and WPF. They may not be dead @ MS as far as support goes, but MS killed them for us this week with their lack of support for them.

Silverlight and WPF are no longer on my available technologies list for use until I see explicit Microsoft support for XAML beyond the METRO junk, and not just the Silverlight evangelist's requests we accept implicit Microsoft support . This is not a technical or emotional decision, it is a political one. I respect Jeremy Likness, John Papa, Pete Brown, Laurent Bugnion, but I can’t make recommendations based on their passion for a technology Microsoft is not supporting.

Like I said above, not using it is not an emotional or technical decision. It is political. I could handle the politics when I had Microsoft’s support, but that is gone now. The emotions come into play with how ticked off I am Microsoft handled it this way.

I have pushed Silverlight very hard. I have been selling it over the past year without any support from Microsoft. The end result of Microsoft’s lack of communication and now with the clear message BUILD sent, by MS having no good communication for SL, has killed the battle for me. I lost, and I can’t say that I care. I am tired of the unclear communication creating so much havoc and making my life so difficult. I wasted a heck of a lot of time fighting a battle that MS clearly didn’t want me fighting in the first place.

I am sure I will personally be using XAML for windows. Actually I already am. I download the preview as soon as it was available. I am not happy with it. I think it is the result of lack of leadership and a clearly lost battle in the mobile market. I will not be fighting for XAML anymore in the environments I go into, unless they already use it. For the past few years nowhere I went used it until I arrived and sold them on it. One of my friends who has not had time to keep up with XAML, said that he is now glad he didn’t. I have had to fight for it everywhere I went. I got it started in a lot of places, but I can’t say that that was wise of me.

We just officially nixed another Silverlight Project that was using the MVVM Light toolkit. That is two SL and one WPF app this week. We are starting over with MVC. The only thing left alive is our Silverlight SharePoint web parts. I will keep them alive since I mainly support them.

I believe Silverlight within a year will be known as the “S” word, and we won’t be using it anywhere except in conversations about how painful Microsoft made that initiative.

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.