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Archive for the ‘Silverlight’ Category

Windows 8: The death of the silverlight framework? That was the question that I asked to LI users and it triggered a great deal of debate. And now we can say for sure that Silverlight is dead , my friends. Certainly it won`t happen right now, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, as the customers won`t rush to use Windows 8 soon after its release, still there remain little time before Silverlight “passes away”. I am not happy about it, but I am also no longer in denial. In case Microsoft doesn’t change course Silverlight, as well as Flash and some other plug-in technologies, will be effectively unusable when Windows 8 is released.

On September 14th it was announced that the Metro-style browser in Windows 8 does not support plug-ins. The Metro-style browser is the full screen, chromeless implementation of Internet Explorer that most people are expected to use with Windows 8.

Dean Hachamovitch : “ For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free. The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web.”

So it means no Flash, no QuickTime, no PDF readers, and no Silverlight.

Why is it so? “Metro-style browser can’t support plugins. Metro is not based on the Win32 libraries, it uses an entirely new OS-level API known as Windows Runtime or WinRT. Since the plug-ins are most likely built on Win32 components such as GDI they would have to be completely rewritten to run under Metro”.

And now let`s talk about the loses. The companies most invested in Silverlight are not loosing so much and appear to be in a rather good situation. Such companies have been adopting Silverlight, and Flex, for use in internal applications. “This sort of application generally have no HTML and simply use the browser as a delivery mechanism. As such these applications can be ported to the Metro runtime with surprisingly little effort. A new distribution mechanism will be needed, but something like the Windows app store for enterprises is undoubtedly in the works”.

The companies that will suffer most of all are those that use Flash or Silverlight to augment their websites. Since they cannot simply port their code to Metro they will need to go rewrite the components from scratch using HTML and JavaScript.

So what are your thoughts of this sad news? Is there any future now for Silverlight or Silverlight 5 will be the last major release?

Kind regards,
Anna Kozik – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

In the beginning there was SharePoint, a platform for collaboration and content management. It allows people to work together. It’s an easy task to set up a site where people can share information and manage documents from start to finish.

SharePoint 2007 was already good, but SharePoint 2010 is even better. New features such as taxonomy, document sets, content organizers, and better record management make it to an attractive platform. The user interface on the other side is not that attractive. But with a little bit of branding you can create a new look.
And here enters Silverlight. Silverlight is a powerful development technology for creating attractive and interactive user interfaces.

The first version of Silverlight was released in 2007. It was merely JavaScript based. Almost everybody was skeptical about it, and it was said that it would never have the grandeur of Flash. But as versions come and go, Silverlight has become a full-blown solid technology for designing powerful user interfaces.

A Silverlight application can be more than a pretty user interface created by designers; you can also add code to it to give it a more functional aspect. Because Silverlight classes are a subset of the .NET Framework, it makes it easy for .NET programmers to add the necessary functionality. Moreover, a designer can create the user interface with a tool like Microsoft Expression Blend and hand it over to the developer, who can open it in Microsoft Visual Studio and complete the application.

In April 2010, Silverlight 4 was released with yet another new set of features.
There is a belief that Silverlight can play a powerful role in the branding of SharePoint sites. Silverlight applications can communicate with a SharePoint site and thus render SharePoint data in an attractive way.
The first versions of Silverlight were hard to integrate with SharePoint, asking for a number of modifications in the web.config file of each SharePoint web application. It drove a lot of SharePoint developers (and even a number of well-known SharePoint gurus) mad. As of Silverlight 3, this hurdle has disappeared.
In SharePoint 2007, communication was possible only through the SharePoint web services or through custom WCF services. But SharePoint 2010 comes with a set of client object models that makes it easier for developers to have a Silverlight application communicate with SharePoint.

In SharePoint 2010, Silverlight is already integrated out of the box: if you want to create a list or a site, you are presented with a Silverlight wizard. SharePoint 2010 also comes with a Silverlight web part that lets you render a Silverlight application that you uploaded to a document library or deployed to the SharePoint hive. There is also the out-of-the-box Silverlight media player. This is a Silverlight application that you can host within the Silverlight web part and that displays your media files.

A View on the Future

In December 2010, Silverlight 5 was announced. This version of Silverlight will add some great new features and capabilities for premium media solutions across browsers, desktops, and devices. The first beta version of Silverlight 5 became available in April, 2011.

Silverlight for Windows Phone is the application development platform for Windows Phone 7. Silverlight uses the XNA framework for audio capture and playback and can even access Xbox Live. This XNA framework is provided by Microsoft for high-performance gaming, used on Xbox.

In 2010 we entered the mobile phone era. We use our mobile phones for calling people or sending short messages, but more and more we are also using the Internet from our phones. Many companies see the hole in the market and start developing mobile phone applications. The banking sector, for example, will offer its services through mobile phone.

When talking about Silverlight integration in SharePoint, most developers think primarily about web parts. But this integration can reach far beyond that. You can host Silverlight applications from within most SharePoint artifacts such as custom fields, custom list forms, list views, application pages, master pages, navigation, search, and so on.

In that light, there is definitely a future for SharePoint-based applications running on mobile phones. Don’t you think so? What other future predictions can you make for SharePoint and Silverlight? Do you think these technologies are a good choice?

Altabel Group – professional software development

I think many of you have been keeping up with the Windows 8 announcements and you are aware that Microsoft made a bit of a stir in the .NET development community with their 10 minute demo of Windows 8. They explicitly mentioned HTML5 and JavaScript as the ways to build new-look Windows 8 applications while there’s been no mention of Silverlight or .NET and their place in the OS. The developer communities of both technologies have been panicking a little as a result. Because of Microsoft’s lack of assurances, there’s a chance that both might see a diminished role in the OS. If that trend continues, there is a possibility that .NET and Silverlight could soon die, leaving a bunch of developers’ skills useless.

Many think it won`t happen, at least with .NET as it’s widely used by some high-profile companies. Silverlight… there is a little bit of concern about it.

Obviously, we can`t suppose what Microsoft is planning for Silverlight, but some people are beginning to have difficulties understanding how any company could still trust it as a viable technological choice. First the mixed messages, then the clear favoritism Microsoft is showing towards HTML5 and JavaScript (which, IMO, is justified but that’s another topic), and now the unwillingness to stand up for one of their products that is being doubted so openly, for the first time by its very users who only want assurance of Microsoft that their investments in the technology haven’t been a total waste.

What are your ideas ? What is the future of Silverlight? Do you think developers will switch from SL to the more open standard of HTML/JS?

Anna Kozik
Altabel Group

Lately standards-based multimedia features offered by HTML5 have taken the spotlight from proprietary technologies, such as Silverlight and Adobe’s Flash. Still Silverlight has a purpose in the wake of HTML5’s emergence. Moreover, so far Silverlight capabilities has exceeded those of HTML5, according to Microsoft.
To put it simply, on the Web the purpose of Silverlight has never been to replace HTML; it’s to do the things that HTML (and other technologies) couldn’t in a way that was easy for developers to tap into. According to Becker Silverlight offers advantages in such areas as high-definition video, content protection, 3-D video, and smooth streaming.

At Microsoft they believe HTML5 will become ubiquitous just like HTML 4.01 is today. Microsoft has committed to backing HTML5 in its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser and has partially leveraged it in Internet Explorer 8 as well.

But still the company is working on donating test suites to help improve consistency between implementations of HTML5 and CSS3. Here the thing is that these technologies have had issues with variations between browsers.

“HTML5 and CSS 3 are going to make this worse for a while as the specs are new and increase the surface area of features that may be implemented differently. In contrast, since we develop all implementations of Silverlight, we can ensure that it renders the same everywhere,” – they say at Microsoft.

As for the moment Microsoft has shipped four major versions of Silverlight in about half the time that HTML5 has been under design. Silverlight has become more than a browser technology, with Microsoft investing in desktop, mobile and living room capabilities for the technology.

For HTML5 to be really targetable, the spec has to stabilize, browsers have to all implement the specs in the same way and over a billion people have to install a new browser or buy a new device or machine. That’s going to take a while. And by the time HTML5 is broadly targetable, Silverlight will have evolved significantly. Meanwhile, Silverlight is here now and works in all popular browsers and operating systems.

So, what do you think of these technologies? Which is more perspective in nearest future and which are you going to stick to then?

Eager to hear your professional point of view. Thank you in advance.

Helen Boyarchuk

Recently there has been an interesting discussion about Silverlight penetration and market share. As always, people tend to connect Flash and Silverlight and use the market share as a single most important metrics – but here, I’m sharing some really cool, interesting and surprising (?) facts about Silverlight market share.

So, here are some cool facts about Silverlight penetration and market share for your enjoyment…

– Did you know if you were to combine all of Apple’s product line sold to date, they still wouldn’t reach the number of Silverlight installs we have today?

– Did you know it took Firefox 7 years to reach the total number of installs Silverlight has, and Silverlight did it in 9 months?

– Did you know it took Flash 6 years to reach the total number of installs Silverlight has, and Silverlight did it in 9 months?

– It will take bloggers 1.4 years to generate the same amount of new blog posts to match Silverlight installs today.

– If you combined MySpace + Facebook + Twitter subscribers you’d still be short on the total number of Silverlight installs that are in place today.

Silverlight penetration rate – updates.

I am adding some more information regarding Silverlight penetration rate and market share.

1. There have been 300 million installs in about 4 months.

2. Worldwide, over 1 in 4 computers (over 25%) has Silverlight installed.

3. Silverlight is not being distributed as an automatic update through Microsoft’s Update mechanisms – it is an optional update and it will never install unless you want it to be installed.

So It would be nice if you are ready to express your own opinions and give some comments on the following questions:

1. What do you think about the future of Silverlight technology? Is it possible for Silverlight to replace Flash?

2. Have you ever worked with Silverlight? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in using this technology?

Welcome with your thoughts!

Best Regards,
Natalia Kononchuk
Altabel Group

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