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* Posts by wmarkjones

7 posts • joined 6 Jun 2011

Windows 8: Microsoft’s high-stakes .NET tablet gamble

wmarkjones
Unhappy

Why not wait for an official statement ? -- I thought we had one

ShelLuser,

You said, "Why not wait for an official statement ?". Of course, Microsoft has made the official statement, in overly-brief but still very clear and emphatic terms, that HTML5/JS is the supported development platform for new Windows 8 apps. Period. This is their official story, and they're sticking to it.

If instead you're asking, "Why not wait for the BUILD conference?", I would just wonder whether you are a developer of phone and desktop apps who needs to make decisions now so they can be prepared for the launch of Mango (WP7.5) later this year, and so they can also be prepared for the launch of Windows 8 next year. If you are in that position, as many many others such as I am, then waiting for the BUILD conference proves to be a somewhat unrealistic expectation.

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wmarkjones

Think about it

Filippo,

You say, "I can't use Silverlight apps on smartphones". I'm assuming you mean that you can't display either a webpage containing a Silverlight app, nor can you run a native, out-of-browser SL app, on a smartphone. Both are true in general, with one pretty notable exception -- MANY WP7 APPS ARE OUT-OF-BROWSER SILVERLIGHT APPS. Specifically, there are two WP7 presentation (application layer) platforms -- Silverlight and XNA Framework. So if you're not developing a game using XNA, you're developing a Silverlight app. At least for now.

Realizing that a good portion of all Windows 7 Phone apps are based on Silverlight, and also realizing the tremendous investment in design, engineering, development, etc. required to deliver those thousands of applications to the Marketplace, kinda makes one wonder what's going to happen to the WP7 platform and also wonder what's going to happen to all Microsoft's and the devs' customers who have purchased and now rely on these (apparently obsolete) Silverlight apps. Hmmm ...

So it would appear that Microsoft isn't just pulling the rug out from underneath its long-time, loyal .NET/Silverlight devs. It's applying a big wedgie to its own customers too. Think about it.

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wmarkjones
Facepalm

Active Desktop??

ShelLuser,

You said, "In this case I think the only reason why people are seriously questioning all of this is because MS has done something like this before. Do we still remember the "Active desktop" on Windows 98 ?"

It's easy to see, when comparing the significance of Win98 Active Desktop against the significance of Silverlight or any comparable presentation-layer technology, that there is really no comparison. In light of the entire scope of this issue, I must disagree -- No, MS has NOT really done something like this before, certainly not on this scale. All other products they have abandoned have either died a natural death or proved within the market that they were really bad or poorly-executed ideas. They were also products which had little following, therefore the cost of discarding them was relatively low all the way around. Not so at all with Silverlight/C#/WPF/.NET.

Again, no comparison.

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wmarkjones
Joke

JavaScript is a joke

Yeah, yeah, the note title doesn't apply in all cases. It does apply in the case of JS acting as the coding technology for Windows 8 apps. In that context, it's a joke. Your example and explanations only further reinforce my point. Try out a real, modern programming language like C#. I've done tons of development in both JS and C#, and I'll say it again --- JAVASCRIPT IS A JOKE.

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wmarkjones
Alert

WP7 and "Windows Server 20xx" ??

Huh? I'm interested in understanding how you're linking WP7 to Windows 8, and I'm also wondering what you think is the relationship between WP7 development and MS server products. I've done quite my share of WP7 app development, and I don't get it. Finally, you obviously think that the developer community wants all future programming models to be based on WP7. I think you don't get it. Reply back if you want to know more.

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wmarkjones

What's new? Are you kidding?

I guess you're not any sort of developer who has succeeded in their career and business by spending time building serious products using Microsoft technology. I have been a software engineer since the late 70s, and much of that time has been spent developing software for Windows of one sort or another. Simply put, this latest move by Microsoft is unprecedented in its baffling antagonism toward both the developer community but also (and more importantly) toward its huge customer base. Although MSFT has pulled the plug on various products, they have never done something like this, which is tantamount to dropping ongoing commitment to mature, proven, and still-growing technologies that run circles around HTML5/JS. I would challenge you to respond with any examples of major application products, let alone entire software infrastructures, that have been scrapped the way it appears Microsoft is doing here with their walking away from Silverlight/WPF/.NET in their Windows strategy.

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wmarkjones
FAIL

Problems run very deep on this issue

The problems the developer community has with both Microsoft's distance from Silverlight/.NET and with its silence about the issue run deeper than you even imply in this article. The Windows and WP7 developer community is up in arms for very valid and inescapable technology reasons, which have very little to do with any superficial or groundless developer complaining (presumably because our pet platform is being yanked). On the contrary, Microsoft's proposal to replace Silverlight/.NET as the primary development platform with HTML5/Javascript, based on our collective and long experience, poses what most reasonably seem to be intractable problems:

1) It won't work. Many of us complaining have extensive web development experience, and to even propose JavaScript as a serious component of a strategic development platform for non-widget, world-class applications is simply beyond belief, to put it mildly.

2) HTML5 is in flux, both in its specification and in its multi-vendor implementations. It will remain a moving technology target for at least the next year or so. This platform instability is of course problematic to those who know and value the realities of stable, serious application platforms.

3) By contrast, Silverlight and .NET are well proven, mature, very robustly developed, and revolve around world-class development languages, such as C#. To put it briefly, stacking up HTML5/JS against Silverlight/.NET is irresponsible, unrealistic, untenable, and frankly a joke.

4) Waiting until September to travel across the country and be evangelized by the BUILD conference not only is expensive, but it is completely unnecessary in order to disclose the pertinent details required now from Microsoft to maintain the developer community's trust and loyalty. Furthermore, the timing could not be worse (at least for everyone except Apple and Google), for various reasons that go well beyond the scope of this brief note.

5) The MSFT position on this "new" development platform (which is really not new at all in our experience), draws clear and serious lines of technical demarcation between WP7, Windows 8, and the Windows desktop, making application portability difficult at best between the three platforms if we are to remain committed to a seamless user experience and to robust systems that are affordable to develop and port.

The seasoned developer community which, at least for the vast majority of us, strongly objects to Microsoft's positioning and lack of information on this does problem, does not need to hear anything at this point from Microsoft except a relaxing of their exclusive dogma and instead replacing it with a continued commitment to Silverlight and .NET. We aren't interested in propaganda. We are interested in responsible, honest communication and real support.

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