With Windows 8, is Silverlight just fading away?

There is an interesting spectrum when it comes to technology. On one end you have the purposely cautious, slow upgrading, IT types.

They are the ones that are still to this day using Windows XP or are just now upgrading to Windows 7. They need to be cautious so they can work as efficiently as possible with the least amount of bugs as possible.

To do that, the software that they are using has to have been tested by many users that came before them. The only good way to do that is to use software that is currently very popular and just stay with it for a long time. This method can present its own problems when it becomes so outdated that it looses support.

This is what is happening to Windows XP right now. In a few years it will loose support from Microsoft and all IT departments will be forced to upgrade.

On the other end of this technology spectrum is the fast paced developer types that want the newest thing as soon as it comes out. They are the ones waiting 7 hours to buy the iPhone 4S just because of Siri. They are the ones that are currently test-driving Winodws 8 on their own machines.

Even though getting the newest thing as soon as it comes out can be risky, (especially when installing system wide software like an operating system) it is necessary.

Without these early adopters, there wouldn’t be tech bogs for consumers that have already made information about a product before or as soon as it is released. Windows8Update wouldn’t even exist.

The reason I’m talking about the two ends of this spectrum is because Windows 8 kind of reflects both of these sides. Microsoft relies on IT departments to use Windows in the workforce and distribute it worldwide, but they also rely on developers to build new applications.

The developers want to use all the new features presented in the new operating system, so Microsoft must give them prerelease versions of the operating system so the developers can play around and then start writing code.

Silverlight, one of Microsoft’s web-application development tools, displays this problem. It will still work in the desktop version of Windows 8 and is the one of the best bridges to the Windows 8 Metro-style application development stack.

Windows developers should still be trying out its latest release (5.0) and be building and testing out some applications using Silverlight. But some developers are just avoiding Silverlight. It may be because they want to get a head start on the future as always, or they may just be afraid the Silverlight 5.0 truly is the last release of Silverlight.

It’s not certain that Silverlight 5.0 will be the last version, but the signs point to just that. Scott Guthrie, one of the major founders of Silverlight, left the Developer Team in Microsoft to work for the Windows Azure team and took many important people with him. Other people just left Microsoft altogether.

Another big factor in this theory is that, as it was pointed out in a paper titled “Assessing the Windows 8 Development Platform,” Silverlight code can’t be transported to Windows 8, neither can any of the user interfaces. Instead more developers should use the .NET development model for developing Metro apps. Metro will always support Silverlights XAML, but using that won’t be that intuitive.

Is this really the end for Silverlight? Tell me what you think below.

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