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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Previewing the Future of Silverlight

The next burning question, of course, is where Silverlight is going. As usual, predicting the future of any technology is a difficult exercise, as the past few years have proven. The situation on the .NET front is a bit clearer now than it was two years ago, though; so what did we learn?

  • Silverlight has strong support at Microsoft. They are pushing it very hard; they release new features at a fast pace, and managed in just a few years to create a very rich framework. This is not going to stop with Silverlight 4; more is coming.
  • A convergence is occurring between Silverlight and WPF. More and more features are shared. The movement is toward compatibility, with Silverlight becoming a complete subset of WPF. Not just compatibility of interfaces, but also binary compatibility. We will probably see this happening in the next few years.
  • There is already a large adoption of Silverlight by developers and firms worldwide. We saw lots of interesting projects in the past few years, and more are coming. We also see a lot of firms that were reluctant to move to WPF embracing Silverlight for their rich application development because it is easier to learn.
  • Finally, the installation base has literally exploded, going from approximately 25% for Silverlight 2 to 60% for Silverlight 3 and 4. The smooth update mechanism makes it painless to upgrade Silverlight if needed; and as new applications are being published on the Web, more users are installing Silverlight to access them.

Here's a quote from Pete Brown, who works for Microsoft as client application evangelist (http://www.galasoft.ch/sl4-convergence):

  • In the future, it is very likely that both Silverlight and WPF will be a single technology with a single codebase.

So here it is, the probable future of Silverlight and WPF: A continuum framework that can be used on the desktop (very rich clients with full features / rich clients with fewer features and permissions) and in the web browser (very similar to what we have now, but with added functionality).

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