Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie: We have 200+ engineers working on Silverlight and WPF

Microsoft is countering rumours that WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) or Silverlight, a cross-platform browser plug-in based on the same XAML markup language and .NET programming combination as WPF, are under any sort of threat from HTML 5.0.

We have 200+ engineers right now working on upcoming releases of SL and WPF – which is a heck of a lot.

says Corporate VP .NET Developer Platform Scott Guthrie in a Twitter post. Other comments include this one:

We are investing heavily in Silverlight and WPF

and this one:

We just shipped Silverlight for Windows Phone 7 last week, and WPF Ribbon about 30 days ago:

In addition, Microsoft has been showing off IIS Media Services 4.0 at the International Broadcasting Conference, which uses Silverlight as the multimedia client:

Key new features include sub-two-second low-latency streaming, transmuxing between H.264 file formats and integrated transcoding through Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. Microsoft will also show technology demonstrations of Silverlight Enhanced Movies, surround sound in Silverlight and live 3-D 1080p Internet broadcasting using IIS Smooth Streaming and Silverlight technologies.

No problem then? Well, Silverlight is great work from Microsoft, powerful, flexible, and surprisingly small and lightweight for what it can do. Combined with ASP.NET or Windows Azure it forms part of an excellent cloud-to-client .NET platform. Rumours of internal wrangling aside, the biggest issue is that Microsoft seems reluctant to grasp its cross-platform potential, leaving it as a Windows and desktop Mac solution just at the time when iPhone, iPad and Android devices are exploding in popularity. 

I will be interested to see if Microsoft announces Silverlight for Android this autumn, and if it does, how long it will take to deliver. The company could also give more visibility to its work on Silverlight for Symbian – maybe this will come more into the spotlight following the appointment of Stephen Elop, formerly of Microsoft, as Nokia CEO.

Apple is another matter. A neat solution I’ve seen proposed a few times is to create a Silverlight-to-JavaScript compiler along the lines of GWT (Google Web Toolkit) which converts Java to JavaScript. Of course it would also need to convert XAML layout to SVG. Incidentally, this could also be an interesting option for Adobe Flash applications.

As for WPF, I would be surprised if Microsoft is giving it anything like the attention being devoted to Silverlight, unless the Windows team has decided to embrace it within the OS itself. That said, WPF is already a mature framework. WPF will not go away, but I can readily believe that its future progress will be slow.

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