Microsoft has promised to deliver a Silverlight 5 beta at the Mix conference next week. The team posting is by Walid Abu-Hadba (Corporate VP of Developer and Platform Evangelism), Soma Somasegar (Senior VP or Developer Division) and Scott Guthrie (Corporate VP of .NET Developer Platform) and seems intended to clarify the company’s much-debated strategy concerning Silverlight vs HTML 5:
we have received questions from the community about the future of plug-ins, and how Silverlight is viewed as part of an overall solution set. We’ll provide clarity, background and context below
Despite the high-powered authorship though, the post tells us little. I mean, can you get vaguer than this?
HTML5 is a solution for many scenarios, and developers should make the appropriate choice based on application needs, knowing that we have a heritage and a future vision of supporting a wide variety of technologies to meet those needs.
This sentence is considered so perfectly nuanced that it is repeated at the end of the post.
If you enjoy reading between lines, there is a phrase to ponder here:
Over the coming months we’ll be particularly demonstrative of our emphasis on HTML 5, in Internet Explorer and in tools.
I’m hearing noises about Visual Studio 2012 now, and I imagine we will see some HTML 5 tooling there. I would expect it to include support for rich ASP.NET clients talking to WCF RIA Services or maybe WCF Web APIs as well as things like the ASP.NET Membership Framework; and I would expect JQuery and ASP.NET Ajax to figure strongly.
I do not think Silverlight is dead though; apart from its role in Windows Phone, we are hearing rumours about the AppX application model in Windows 8 which looks a lot like Silverlight; and I have already noted the extensive use of Silverlight in Microsoft’s own products. I would rather hear the developer division VPs discuss this aspect of Silverlight, rather than reiterate corporate angst over how it relates to HTML 5. I would also like to see a post signed by the Windows team as well as by developer division.