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.

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

  1. Hi Tim, you should check out WebSharper – it can translate F# (and arbitrary .NET code via its proxying mechanism) to JavaScript. We have been experimenting with providing a JavaScript/HTML5-based execution mechanism for Silverlight code without requiring modification – results are definitely promising, but the type-safe formlets and pagelets (both rooted in functional programming and are arbitrarily composable) we advocate with WebSharper are still hard to beat.

  2. A Silverlight-to-Javascript really would be a technical perversion. I can’t believe the fervour with which web-developers insist on setting back the whole field of programming back by a decade or two…

  3. @Stephan perhaps because developers want to deliver functionality without being tied to a single tool/vendor and have to install plug-ins. Sure coding in javascript isn’t much fun but if it was me I would want to be able to deliver on the widest number of platforms available which is not possible using silverlight/flash.

  4. I know Windows Phone is coming out and Silverlight is on that, but why aren’t they trying to get it to work on Android? They need a reality check that Android phones will be a large part of the mobile market for the next decade (even the Tablet market). As a Silverlight developer I’m ready to jump ship to a more widely used platform… html5?

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