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Silverlight 5 — Back From the Dead?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the undying-support dept.

Microsoft 213

Barence writes "When Microsoft executive Bob Muglia recently revealed that Microsoft saw HTML5 as the future for universal in-browser development while Silverlight was being repositioned as a native application development platform for Windows Phone 7 devices, most pundits saw this as an admission of defeat. Now Microsoft has released a beta of Silverlight 5, PC Pro's Tom Arah asks if Microsoft has managed to bring Silverlight back from the dead. With a flurry of Android and Linux-based tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes and other devices set to arrive on the market, Arah argues that Silverlight's time will come. 'Crucially, they will also want to integrate their desktop (Windows) and their main applications (Office and other WPF-based applications). Thanks to its work on HTML5, WPF and especially Silverlight, Microsoft and its army of desktop developers will be well set to deliver,' he argues."

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I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449542)

but it's my destiny to be the king of flan [mojvideo.com]

Ok, I'm convinced (4, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449586)

I went to the MS store here in Bellevue today. Some of you may have seen me. But I doubt it.

I was pretty much of the same mind as most of you. Silverlight is dead. It's a dead end technology, and no one will develop with it.

Then today I saw a Windows Phone 7. I actually saw several models. They were actually really great. I was honestly ready for another piece of crap like every other Windows Mobile device I've ever seen. This was different.

Microsoft has done something insanely great (to steal a phrase from Steve Jobs) with Windows Phone 7. I can't truthfully declaim the phone series to anyone who asks. So as more people buy the phone (and they will), more applications will need to be developed for it. That means more Silverlight programmers. As the key synergy is between the phone and the PC, applications for the PC will also be built in Silverlight.

Sometimes when they are up against the wall with real competitors, Microsoft can produce good stuff. They are a day late, but this time they've brought a barrel full of extra dollars.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449630)

I guess MS is having to gamble a bit here. The recent app store model for mobile devices essentially means cordoning off portions of the web into device-specific apps instead of sites readable on a browser anywhere. At least that's what I suspect Apple are aiming for - get as much popular content as possible into app form so that using the Internet becomes something you need an Apple device for.

For MS the question then becomes whether they can do the same thing and create a viable app ecosystem of their own or not. If they're not sure about that - and they seem to be a bit late into the game - then maybe their best bet would be to try to undermine the whole app concept and instead promote open web standards such as HTML 5. Or maybe they'll act in the slightly confused manner they usually seem to and do both, with an app model for mobile and a more conventional browser-based web experience on PCs.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (4, Informative)

pasamio (737659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449712)

The problem is that Apple initially released their device saying that you wrote web apps for it and that would be the way to develop for it. And everyone hated, said it was a stupid idea and practically demanded an API which Apple subsequently delivered with a controlled way of deployment. The first iPhone SDK was for web apps and bashing Apple for delivering what was requested even if now we have it we realise it isn't so much of a good idea really just gets bothersome. More importantly Apple continue to make that gateway open for developers, Android does though to a lesser extent however Microsoft seem to have the view that anything that runs on a Phone 7 device will be Silverlight or else.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449858)

Microsoft seem to have the view that anything that runs on a Phone 7 device will be Silverlight or else.

WP7 also supports XNA and of course HTML.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449942)

Microsoft seem to have the view that anything that runs on a Phone 7 device will be Silverlight or else.

WP7 also supports XNA and of course HTML.

HTML4 of course.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450158)

Right, these smart phones are effectively taking us back to the bad old days of a separate client for each network service; just when we were finally getting to where having a recent browser for your platform means you can use any service.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450294)

Because everything [codebase.es] on the web yields such high performance.

I could emulate that on a 386 full speed, that it lags on a modern quad core machine is ridiculous. While I'm sure it might be able to run full speed on chrome or maybe ff4 beta, check the cpu usage, it would still be ridiculously high compared to a native executable.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (2)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450850)

Hmmm just tested it...

Firefox 3.6.12 0 runs ,ario land at 36fps using 9-10% CPU.
Safari 5.0.3 (7533.19.4) runs mario land at 60fps using 5-7% CPU.

Firefox 4 Beta 7 - runs mario land at a full 60fps using 1-4% CPU.
Chrome 8.0.552.215 beta - runs mario land using less than 1% CPU.
IE9 Platform Preview - runs mario land using 3-4% CPU (Although buggy, long start up, no display).

I'm sure you had a point there somewhere, but it seems that all the (major) browsers either are, or will shortly be able to run that site at full speed with plenty of room to spare on current hardware.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

kantos (1314519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450546)

I don't think it's really correct to call anything in Silverlight a "web app" not only is it a client based runtime... but it really didn't get the necessary features to support a full featured webapp until Silverlight 3. What Silverlight is... is a step between a clickonce app, and a web page. I think MS's message is going to start becoming along these lines: "If you can do it in HTML5 the do, if you can't then use Silverlight." What that message says to me is that Silverlight is for apps that you want to make REALLY REALLY easy to deploy and are willing to live with the restrictions Silverlight places on that application.

<rant>Personally I think the tragedy of Silverlight... and indeed .NET in general is that MS has not made it more open, not so open as Java where it degrades into detrimental infighting, but open in the sense that it would be easy for Novell to implement Moonlight and Mono. I am one of the many .NET developers who wishes that Mono had brought WPF to linux. Why? Because at least then I could make apps that don't look like shit on linux. I presume that it never happened due to licensing issues over DirectX with MS, which is really a shame. Mono as a client runtime is a tragedy, what it could have done, and what it did is good... but not really any better than java. While the server runtime is worth talking about, it is as far as I am aware not used extensively, thus making it a failure.</rant>

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450230)

I see mobile applications differently.

I have a Nokia 5800 and it browses the web pretty well however I've noticed a lot of websites simply aren't designed for mobile access (Domino's and the redesigned BBC News site come to mind). There is nothing stopping Domino's from scrubbing their web content and proving me a simplified view for my phone. The UK News Application in the Ovi store does this pretty well.

The idea isn't to move the web into mobile applications but to stop phone users from loading unnecessary images/javascript. When I browse on my phone I've noticed images/flash can be 99% of the page size, when I'm ordering Pizza I don't want to have to download several 0.5-2Mb images.

I agree companies like Apple are probably hoping for websites accessible through specific applications. But I think companies are trying to use applications for accessability (see Tesco's, Facebook, Pizza Hut, Windows Live Messenger, Wikipedia applications).

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450502)

Actually, I believe the best site Domino's could make is one that makes it difficult or better yet impossible to order "pizza" from it.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450768)

The Web is the HTML you see in a browser. There have always been apps other than the browser on the Internet: email apps, FTP apps, and now Twitter apps, and so on. Web and native are 2 separate things. That is how Apple sees them also.

Apple has done more than anyone to standardize the Web, to make it multiple vendor safe and consumer friendly. Apple offers by far the best Web experience in addition to the best native app experience. They don't need to trick anyone into anything.

Silverlight is fine if it runs native. If it runs in a browser and pretends to be the Web then it's as doomed as FlashPlayer. Consumers are not going to apply 52 security patches per year to every browser plug-in on every device they own. Plug-in developers are not going to be able to support the 50 different platforms the Web now runs on. So the Web will be HTML5 and universal, and in addition to that, each platform can offer a native app experience if they choose.

People aren't buying iPads to run a Twitter app. They buy them for the combination of a great browser and native apps that do things that the Web can't do yet, like 3D games, or music and audio apps. iOS v4.2 supports OS X MIDI-over-WiFi networks that is not the Web.

So it is in Microsoft's interest to make Silverlight a great native experience on their own platforms, side by side with IE9 which hopefully one day will be a great Web experience. That is what sells devices.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449632)

Microsoft has done something insanely great (to steal a phrase from Steve Jobs) with Windows Phone 7. I can't truthfully declaim the phone series to anyone who asks. So as more people buy the phone (and they will), more applications will need to be developed for it.

It looks like half a clone of iOS and Android. Microsoft saw how Apple and Google finally developed effective smartphone operating systems, copied them, and is now going to leverage its monopoly power to try to force its way into the market while secretly poisoning the pool. Is this a surprise to anyone? This has been Microsoft's strategy for the last 20 years.

It is time to reject this cynical approach. If Microsoft gets a monopoly here it is going to stifle development like it has everywhere else.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450412)

This time I don't think they will. Both iOS and Android are way too entrenched in the market for MS to muscle them out enough to form a monopoly in this space. And that doesn't even include Blackberry which is in and of itself a powerhouse in the smartphone market.

MS rarely if ever successfully competes with companies they can't buy out.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450548)

While Android and Apple have a strong foothold in mobile, the game can change really fast. Five years ago Android didn't even exist. Now as you say it's a strong player. Palm is dead. RIM was once a powerhouse and now is languishing. I heard similar comments comments about XBOX when it was launched a number of years ago, now it is quite a successful console.

Now MS has a captive audience of gamers that are interested in the integration between XBox and Windows Mobile 7. Whether you like the Windows 7 experience or not (I haven't used it personally), it offers something different than what's out there now. Only a fool would count them out of the game.

Eheh (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450944)

So was IBM. Computers WERE IBM. You didn't buy a PC, you bought an IBM and later an IBM-compatible.

And where is IBM now? Oh okay, still there, but insignificant on the PC front.

LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450416)

What "monopoly power" does Microsoft have in the phone market? I think your tinfoil hat is on too tight.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

jeffgeno (737363) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450490)

It looks absolutely nothing like iOS and Android. The home screen is different, the app list is different, the menu system is different, the graphic design is different, and the Metro themed apps are different. The hardware is very similar, but the OS is an entirely new thing.

Leverage what Monopoly? OSX has nearly 15% share (2)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450622)

OSX has nearly 15% share in the US.

It isn't 1999 anymore. What are you suggesting they would do anyways? Require a WP7 device to be plugged in for Windows to boot?

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450644)

Slashdot has become so anti-MS at this point that it isn't really worth reading MS related comments anymore. I'm an avid Linux user and the reality is that silverlight (and .net/wpf) are pretty nice technologies. Browsers are being asked to do a lot more than was ever intended. Do really imagine that RIAs are poisoning the pool or is it more that this is coming out of Redmond?

PROPERLY open-source it (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450690)

Silverlight was microsoft's attack on flash. At its heart, it's better technology, and with that, they opened the spec. Adobe's flash isn't open. Ouch. Alas, linux implementations of it suck. Until we see a single open-source codebase, that last 1% of internet users won't adopt it. If you want my personal opinion, apple who are going ahead of everyone and patenting things we might end up doing in the future are the bigger threat. Microsoft has backed down and given up fighting. Except for this. A truly open system of media in browers would give microsoft a good reputation and us a flash replacement. Do it microsoft.. time is running out for your monopoloy.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450906)

You've obviously never touched a WinPhone 7 device. The UI is NOTHING like iOS or Android (both of which, by the way, borrow HEAVILY from SPB Mobile Shell and HTC TouchFLO - the original "icons on a grid with widgets added in" user interfaces), unless you want to claim that having colored pixels on a touch screen is a copy of a UI.

Re:Ok, I'm convinced (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449890)

it seems to be "not bad" but what is GOOD about it ? ie, is there something it does other OSes don't, or something it does in a much better/easier/even just faster way ? Looking at

the product intro, my impression is: Meh: so-so hardware, closed as an iPhone, fewer apps than other OSes (which can be understood), fewer OS features... and no Unique Selling Proposition ?

doesn't matter even if it is good (3, Interesting)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449966)

Microsoft's competitors have produced better software than Microsoft for decades and it didn't do them any good on the desktop.

Microsoft needs to be much better than Android and iOS or they have already lost. "Good" isn't good enough.

I argue differently (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449596)

Thanks to its work on HTML5, WPF and especially Silverlight, Microsoft and its army of desktop developers will be well set to deliver,' he argues."

Especially the work on silverlight undermines the standardization of the web. Even with the Novell Moonlight plugin available for firefox on Linux, Silverlight support on anything but Windos/IE is flaky at best, so developers who care about their websites actually working cross-browser, cross-platform should avoid this technology.

Re:I argue differently (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449688)

It doesn't undermine standardization at all, at least no more than Java/.NET/flash etc. silverlight like flash is something you use when the browser based standards are not rich enough to support your needs. Admittedly many people overuse this crap (ie flash) but that doesn't make it bad. browsers will never be truly rich enough to meet everyones needs.

Re:I argue differently (1, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449838)

Uh, Java is Open Source, .net is server-side (except for Silverlight of course) and Flash does undermine standardization as well. What's your point again?

Re:I argue differently (0)

butlerm (3112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450344)

Java is Open Source

Without the litany of restrictions that come with Oracle/Sun's patent licensing, Java is more "fake open source" than real. The same goes for any implementation that doesn't come with the open licenses to the patents necessary to implement the specification in any field of use, domain of application, or open source alternative, compatible or not. Dalvik dispute, q.v.

Re:I argue differently (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450402)

Er, that should be "With the litany of of restrictions..."

Re:I argue differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450446)

Uh, Java is Open Source, .net is server-side (except for Silverlight of course) and Flash does undermine standardization as well. What's your point again?

Uh, you can write apps for Windows Phone 7 using .net

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff402531(v=VS.92).aspx

You can write apps for xbox using .net

http://create.msdn.com/en-us/home/getting_started

and of course you can write desktop apps.

Re:I argue differently (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450608)

Uh, Java is Open Source, .net is server-side (except for Silverlight of course) and Flash does undermine standardization as well. What's your point again?

Sorry, OP is right. .NET is not "server-side". You are thinking of ASP .NET. .NET is very similar to Java in a number of ways, in fact it runs on a number of different platforms. There is even a version of .NET designed to run on ARM micros.

Regarding standardization, we just had a client come to us with a pretty nice AJAX application and told us to rebuild it in Silverlight. See the client realizes that it's the user experience that's the most important, not the tech that the app is built with. Simply put, there are things that we can so in Silverllight right now that just can't be done well in HTML5 or even Flash. Conversely, there are apps that will work better in Flash and or HTML 5 than Silverlight.

Also I could build the same application in HTM5, Flash and Silverlight. Dollars to donuts, with either Flash or SL, it's going to be more maintainable than HTML5. I am working on an AJAX project right and have done many, so my previous comment is based on personal development experiences.

Re:I argue differently (2)

jjb3rd (1138577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450648)

Uh, Java is Open Source, .net is server-side (except for Silverlight of course) and Flash does undermine standardization as well. What's your point again?

.NET has at least 3 different ways to write client-side apps...Windows Forms, WPF and Silverlight (not to mention ajax web apps and xna). Silverlight is basically a flash clone with .net as the platform it runs on and a tweaked version of wpf for the UI. What does Java being open source have to do with anything? I'm by no means a Microsoft fan, just wanted to set the record straight. Score: 5 informative for making false statements, so long as they say "Open Source"....YAY Slashdot!

Re:I argue differently (1, Informative)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449704)

Silverlight support on anything but Windos/IE is flaky at best

Sorry but that is just FUD. Silverlight works fine on basically any browser on Windows and the same on OS X, that is, everywhere it is supported it works perfectly fine. Have you actually used Silverlight?

Re:I argue differently (0)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449772)

Does it run on Android, iOS or and those horrible cheap "Windows tablets" that run CE 5.2? That kind of target is becoming pretty important now when it comes to making sure your website is usable.

Re:I argue differently (0)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449794)

No it doesn't. I agree that mobile phones are an important target for websites, but AC was claiming that Silverlight only worked well in Windows/IE. However as anyone who has actually used Silverlight would know, wherever it is supported (and that is a lot more than just IE on Windows) it works perfectly fine.

Note that Moonlight != Silverlight. To say Moonlight/Linux sucks therefore Silverlight must suck on everything but IE on Windows is stupid, Moonlight has a completely different codebase and is still under development.

Re:I argue differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449972)

Note that Moonlight != Silverlight. To say Moonlight/Linux sucks therefore Silverlight must suck on everything but IE on Windows is stupid

Stupid but true in practice.

Re:I argue differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450330)

Note that Moonlight != Silverlight. To say Moonlight/Linux sucks therefore Silverlight must suck on everything but IE on Windows is stupid

Stupid but true in practice.

No. It is stupid and completely untrue in practice. Silverlight fx works well on Firefox on Mac. I've even seen video sites default to Flash for Windows users, but Silverlight version for Mac users, because it works better than Flash on Mac.

Re:I argue differently (1, Insightful)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450458)

Moonlight will never catch up with Silverlight, Microsoft should just release Silverlight for Linux or admit that they want to undermine Linux.

Re:I argue differently (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450362)

It's not FUD, it works fine on Windows and OSX. It's not IE only on Windows because they use the same plug in. But for the intents and purposes of the GP it doesn't work well cross platform. I can't use it on FreeBSD and it also doesn't work on Linux very well. It's been a while since I tried with FreeBSD, but the only reason why MS cares about this is appearing to be innovative in the eyes of morons and fragmenting the market.

Windows Presentation Foundation (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449598)

..just in case you we're wondering.

zzzz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449608)

I wish I could use my mod points to bury articles.

err (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449676)

where the hell do you get the idea that silverlight is dead?
right now almost every .NET developer company is moving to WPF/silverlight.
The only thing stopping them from completely moving to silverlight is the fact that it still lacks some things from the complete WPF.

depends on definition of dead. (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449702)

"It's a dead end technology"

<video src="mySilverLightMovie">

One just never knows.

Weird thread atmosphere here (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449714)

Yes, I had gushing things to say about WP7 and I think it will lead to good things for Silverlight. That's my opinion after playing with actual phones today.

But is it just me or is there a really strong pro-Microsoft vibe here today? Has Microsoft really turned a corner and started offering something people want and need? Or are the MS astroturfers out in force?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449746)

What is good about WP7?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449762)

1) The UI is very responsive and visual effects are smooth.
2) The UI enhancements seem to reach deep into each application. In WM6.5, the main screen may have been pretty cool, but once you left that screen the UI was the same old WinMo crap. WP7 seems to have solved that in a way similar to iPhone in that each app really seems to fit with the rest of the software.
3) Better software keyboard than Android and iPhone. I have had a terrible time with the software keyboards of both Android and iPhone. Especially on the iPhone, the software keyboard seems to pick up the key above the one I am pressing. The WP7 phones I tried worked perfectly.
4) Easy to use UI. Application buttons are big and self-explanatory. Flicking works great. All immediately useful features are immediately available (call, text, camera, etc)

The one thing I did not like was the constant requirement to use the Back button. If I want to close the software keyboard, I had to click Back. If I wanted to go back in a menu, I had to hit Back. This kind of thing seems like it should be done in the visual UI. The user shouldn't be expected to know that Back is a magical button.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449914)

Besides the UI?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (4, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449918)

Honestly, this is underwhelming.
1) all phone UIs are responsive, now that we're finally rid of pre-7.0 WinMob.
2) as you say "similar to iPhone", only better than.. WinMob before 7.0
3) software keyboards are just that: software. Many of my heavily-texting friends have bought a favorite one.
4) see 1)

I'm not interested by something that's better than WinMob 5/6, because pretty much anything was. I'm interested in something that's better than the defaults choices, which are iOS and Android. In which ways in WInMob 7 better than those ?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450372)

1) all phone UIs are responsive, now that we're finally rid of pre-7.0 WinMob.

Have you ever used non-state-of-art android or symbian devices?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

gmurray (927668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450798)

I haven't used Android. But WP7 is certainly better than the iPhone. It provides a single cohesive experience while everything on the iPhone is insular and poorly integrated. Its anecdotal, but, everyone I've shown the phone too has been seriously impressed, and might be converts. Even die hard android fans seem to love this thing when they play with it in person. I would suggest you check one out at a kiosk rather than relying only on jaded reviewers.

The problem with the kiosk demos, though, is that probably all the social features of the phone are disabled, which is one of the main selling points of the OS.

One thing I personally like a lot about the software is that it seems like there is always immediate feedback when you perform an action. Sometimes with android and iOS you can be left wondering if the click you performed was actually received. But everything seems to animate in some way as soon as you click it in WP7.

That, and working with Silverlight is a dream from a hobby development standpoint. You can put a semi complicated app together in an afternoon. This could turn out to be a bit of a detriment in the end though, as I'm sure a lot of junk will accumulate in the marketplace.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450312)

So.... the keyboard is better.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450394)

So.... the keyboard is better.

You impressivly managed to miss that 3 out of 4 of his points was about it having a good UI (to repeat his points you seemed to miss: easy to use, responsive, consistent, smooth, works great, important features immidiately available). For me that is a pretty major thing for a smartphone. I have tried the WP7 UI myself, and believe they are onto a better user interface than iPhone and Android.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450952)

The one thing I did not like was the constant requirement to use the Back button. If I want to close the software keyboard, I had to click Back. If I wanted to go back in a menu, I had to hit Back. This kind of thing seems like it should be done in the visual UI. The user shouldn't be expected to know that Back is a magical button.

I thought that was a great feature of WP7 - if you went to far, or want to go back to where you were, just press the Back button. It's not on a menu in the app (and thus can be out-of-order if the developer wants to move it around), it's not called many things (return, back, exit, cancel, whoops, George), it's just "Back". Went too far? Go Back. Done with this screen? Go Back. I think it simplifies the UI for people - you don't have to look at menus or options, just go Back.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450708)

WP7 combines all the openness of the iPhone with all of the trendy shininess of Android!

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450936)

Live icons. A combination of widgets and icons. It really works, it really does help the UI, and it really does offer functionality that is beneficial to the user.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449842)

"are the MS astroturfers out in force?"

Good question.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449880)

"are the MS astroturfers out in force?"

Good question.

Well I'm here.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (0)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450978)

That depends. Are we still using the "If you don't hate Microsoft with every bone in your body" you are an astroturfer as our method to identity them?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (2)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449950)

It's a lot better than WM6.5, but then again, what isn't? Its greatest strength is also its biggest weakness - because it is a clean departure from WM6.5, it also can't leverage the numerous legacy applications available for that platform, which leads us to the question - is it too little, too late?

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (2)

david.given (6740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449980)

Has Microsoft really turned a corner and started offering something people want and need?

It's all thanks to Oracle. They've displaced Microsoft as the Most Evil Company. Now that Microsoft has lost the top spot, the pressure's no longer on them, and they've suddenly realised that they don't have to keep churning out evil products any more and can no concentrate on producing stuff that works.

You just wait: they're already dabbling in open source, and this trend will continue. They'll never outright say they were wrong, but slowly but surely they'll gradually morph into an OS-friendly company like IBM.

I would put Apple at the top (1)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450750)

That Android magazine ban is the lamest thing I have seen in years. Who the frig cares about Oracle, there are so many DB options these days and both Java and OpenOffice were already underfunded with Sun. Just be glad someone bought Sun and didn't let its assets rot in bankruptcy court.

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (1)

geegel (1587009) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450044)

Nah... It's just the fact that MS is no longer considered an evil monopoly and they're judged on their own true merits. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don't. Slashdotters are merely lucid enough to recognize when they do

Re:Weird thread atmosphere here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450084)

And the iPad, even in a minor way, something I never thought I'd see:
http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-20/silverlight-50-plays-nice-on-the-ipad-009436.php

It's just you (1)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450654)

It just isn't 100% anti-Microsoft which on Slashdot can seem like pro-Microsoft.

Silverlight as a native application ?? (5, Insightful)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449750)

Silverlight little applications are now trumpeted as native on WP7?

The absence of true native code in WP7 (C/C++) is a major problem, see, Apple has a clear edge in applications, they allow native code C/ObjC/C++ so people like Carmack can run Doom, companies like Korg can make true synthesizer DSP driven software and even FOSS people can compile and reuse their cherished code on iOS devices.

In the old days Bill Gates at least did know a thing or two about developers and what they need, it seams that MS is totally losing their vision, roots and edge by doing huge mistakes like dropping support for major native development inroads for their new mobile OS. So much for the Steve "triple developers" Ballmer's promises.

Re:Silverlight as a native application ?? (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449778)

From what I understand, the controls that Silverlight developers create and use in their apps can only be written in C/C++ on WP7.

Re:Silverlight as a native application ?? (4, Informative)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449846)

From what I understand, the controls that Silverlight developers create and use in their apps can only be written in C/C++ on WP7.

Silverlight is a managed framework that runs on top of a subset of .NET. Any .NET code that runs on that particular subset can be used for Silverlight. With regular .NET, managed C++ and unsafe C# are allowed, however the subset of .NET that Silverlight runs on disallows anything unsafe, so C++ is out and so is unsafe C# (regular C# is still okay). Examples of other languages that are okay are: VB.NET, F#.

Re:Silverlight as a native application ?? (2)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449958)

You really can't use C/C++ on WP7 (as a regular developer), at least for now. This is deliberate choice by the WP7 team, they are pushing .NET.

Re:Silverlight as a native application ?? (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450686)

Not true. We're using Silverlight and C# to build WP7 apps. You have the option of using C or C++ as well.

Re:Silverlight as a native application ?? (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450676)

That isn't correct. You can write native code for WP7. I am not sure where that rumor got started. Even so, there are probably a handful of situations that benefit from native code like games, audio processing, and other graphics intensive applications. There is going to be little or no benefit from native code in most other apps.

Having written both Android and iPhone apps, I can tell you which platform I prefer to develop for. Apple's toolchain is less than awful. Additionally, I doubt the fact that the applications were written in Obj-C had any effect on the performance of the app.

Not a problem at all (2)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450702)

Have a look at Quake in Silverlight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2iS8LCAO8s [youtube.com]

Re:Not a problem at all (-1, Troll)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450972)

SILENCE! We will not let facts and reality trump a good Microsoft bash! Only the all-powerful iOS from the Jobs (blessed be his name) can run 3D first person shooters! Only the UI from the Ive (blessed be his name) can be good and easy and useful! HERETIC!

So they caved in (2)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449756)

So they basically decided that it's best for them to have web developers out of control from adobe even if they cannot take said control. Good news.

However I still fail to be excited by HTML 5. IMO it fails spectacularly at anything they said it was good at. It creates huge privacy holes, makes it difficult to segregate components and still is not well suited to the mobile platorms. How do I activate an onHover() on my cell phone? Why does every page have a different idea on how large my screen is? On my desktop I have to zoom in if I want to read sites, because they can fix the font at 0.0001pt, on my cell phone I have to scroll horizontally every line. Let's forget that presentation should be decided by the client not the server, but at least why cannot they send a page formatted for *my* screen? With HTML5 they can know everything: where I am and my family tree, why can't they fucking look at how big my window is?

HTML5 is a travesty of a standard. I hope it never flies off as is. Unfortunately it probably will.

Re:So they caved in (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450324)

I don't think your argument has much to do with html5 as such. Yes hover and so are an issue for touch screen devices; this is a problem that may have to be solved another way. It's tricky: a mouse-based interface and a touch-based interface simply both have their issues. Like multi-touch gestures that have no mouse equivalent.

Then the presentation point: yes that's a problem, I'm experiencing that myself. The problem lies with the web developers: they want to control the presentation, That the web site looks pixel-perfect. Just browse through related discussions on /., on the merits of CSS, the incompatibilities of various browsers, the different interpretations in browsers of certain CSS directives, where one browser puts an element a pixel further to the left than another browser, and that must be fixed. Complaints that a client may have different fonts, adn thus that you have to limit yourself to "safe" fonts so at least it all looks alike.

So the problem lies with web developers wanting the web page to look exactly like they intend to. They will do their best that the web page looks the same to the last pixel in 20 different browsers. And that of course leaves little to no room for a browser to become creative with a page and render it differently.

And actually you have the same mind set when it comes to web pages: asking for a page that's formatted for your specific screen size, whatever that may be. Then you're making it worse, because screen size - and pixel size, dictating number of pixels to get a certain size and readability - varies per device. The various iPhone incarnations have roughly the same screen size, however their pixel sizes vary a lot. So if say a 10px letter would be the minimum readable size on the first iPhone, it's probably not readable at all on the latest iPhone model.

The only solution lies in proper use of html and css, and allowing the browser on client side to take care of the presentation. Then it also works fine when the browser is not set to full-screen for example.

Re:So they caved in (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450436)

So if say a 10px letter would be the minimum readable size on the first iPhone, it's probably not readable at all on the latest iPhone model.

HTML/CSS renderers are supposed to use a virtual pixel size (nominally ~96 dpi on desktops) so that a major change (a doubling for example) in display device dpi doesn't cause a pixel specified page to render at a radically different size.

See here [emdpi.com] .

Re:So they caved in (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450784)

And actually you have the same mind set when it comes to web pages: asking for a page that's formatted for your specific screen size, whatever that may be. Then you're making it worse, because screen size - and pixel size, dictating number of pixels to get a certain size and readability - varies per device. The various iPhone incarnations have roughly the same screen size, however their pixel sizes vary a lot. So if say a 10px letter would be the minimum readable size on the first iPhone, it's probably not readable at all on the latest iPhone model.

Not exactly, I was (rhetorical question, of course) asking why of all the information they want my browser to spread around the world there is not the most important one that would help them to make *useful* pages. I do not hold hope that the web will ever become what it was supposed to be: a network of content equally accessible from any device. But do not think I would not want it.

For example I cannot drag the threshold bars in slashdot on my phone. How stupid is that? Yet crappy javascript is appearing everywhere.

Microsoft EU headquarters and Irish airlines: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34449768)

I wonder what sort of secret deals they made to get Europe's largest low-fares airlines to use it exclusively for their routemap:

Ryan Air Routemap now in Silverlight only [ryanair.com]

And this airline's routemap too:

Aer Lingus Routemap now in Silverlight only [aerlingus.com]

Ah yes, both of these airlines are headquartered in Ireland, where Microsoft has its European headquarters for tax reasons and Microsoft threatened the Irish government that they would leave the country if they changed the tax system in any way that works against them.

Re:Microsoft EU headquarters and Irish airlines: (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450092)

I wonder what sort of secret deals they made to get Europe's largest low-fares airlines to use it exclusively for their routemap:

I'm guessing the usual. Free development for x years as showcase customers. After which, the go back to a more workable solution. ITV tried that, but they got sense and now do the catch up service in Flash.

Yay! (5, Funny)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449828)

This should stop that proprietary HTML5 stuff getting a stranglehold on the web.

Re:Yay! (0)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34449882)

So you don't think Flash is proprietary?

Re:Yay! (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450450)

You're dangerously close to getting the joke.....!

Re:Yay! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450462)

Flash is the epitome of everything HTML5 is not, standards wise. Half the point of HTML5 (and related standards like SVG) is to make plugins like Flash and Silverlight unnecessary for open websites.

Kill it! (1)

Peter Harris (98662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450024)

Kill it with fire!

Silverlight Vs Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450052)

I honestly don't know which i'd rather be using.

Flash (and adobe products) has an appalling history of security problems, is very slow and inefficient and is generally the reason for most people's browser crashes.
Then there's silverlight produced by Microsoft...MICROSOFT. Enough said me thinks.

However i do have silverlight installed but disabled until absolutely required (TheGuild HD episodes for example)

5 year lag for Silverlight 1 (3, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450124)

What always baffled me was the 5 year gap between the release of .NET 1.0 and Silverlight 1.0. Remember when .NET 1.0 was released, everyone was asking, what is .NET? Part of the reason for the confusion was Microsoft's marketing department slathering the term on a variety of technologies, as they did with "Active" the previous decade. The other part of the reason was it didn't have a way to deploy to the browser. It seemed to me the main advantage of an interpretive run-time was to sandbox on the client. Instead, Microsoft built all these server-side technologies around .NET.

If Microsoft had released Silverlight back in 2002 -- i.e. if it had the small footprint, Mac compatibility, and easy browser install that Silverlight has now and that Flash had back then -- then not only might Silverlight have supplanted Flash, the momentum of millions of Microsoft developers jumping in that early might have forestalled or diminished the role of HTML5 today.

Not all of this is 20/20 hindsight. Browser install, to compete with Java Webstart, was a no-brainer. Then, if it had been a goal at that time of Microsoft to be the standard for all browsers, would have seen why Flash was succeeding (small footprint, Mac compatibility) and adopted those attributes for .NET client.

Re:5 year lag for Silverlight 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450208)

Microsoft did have .NET client technologies but most of those focused on free-standing desktop applications.

The odd thing was that with .NET 1.0 they actually did develop and include a method of launching browser-hosted applets. It was quite trivial to develop a library that contained a Windows Forms UserControl which you would deploy to the web server and reference in HTML using an OBJECT tag with the classid attribute set to the URI of that library as well as the fully qualified name of the UserControl class. Internet Explorer would then download the library, instantiate the control and display it within the web page. Security-wise it would be handled by the zoning functionality within Internet Explorer combined with any of the rules configured in .NET Code-Access-Security, which by default followed the same zoning concepts and offered a fairly tight sandbox. In a corporate environment it was trivial to deploy a policy permitting that control to run under less strict security rules based on signed keys, specific names or custom zones, even to the point of permitting that control full trust access to the user context of the operating system.

This technology was there and worked quite well. Very few people seemed to know about it and outside of a small handful of internal business applications it had really no market penetration. With ClickOnce deployment in .NET 2.0 and WPF Browser-based Applications (XBAPs) in .NET 3.0 Microsoft leveraged other mechanisms for hosting applications from or within the browser that did enjoy some further adoption (Google still deploys Chrome's installer through ClickOnce).

Re:5 year lag for Silverlight 1 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450378)

2002 was when the dust had settled on the browser wars. Before FF was useful (or however it was called back then). Before Safari was a serious contender. Before Google even thought of building their own browser.

But Microsoft also very much knew that the web browser was going to be the platform of the future - not the operating system. The underlying OS they knew would become irrelevant. And by allowing the browser to develop faster they would only help to make that happen.

In 2002 it was definitely not in MS's interest to really develop the web client as a platform. Now it's 2010, times have changed a lot, now they have to.

The browser is quickly becoming the platform they feared it would be. Nothing needs to be on the client any more. MS Office can be replaced by Google Docs. Media Player by Youtube. MSN messenger by Facebook. And so on. And on the desktop itself they also have serious competition from OpenOffice, Firefox, and other often FOSS software. There is no need to use MS software (other maybe for backwards compatibility with your old data and people that have not switched yet). The OS is rapidly becoming irrelevant. MS finally is forced to innovate again, better late than never, and I hope for them they haven't forgotten on how to do it. But the lock-in they used to have, that's gone forever.

Re:5 year lag for Silverlight 1 (1)

qodfathr (255387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450522)

What baffles me is that anyone still thinks that .net was EVER interpreted. It has always employed a runtime JITter.

Doing Things Differently (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450126)

What is really happening is that Microsoft is going about how they announce their future plans in a different manner. In years past they would hold large multiple-day events which would cover virtually every subject under the sun during which they would announce what they would like to see in a roadmap for the next release or two for a wide array of products. This often set lofty expectations which were often never met in full and also often gave the competition years to turn around their own implementations.

Lately it seems that Microsoft is holding their cards much closer to their vest. They are having smaller and more targeted events where they trickle out some specific details regarding a couple of related products and that is it. At PDC, Microsoft concentrated mostly on Windows Phone 7 and Internet Explorer 9 and largely ignored everything else. The pundits, as it were, took that to mean that because Microsoft didn't mention Silverlight that they were killing Silverlight. They also didn't mention Windows, Office, Exchange, SQL Server, or most of their other product lines, although few would claim that any of those products were going by the wayside. But they did make a comment about the future of HTML5, at an event talking specifically about web browsers, and that was enough to get the rumor ball rolling.

At a later event, geared specifically towards databases, Microsoft trickled out some details specifically about SQL Server "Denali", but nothing else. But while in 2003 anyone paying attention to SQL Server futures could recite a long list of announced features for SQL Server 2005, some of which never made it into the final release, today what we know about SQL Server "Denali" scheduled for release only next year is virtually nothing.

And finally Microsoft holds an event specifically for Silverlight developers. The date of this event was known even prior to the PDC, and the pundits made up stories that at this event all they would do is talk about HTML5, despite announcements that the keynote speech would be specifically about announcements of Silverlight 5. And lo and behold, what happens at this Silverlight-specific event with a future release keynote speech? They announced the future plans for Silverlight. And, somehow, everyone seems surprised.

I will admit that after being used to knowing what was on the roadmap five years and two releases into the future with detailed whitepapers regarding implementation details this new behavior from Microsoft feels a little odd. I can only deduce that it is due to the reasons I stated above: management of the expectation.

Silverlight is actually pretty good (2)

Flector (1702640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450290)

It boils down to dragging and dropping xml elements.

Microsoft releases Silverlight 5, nobody cares (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450426)

Microsoft today announced the release of version 5 of its world-beating Silverlight multimedia platform. As a replacement for Adobe's Flash, it is widely considered utterly superfluous [newstechnica.com] and of no interest to anyone who could be found.

"We have a fabulous selection of content partners for Silverlight," announced Microsoft marketer Scott Guthrie on his blog today. "NBC for the Olympics, which delivered millions of new users to BitTorrent. The Democrat National Convention, which is fine because those Linux users are all Ron Paul weirdos anyway. It comes with rich frameworks, rich controls, rich networking support, a rich base class library, rich media support, oh God kill me now. My options are underwater, my resumé's a car crash, Google won't call me back. My life is an exercise in futility. I'm the walking dead, man. The walking dead."

Silverlight was created by Microsoft to leverage its desktop monopoly on Windows, to work off the tremendous sales and popularity of Vista. Flash is present on a pathetic 96% of all computers connected to the Internet, whereas Silverlight downloads are into the triple figures.

"But it's got DRM!" cried Guthrie. "Netflix loved it! And web developers love us too, after all we did for them with IE 6. Wait, come back! We'll put porn on it! Free porn! "

Similar Microsoft initiatives include its XPS replacement for Adobe PDF, its HD Photo replacement for JPEG photographs and its earlier Liquid Motion attempt to replace Flash. Also, that CD-ROM format Vista defaults to which no other computers can read.

In a Microsoft internal security sweep, Guthrie's own desktop was found to still be running Windows XP.

Re:Microsoft releases Silverlight 5, nobody cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450498)

I care. I can name at least 10 Also, you're an idiot.

Re:Microsoft releases Silverlight 5, nobody cares (2)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450678)

This thread was worth reading after all. The only rational reaction to deliberately disruptive, inferior technologies like silverlight is to "just say no".

Re:Microsoft releases Silverlight 5, nobody cares (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450792)

Silverlight 1 was awful, but now Silverlight 4 is pretty good. I've been developing web applications for over ten years professionally. As I mentioned in a previous post there are a lot of things you can so in SL that you can't do very well in either Flash or HTML5. Your comment shows that you are pretty disconnected from reality and not privy to what corporate customers and end users are really looking to see in web applications these days.

Re:Microsoft releases Silverlight 5, nobody cares (3, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450964)

Silverlight 1 was awful, but now Silverlight 4 is pretty good. I've been developing web applications for over ten years professionally. As I mentioned in a previous post there are a lot of things you can so in SL that you can't do very well in either Flash or HTML5. Your comment shows that you are pretty disconnected from reality and not privy to what corporate customers and end users are really looking to see in web applications these days.

It can do what? Lock you into Microsoft technologies? While I understand that, as a developer, you may see things that Silverlight can do that Flash or HTML 5 "can't do very well," what exactly does it do that those corporate customers and end users are "looking to see?" (btw -- I loved those examples you didn't provide) Those customers don't even know what Silverlight is. If they have it installed, they never meant to do it or it was just something they clicked while trying to watch the Olympics online.

Just because Silverlight has some features that you find clever doesn't mean it's good for the internet. It wasn't designed to benefit the internet or small application developers, it was designed to broaden Microsoft's control over the internet, to make it another one of their platforms. Your comment shows that you are pretty disconnected from reality and not privy to what Microsoft's business strategy has been for decades.

Silverlight 5 beta announced, not released. (2)

MadHungarian (166146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450468)

Microsoft announced Silverlight 5. Scheduled bata release it 1st half 2011. Announcement here. [microsoft.com]

Billy Borg? (0)

jjohn (2991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450544)

Bill Gates has moved on from Microsoft. Perhaps slashdot should to. Time for a new M$ icon. I suggested an animated one with Balmer monkey dancing.

WHO TOLD YOU TO SIT DOWN?!

I thought Symbian was dead (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34450552)

Then I bought an N8. I love it.

Brain dead software should stay dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34450928)

I recently tried Silverlight to implement a Wiki for use on the company intranet. The new Rich Text Editor control looked compelling for page editing. A few days into the project the shortcomings became evident.
1. You can add images and other items to the editor, but you can't save or restore them.
2. The document model is crippled. No Lists (bulleted or otherwise), no tables.
3. I wanted to subclass hyperlink to implement wiki links. No deal the classes are sealed.
4. You cant receive click events from embedded objects when the control is in edit mode, so it is impossible to implement design time functionality - like selecting a wiki page.

Here's the rub: it is my guess that Microsoft is in a cleft stick. It can not deliver a fully functional control for fear of undermining the control developer community. Their controls magically seem to avoid the above problems. For a mere $1,000 you can buy a rich text editor which actually works. Having been through licensing hell before we have a policy of avoiding buy-in controls where possible.

This pattern has also been seen before for grid controls, WPF did not have one for several releases.

In the mean time CKEditor on an html web page does the job nicely.

HTML for the win.

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