Silverlight / WPF Developer Open Letter to Microsoft

    In recent years, Microsoft has formed an extensive and professional community of developers on the .NET platform. But now, many of them feel cheated when they see a Microsoft press release and a video with a new concept of the Windows 8 interface , which relies on HTML5 / JavaScript applications. Enough to read the discussion in some forums to understand the degree of concern of developers.

    Microsoft was in a difficult situation. On the one hand, the evolution of PCs seems to be pushing them to support web technologies (although why in Windows to refuse Silverlight in favor of HTML5 / JavaScript is completely incomprehensible, because Silverlight was chosen for Windows Phone 7). On the other hand, there is a whole army of programmers who have spent years studying .NET and developing applications.

    More recently, WPF was considered a key and promising technology for building Windows client applications. Some even suggested that WPF would replace the Windows API in the future and become the basis of the new super-object-oriented Windows. But the first developer builds of Windows 8 drastically changed the situation. In just a couple of months, WPF has turned from a promising and indispensable technology into something dubious with an uncertain future.

    The above video explains that there will be two classes of applications in Windows 8: new HTML5 / JavaScript applications and old WPF and Silverlight applications. Of course, backward compatibility will remain. But it’s not a matter of backward compatibility, but the fact that old applications become "second-class applications" based on the "old" technology, while HTML5 / JavaScript will be something new, fresh and relevant on Windows. As before, developers expressed enthusiasm for WPF and Silverlight, so now HTML5 and JavaScript will become fashionable.

    All this is rather strange, because from a technological point of view, .NET looks like a better platform than HTML5 / JavaScript, so such a radical change of concept causes great concern in the bright future of Windows.

    Based on the foregoing, Silverlight / WPF developers wrote an open letter to Microsoft calling for "full support for the excellent Silverlight and WPF platforms in Windows 8," along with support for the new HTML5 platform that has already been announced.

    The developers of WPF and Silverlight believe that they have good reason for fears for the future of Microsoft .NET UI, which they “love and support because it is the best in the world” if Microsoft gives it a secondary position in Windows 8. In this case, the platform will have no future and it will not receive sufficient support.

    The announcement of the "new platform based on HTML5 and JavaScript" (a phrase from a Microsoft press release) may mean new opportunities for the development of Windows. Although the opinions of the developers on this score differ, but most of them still welcome these opportunities. But at the same time, many suspect that the "new platform" will be presented in Windows 8 in such a way that would damage the importance of SL / WPF, according to an open letter.

    The developers also note that not a single official statement about Windows 8 mentioned the future role of .NET, WPF or Silverlight, while the HTML5 platform was constantly mentioned. The same goes for developer conferences: at MIX 2011, HTML5 technology was heavily discussed and Silverlight was mentioned very little.

    The authors of the open letter ask Microsoft for the same status of WPF and Silverlight applications with HTML5 applications, the full integration of WPF and Silverlight applications in the future AppStore catalog and specific statements at upcoming Microsoft conferences recognizing the important role of WPF / Silverlight and the guaranteed future of these technologies.

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