Monday, 6 June 2011

Is WPF+Silverlight dead on Windows?

Does anybody still remember WinForms? If you think WinForms is old outdated technology, and WPF is the new and cozy, you might want to go on Youtube and look at the Windows 8 previews. Microsoft was dead serious when they embraced HTML5 and JavaScript last year, HTML5 and JavaScript seems to be the new toolkit for writing GUIs for Windows. In case that you wonder how JavaScript relates to other programming languages, have a quick look at StackOverflow's question on strangest language features. My personal favorite is the one about the JavaScript truth table.

A quick Google search informs, that:

* Microsoft is very quiet on WPF development. I guess they have to be, in order to support the new HTML5 strategy.
* Discussions on blogs about WPF+Silverlight contain a lot of "It will still run on Windows 8" - but not "This is how apps should be built today" or "WPF is still Microsoft's strategy for making Windows 8 apps"

I am not surprised. Microsoft keeps renewing itself, by abandoning old development tools. It has been this way ever since... well... forever. Who knows, maybe they will invent a new paradigm for NUMA cpus, that abandons compatibility with programming languages based on Garbage Collection. Or they will adopt Python and a new version of C++ as their new primary development languages. If you're in doubt whether these statements are jokes from my side or not, don't worry. I'm in doubt, too, and Microsoft does not really explain the choices this time. Explanations don't seem necessary any more, other things are more important, things move on, and "developers, developers, developers" is history.

Interestingly, Delphi 1 source code made in 1996 still compiles with Delphi XE today, with the same GUI forms, and it still outperforms .net and Java on speed, while having a similar complexity level and developer productivity. Now, this is impressive technology.