A word or two about Microsoft Silverlight

Silverlight is another symbol of the fleeting nature of software technology. Back in 2008, it was heralded as the new way of writing web software. Within a couple of years, it became the place to be and the technology of the century. Then a poisoned arrow shot it in the heel, and it just died overnight. Yet a bunch of companies out there are stuck with significant investments in presentation layers built with Silverlight. Silverlight still works and will work for the foreseeable future.

As mentioned, just because a technology is not updated, it doesn’t mean it stops working all of a sudden. At the same time, as a user of that technology, you must consider what you should do and how to move away from it. You need to find a valid alternative approach to rebuilding your presentation at some point. How should you replace Silverlight?

There are not all that many options. I’d say there’s just one option— using HTML5. The next issue, then, is how to package up the user interface defined with HTML5. In this case, too, I don’t see that many options. There are just two. You can go with a full single-page application (SPA) or use a mix of server and client code hosted in some ASP.NET container.

Which container? ASP.NET MVC. In this context, you can still find a bunch of component suites that simplify development and deliver a development experience similar to Silverlight. Quite likely, the same vendors who helped you with Silverlight can help you build a nice user interface on top of HTML5. Later in the chapter, I’ll define this approach—which is a mix of server and client code—for creating a hybrid SPA.


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