Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Place your bets!

The answer is yes. Microsoft is killing off Silverlight. Don’t underestimate the truth said in the PDC keynote: Microsoft is going the HTML5 way.

But this is not a review of the he said/she said MS is playing for the last week. It’s about the risks associated with selecting a technology, or making an architecture decision.

Let’s look at recent history: two years ago, Microsoft killed of LINQ to SQL, replacing it with LINQ to Entities and the Entity framework.

This year Microsoft has made another killing (pun intended): this time it’s Iron Ruby and Iron Python. The method of euthanasia: putting the projects into the community’s hands.

This is not the first time, nor the last time that Microsoft will be killing something that many organizations have invested heavily in (or in the best case, were merely interested in). Microsoft is taking business decisions, and there’s a fallout.

I’ve written before how Microsoft makes bad developers. In that post, I described the way Windows developers rely on Microsoft to provide guidance and tools. The immanent death of Silverlight is another side of the the same coin: The Microsoft addicts (e.g. we), don’t know what to do when the supply of the drug is cut.

This is vendor locking. We’re betting on the wrong horse and need to live with the consequences. Some say the answer is open source platforms. Once you own the entire code you can control your destiny. Others rely on standards to save them (Microsoft said they are moving to HTML5 because they will not be able to get Silverlight one every possible platform, but HTML5 will be on every platform.)

So what do we do?

We continue to bet. We move services to the cloud. We’re learning the new async keywords. We build on top of AIR. We do what we can to meet our business needs. 

And if needed, we cut our losses and bet on another horse.

Gil Zilberfeld

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