Would you bet on WPF, Silverlight or HTML5?

There’s nothing like someone saying some technology is “dead” to really create a storm. It’s even more of a controversial thing when it’s said by a former Microsoft Product Manager for Silverlight about what many consider a key technology for Microsoft i.e. WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).

Scott Barnes, made some interesting statements on where he thought WPF, Silverlight and HTML5 were headed in the overall Microsoft Strategy. His overall assertion was that WPF was on a road to nowhere and that most of the internal love was for Silverlight and increasingly for HTML5. This even prompted Scott Guthrie of Microsoft who manages the teams that builds these products to state


I have no special insight into whether Scott Barnes is right and I’ve no reason to believe that someone as respected and trusted as “The Gu” is not being honest.

My own insight and thoughts on this, with 20 years experience, in the technology/software industry is that I would be very surprised if there weren’t tensions between product groups at Microsoft. I think that is the nature of a large corporate business like Microsoft and I’m sure the Windows 7 team doesn’t like the Managed Code .NET teams and possibly views it with suspicion. It might explain the reason that we’ve not seen any WPF app built into Vista/Windows 7. I have previously blogged and stated at Microsoft Partner  meetings why Microsoft wasn’t porting more of it’s own apps to WPF? Something even as less controversial as Windows Live Messenger remains as a standard Windows app.

Betting on technologies is what we do and we do it for and with our customers everyday. I know that often the range of technologies/solutions from Microsoft are quite large but from my experience customers do need choice as to how they build solutions. Even if Microsoft had only one way to build apps then people are sill faced with a wide choice of building software whether that be Java, PHP, C/C++, Python, Ruby, Objective C, Adobe Air and running it on different platforms.

The fundamental principle behind WPF/Silverlight that we needed to bridge the gap between UI designers and developers was a sound one, and that by having a declarative language like XAML we could do valuable stuff easily/quickly without hardcore programming in C# or VB.NET was absolutely right. It’s true to say that we haven’t seen a huge rush for people to build WPF apps and that Silverlight has probably been more successful. I have just installed the new Seesmic Desktop 2 Beta which is built on the out of browser Silverlight capability.

There is now talk of HTML5 killing Silverlight and I guess by inference Adobe Flash as well and I saw an article today saying whether it will kill Javascript. It is with little doubt that HTML5 is going to be a very important move in web based applications. HTML is a funny old beast! It’s one of those technologies which was designed to give a very basic user experience because we are essentially working with the lowest common denominator to get a uniform experience, i.e uniformly bad!!. We then had more stuff pushed to the browser with Flash for more interactive experiences and then AJAX and more recently Silverlight. HTML5 is still developing as a specification whereas Silverlight is here and now and provides a great set of developer/designer tools and capabilities.

Obviously, we have some “big beasts” backing HTML5 such as Apple & Google. Microsoft cannot be seen to backing away on HTML5 because it’s been there and done that before. That’s why it’s been quick to release the public beta of IE9.

So, which do you back? Well, I think it does really depend but it’s still a very good bet to be backing Microsoft technologies!

Change, Change, Change

As they say, the only constant thing in life is change! As of today, iQubed no longer exists as a separate entity in the Microsoft Partner Programme and has been merged with Ardent iSys. This means that Ardent iSys takes on all the assets and qualifications of iQubed and the Small Business Specialist designation. I’ve also asked some of my customers for the required references for the Networking Infrastructure Competency, actually we only need one more (as it had expired). Once the references are in place we’ll pay the fee and take Ardent iSys to Certified Partner status.

We’re busy putting in plans to support our developers in India to become Microsoft Certified Professional Developers (MCPD) and then complete the Custom Development Solutions Competency. I will then be visiting the team later on this year which I’m really looking forward to.

So, iQubed is still a limited company in its own right but the growth is happening around our outsourced software development business Ardent iSys Ltd. The feedback from clients has been very positive because of the emphasis we place on building relationships and being customer focused. The fact Ashish and I are here in the UK where are clients are based puts us in a great position over other Outsourcing Companies from India. But our plans are not to remain just that because if that was all that we did the business would not survive long term.

There will be further changes as I register a new domain name for the blog and start to talk more about Ardent iSys.

VSeWSS version 1.2 – still no 64 bit Support

Well, the Sharepoint Product Group might be "very excited" and "super jazzed" about the new version of Visual Studio Extenstions for WSS for Visual Studio 2008, but it still won’t install on VS 2008 running on 64 bit Vista. Loads of questions on the Sharepoint Team Blog about this point but no answers. Question to Microsoft is, are we moving to a 64 bit world or not??

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Google App Engine Opened to All

Google has opened its App Engine to everyone which allows developers to build applications on the same infrastructure as it uses for its applications. The service is free for up to 500MB of storage and 5 million page views per month after which you’ll have to start paying. You’ll also have to write your applications in Python as well but if you’re a developer of any worth you should be able to adapt to any programming language. Things just got a whole lot more interesting and it seems Google is saying to the likes of Microsoft, “bring it on”! Choice is good and healthy for customers and in truth for the competing companies as well but I’m sure they wouldn’t admit that!

Here are some articles from O’Reillynet to get you started on Cloud Development

Getting Started with the Google App Engine

Creating Applications with Amazon EC2 and S3

I’m off to install Python on Ubuntu!!!

Virtual WPF Bootcamp – FREE

Yep, it’s FREE and no need to register for this 3-day Virtual WPF Bootcamp. Everything you need to learn about developing in Windows Presentation Foundation. Dust off the Visual Studio 2005 Standard Ed discs you got in the Action Pack and put it to some good use. Great idea by Microsoft and I’m looking forward to other sessions on Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Blend 2.0. Now if only I had any designs skills :-(

MSDN Event – Birmingham

I was at the MSDN Event in Birmingham this afternoon entitled “Overview of Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5″ presented by Daniel Moth and Mike Taulty of the Microsoft Developer Group. I was really glad I went because it convinced me that I should start using Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2. Daniel did a good job of convincing me that VS 2008 was a true superset of VS 2005 and as the CLR has stayed the same from Framework 2.0 -> 3.0 -> 3.5 then there’s no great problem. Framework 3.5 is a superset of the preceeding Frameworks. The headline feature in .NET 3.5 is the new language construct called LINQ (Language Integrated Query). Think of it as a SQL like syntax for working with all sorts different data types, be they objects, datasets or databases. This really shows the power of the .NET runtime, that such new language constructs can be developed without any changes in the underlying CLR. So, you’re just getting the compiler to do some clever stuff for you and produce the appropriate IL.

What you get in VS 2008 is a really productive environment with intellisense and they’ve added the Expression Web editors for CSS support. Having been using Expression Web and Sharepoint Designer 2007 recently, these are really great tools. Also, VS 2008 has extensions for doing things like Sharepoint Workflow, Office Business Applications, etc all built in. Also, it’s got new Visual designer for WPF, so it you’re wanting to do Vista based development then this is the tool of choice.

Right, I’m off to download VS 2008 Beta 2 and Framework 3.5 from my MSDN Subscription…

MSDN Event – Birmingham

MSDN Event – Overview of Visual Sudio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5

The event is on 26th September 2007 at 14.15 at the Lakeside Centre, Suite 1, Aston University, University Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET

Presented by Daniel Moth and Mike Taulty

Register Here



Mono Overview from ONLamp

This ONLamp Article gives a great overview of Mono which is an implementation of .NET on Linux and the Mono guys have also been working hard on getting Silverlight working for Linux as well with some good progress.

MIX UK 07 – Sign up for £199

Andy Parkes just reminded me about MIX UK 07 event down in London on 11/12th September. Maybe not quite as cool as the Las Vegas event where they had the Pussy Cat Dolls! But you still get to see Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s GM within the Developer Division. Unfortunately, I can’t make it but at £199 seems a bargain to me.

Developing for Facebook

I think one of the successes of Facebook is that they’ve opened up the platform to developers.

I spotted that Miguel had highlighted some Mono based application work with Facebook.

Nice work and well worth a looksey!

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