The choice of technology for delivering UX is getting wider. Three years back it would have been (in most cases) a simple choice of Windows Forms or HTML+JScript. Today ISVs are trying to pick a UX technology which will serve them well for the next 5 or 10 years. The choices include:
- HTML + AJAX http://www.asp.net/ajax/
- Windows Forms http://windowsclient.net
- Windows Presentation Forms
- Silverlight 1.0 http://silverlight.net/Default.aspx
- Silverlight 1.1 (adding .NET support) (a great blog entry by Conchango)
- Office 2007 (Inside Word or Excel or...) (Office Business Applications)
- Sharepoint 2007 (As Web Parts, BDC etc)
Not to mention UX frameworks such as:
- Smart Client Software Factory http://www.codeplex.com/smartclient
- Project Acropolis http://windowsclient.net/acropolis/
The old days of HTML vs Windows Forms were simple enough for an ISV to navigate and make a choice. But the above list begins to show just how difficult the choice is today. Silverlight (IMHO) really does make the choice significantly more difficult.
Why? Well - I can either:
- Rapidly build a rich, interactive, visually appealing client using Windows Forms (or WPF) which will only run on Windows XP and above and require a large install of .NET Framework. Potentially they will need to use technologies such as Terminal Services for certain customers. The client potentially can work great offline.
- I can more slowly (for now!) build a rich, interactive, visually appealing client using Silverlight which will run on Windows XP and above and Mac OS X and Linux and require a very small client side install. They client needs to be online.
Right now building a 100+ screen LOB application in Silverlight 1.0 would take a very, very long time. Silverlight 1.1 will significantly change that.
Hmmmmm......interesting. Definitely a technology every ISV should understand.