The Future of Silverlight & CRM

Walk In The Shadows…

Over the last couple of weeks, many of you have asked about the the future of Silverlight as a development tool for CRM 2011. This followed an interview given by Bob Muglia (President of the Server and Tools Division at Microsoft) at the PDC 2010 conference, in which he stated that our Silverlight strategy had shifted, and that our cross-platform efforts would now focus on HTML5.

As you can imagine, this left a lot of customers, partners and internal Microsoft folk confused, because for the last couple of years we have been pushing Silverlight as our cross-platform (at least as far as PC and Mac) development platform. A few days later, Bob posted an article on the Silverlight Team blog that helped clarify what he said in the interview that caused the controversy.  You can read his post here.

In his blog post the key talking point is that Silverlight is, and will remain, our strategic platform for:

  • Client Apps (both inside and outside the browser), with a particular emphasis on enterprise business applications.
  • Apps that run on Devices. Silverlight is now the client programming model for Windows Phone and Windows Embedded (which includes things like TVs).
  • Media Solutions. Silverlight will continue to pioneer premium media capabilities and experiences.

If you think about enterprise business applications such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, most developers in this space are skilled in tools such as .Net or Java, not HTML/JavaScript/CSS. Silverlight provides a very familiar .Net programming model for building rich, interactive user experiences, that integrate with enterprise services and heterogeneous data sources. Add to that cross Window & Mac support, and you have a great UX platform that a .Net developer already knows how to use.
From a personal perspective, I struggle (and probably always will) to get to grips with HTML/JavaScript/CSS because I am heavily steeped in the world of strongly-typed, managed languages such as VB & C#, and my brain doesn’t “get” dynamic languages. I know many Enterprise and ISV developer have exactly the same issue, so sticking with Silverlight is really my only option. As far a Dynamics CRM is concerned, we have invested significantly in Silverlight support for the upcoming CRM 2011 release, so you should have no worries about continuing to use Silverlight to build your custom user experiences.

If you want to hear about the future of Silverlight from the “horses mouth”, then why not register to attend (in-person or online) the 1-day Silverlight Firestarter event on 2nd December 2010, where Scott Guthrie (Corporate Vice President, .NET Developer Platform) will be covering this topic  in detail.

The Future Of Silverlight December 2010

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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