Silverlight and Windows 8 by Chad Smith

Developers! Developers! Developers!  We all remember our favorite Monkey Man Steve Ballmer screaming that in the now famous intro a few years ago.  But this time, Microsoft forgot their developers. 

Earlier this month at D9, Microsoft showed its Windows 8 tablet interface for the first time.  When asked how developers could write apps for it, the company answered “HTML5 and JavaScript.” 

Huh?  What about Silverlight?  What about .NET?  What about…?  What about…?

So for the rest of the month, developers have been scrambling and screaming at Microsoft.  

By leaving out any mention of Silverlight, Microsoft execs led many to believe that HTML5 and JavaScript would be the only way to write immersive apps for Windows 8 that will be available via the coming Windows App Store.

Thousands of Silverlight developers on Microsoft’s forum pages are asking why there was no mention of Silverlight or .NET in the vendor’s brief video preview of the upcoming operating system.

Microsoft community manager Pete Brown told developers that “none of us at Microsoft can say anything” until Microsoft’s BUILD event in September.

Meanwhile lots of things are coming such as Silverlight for XBox.  Whatever Microsoft has planned, I think Silverlight is a big part of it.  Microsoft is even readying a new application model codenamed “Jupiter” that will allow developers to create Silverlight based applications and deploy them as AppX packages (.appx).  The packages will be part of the new Windows application store, that will come with with Windows 8. 

It seems that Silverlight is not going anywhere.  Microsoft, you need to let your developers know.  Now.  Blackberry is currently making their developers angry with their fragmenting platform…causing mass defections to iOS.  Microsoft has legions of some of the most talented developers in the world.  Take care of them.  Don’t make them mad.  

Microsoft needs to say more and they need to say more now.