The recent comments coming out of Microsoft, and the relative absence of Silverlight sessions at this year's PDC, have convinced most reasonable programmers that all is not well with our favorite cross-platform development environment - perhaps cross-purpose would be a better description. Microsoft seems to want to embrace HTML5 as some sort of way forward in web applications leaving Silverlight as a legacy technology.
Well that's the very strong impression they have been giving - but just as you thought it was all too late we now have a retraction of all the nasty comments and even have a special PDC day devoted to Silverlight. Of course as PDC is over it can't really be a standard PDC day. Instead what Microsoft have cooked up is the Silverlight Firestarter. This is a one-day, global, live-streamed and on-demand event with Scott Guthrie giving the keynote, The future of Silverlight.
Well as much as I admire Scott Guthrie he really isn't going to start off with "Silverlight is more or less dead go elsewhere for your advanced development environment". So I suppose we know what he will have to say - Silverlight is great, and it's got a future.
The rest of the Firestarter is fairly standard stuff with lectures on data binding, Rest and LINQ, RIA services, MVVM, tips and tricks, performance tuning, and performance tuning for Phone 7. While the Microsoft advertising might say
It’s just like an extra day of PDC, dedicated to Silverlight
it really isn't and it really only serves to heighten the fact that Silverlight was missing from PDC.
The more you say sorry and try to make it up the more it just draws attention to the initial error. Even the title "Firestarter" suggests that Silverlight has had a bit of slow start and is sure to annoy any Silverlight developer who has invested months of work and is probably not in need of a "Firestarter".
Microsoft really needs to stop digging because the hole is getting deeper.
What might convince developers that Microsoft is as much behind Silverlight as they are is for some commitment to wider platform independence. For example, Silverlight might be the development platform for Phone 7 but it isn't supported in the browser. Also it might be more convincing ig Microsoft stopped converting existing Silverlight websites to HTML5.
You can tell when some one is enthusiastic about something - they not only talk about it a lot, they use it and back it.
Silverlight is alive and well
Silverlight is dead, long live Silverlight?
Windows and .NET - the coming storm
WPF & Silverlight at risk from Microsoft's passion for HTML5
Silverlight better than HTML5?