The confusion in the development community was almost palpable. Almost immediately, the gossip started to spread. Has Microsoft ditched .Net? What about Silverlight? I’ve been learning this stuff for years and you’re telling me it’s all gone? That sort of stuff. Real knee-jerk fear reactions.
After the dust settled on this announcement, I knew that there was no way Microsoft would just abandon their other development platforms. Sure, WPF is probably on its way out, by Silverlight is going from strength to strength and Microsoft had also just announced Silverlight 5, so this platform was going nowhere. It made sense to me that Microsoft would continue to use these platforms, whilst also introducing a new one.
Another sticking point is that HTML 5 is still unfinished, so Microsoft wouldn’t really be too wise in throwing away established technologies in favour of something that won’t in all likelihood be fully specified for at least another eighteen months. HTML 5 may be the future, but in the same fashion as Google’s Chrome OS, a move to using only HTML 5 would be ahead of it’s time.
So when the Build conference comes around in September, I think we’ll see a few announcements. Firstly, I think Silverlight 5 will play a big part in the Windows 8 development vision. This makes sense as this platform is replacing WPF. Secondly, I think Microsoft will release a new API that’s based on a new HTML 5 platform. This might be limited to the new Start UI to begin with, but it’s something Microsoft will probably evolve over time.
I, for one, welcome our new HTML 5 overlords.