Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Daily Review: #1: Silverlight is Dead Conflict, Windows 8 on ARM

The Daily Review - 18th September 2011
Photo © Jiri Miklo |

Yet another day of conflict and name-calling between the "Silverlight is dead" and "Silverlight has a great future" camps.

The heat was stepped up a notch when Laurent Bugnion, Microsoft's Silverlight MVP of the Year and author of the MVVM Light Toolkit, posted his summary about last week's Microsoft Build Conference.

In his post My thoughts about Build Windows 8, WinRT, XAML and Silverlight Laurent called all those nasty 'Silverlight is dead' scaremongerers "dumbasses"

This was, of course, like red rag to a bull for some of us, including Scott Barnes, former Silverlight Product Manager. Read the comments to Laurent's post to follow the cat fight (Oops sorry, when I say 'cat fight' I do of course mean 'reasoned debate' ;-)) that resulted from Laurent's post and also moved on to Twitter.

Regardless of which side of the debate you sit on, I do think I deserve some credit for only using the word 'shill' once in my comment on Laurent's post ;-) And if you think I've been too mean implying Laurent might be a bit of a 'shill' just remember I'm 'Ian the dumbass' ;-)

There's a lot more on the whole Silverlight is dead - FUD or not? subject in the 'Opinion' links at the end of today's report, but have no doubt this one will (unfortunately) run and run and refuse to go away, just like it has over the last 12 months.

Laurent is not the only one who's been posting his thoughts on the new announcements over the last 24 hours. Now that folks are arriving back home from Build, many are showing they have as bad an understanding of work/life balance as I do, by blogging madly on what was revealed over the last few days.

There's a whole list of different articles, all pretty much restating the same basic thoughts, in the "Opionion" Links section towards the end of this report. If you read just two of those links, make sure it's Rocky Lhotka 's blog post WinRT and Business Apps and Dan Wahlin's Why I'm excited about Windows 8, although I can't help feeling that Scott Barnes has a point when he says "If your blog post is about #win8 and you feel the need to distance yourself from #fanboi in first paragraph.... sorry, you failed :-)".

I think Rocky hits the nail on the head when he says "the big thing about Win8 and Metro style apps is that these apps have a different lifetime and a different user experience model. The last time we underwent such a dramatic change in the way Windows apps worked was when we moved from Windows 3.1 (or Windows for Workgroups) to Windows 95.".

Sea Change with Windows 8

Did Microsoft lie when they said Windows would run on ARM?

The other big story of the day has been the reaction to the announcement that only Metro Style apps would run on ARM devices. This announcement was buried in a briefing to financial analysts, but word soon got out that Microsoft had 'lied' when they stated back in February that all Windows applications would run on ARM devices. Infoworld's Windows 8 ARM Chips: It was Too Good to be True has all the details of Microsoft's seemingly deliberate diversionary tactics and subterfuge.

Microsoft bent the truth with its Windows on ARM story

I'll be back tomorrow with more 'dumbass' and 'grumpy old developer' thoughts and links of what's been posted on Windows 8 over the next 24 hours.

Today's "Opinion Piece" Links

Must read Windows 8 ARM Chips: It Was Too Good to be True (Infoworld)
Apparently you can't call Microsoft a liar, you have to point out that what they said in February was 'too good to be true' instead!
Good read My Thoughts about Build, Windows8, WinRT, XAML and Silverlight (Laurent Bugnion)
In the comments to this post Laurent is accused of being a 'cheerleader', and then I wade in and hint that I think he might have become a 'shill'. Laurent says this is because I'm "old and grumpy" , which is rather like pointing out that the sky is blue. You know people have lost an argument when all they can do is throw your own labels back at you! Nevertheless the main post makes some good points and should be considered essential rose-tinted reading! :-P
Good read Why I'm excited about Windows 8 (Dan Wahlin)
Another Microsoft MVP wades in, explaining that he's not a Microsoft fanboi. No really, he's not. There's good stuff in this article, regardless, and Dan's ability to work with many different technologies shines through.
Good read Welcome to Zombieland, the Metro Style Land of WinRT and the Undead (Rene Schulte)
"Don't give FUD a chance", says Rene. Does that mean he's advising everyone to switch to Javascript, HTML and CSS development? Erm... not quite! ;-)
Good read Has Microsoft finally carved a path to the post-PC Era with Windows 8? (Moco News)
Good speculation on Microsoft's fortunes vs those of Apple and Google.
Good read Reflections on Microsoft Build 2011 (Tim Anderson, IT Writing)
Tim Anderson provides another excellent mix of summary technical info with personal insight,as he collects his thoughts on the last 5 days of the Microsoft Build Conference
Good read Windows 8 to Include Phone Calling Capability? (Long Zheng)
Wondering why there was no mention at all of Skype at the Build conference?The inimitable Long Zheng spotted a 'Missed Calls' tile on one of the Powerpoint slides shown at the Build conference, and speculates that Windows 8 PCs may have phone calling capability added.
OK So what does Windows 8 mean for .NET? (Dennis Doomen)
Good overview although I can't agree with the author's comments calling 'Bullshit' on InfoQ who've done a pretty good job on dispassionately covering Build, and his final paragraph, to me, screams 'echo chamber shill' :-P
OK NerdStalker podcast talks about the Build Conference (Nerd Stalker)
The usual podcast format - two guys chatting at length about a topic - this week Microsoft Build. Available in video and audio format. In the podcast they claim only 3 hours battery life for the 'early' Build giveaway Windows 8 tablet! So much for all those tweets saying the tablet with Windows 8 totally trounced the iPad! :-(

Today's "Technical" Links

Bookmark it! 75 Must Learn HTML5 Resources to Master Your Web Development
Not enough hours in the day for all of these, but an excellent set of resources nonetheless.
Bookmark it! RIA Services Update for //Build (Jeff Handley)
Confused by all the different versions of WCF RIA Services and which ones will run where? The answers are here.
Good read First Look at Windows 8 Application as a Developer (Andrej Tojon)
Extremely basic, but concise, first look at how Metro Application Style apps run and integrate with Charms.
Good read Windows 8 Tips and Tricks for Mouse and Keyboard Users (WinRumors)
If you don't have a Touch device you'll find this guide invaluable to finding your way around the scary new world of Windows 8.
Good read Metro .NET Framework Profile ("Windows Tailored") (Sasha Goldshtein)
Another basic, but good, introductory piece about .NET profiles, and where the Metro profile fits in.
Good read Fixing the makepri.exe Error on Windows 8 (Bil Simser)
If you download the basic Windows 8 client without tools, perhaps because you want more than the Express versions and have an MSDN license, there's a nasty makepri.exe bug that will cause problems with the Visual Studio 2011 install. Bil explains the issue and how to get around it.
Good read Demystifying the Windows 8 Grid Application (Bil Simser)
Wondering what's happening behind the scenes when you click on that Windows 8 Grid Application template in Visual Studio 2011? Bil Simser's been having a look.
Good read To Make a Metro Appx Package from Scratch, you must first... (Peter Nelson)
Peter writes and builds up a Metro package from scratch almost entirely by hand, in an attempt to discover what Visual Studio 2011 is doing behind the scenes.
Bookmark it! Windows 8 for the IT Pro (Ned Pyle, Active Directory Services team)
Ned's not a fan of blog posts that are mainly links apparently :-S. Nevertheless his own link list is very useful for those of us who weren't paying enough attention to all the Server-side announcements at Build.
Good read Using Audit Control Services in Metro Style Applications (Vittorio Bertocci, MSFT)
Vittorio dives into the Travel Management application that was demo'ed at one of the keynotes to this year's Build conference.
Good read New Task Manager Functionality in Windows 8 (Henk Hoogendoorn)
Henk has a bunch of screenshots showing off the new Windows 8 Task Manager.

Today's "Fun Stuff" Links

Download it! HTML5 HD Wallpapers (Armando Martinez)
Some very nice 3D HTML5 logo Windows desktop wallpapers, supplied in 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 format. My new desktop wallpaper!
Watch it! Silverlight's Curtain Call (video) (Scott Barnes)
The mischievous Mr Barnes has been at it again, but I'm still chuckling at this 'homage' to Mr Sinofsky 24 hours after first seeing it.

Fast and fluid News

Don't forget that all the latest Windows 8 Metro links are posted in 'real time' on the Fast and fluid Twitter account.
The 'Installing Windows 8 64-bit on a 32-bit Windows Laptop' blog post I promised yesterday should be posted later this evening or early tomorrow.
The Fast and Fluid Podcast, covering all things Windows 8 related, will be launched later this month.


  1. Dead or not... What is definitelly alive is HTML5+CSS3+Javascript. No argument in that. :) As well as MVC

  2. @Robert Indeed. Although HTML/CSS/JS definitely feels like a stupid step backwards. So sick of different browser implementations.

    ASP.NET MVC is on much firmer ground. Really need to brush up my skills on that. Being focussed on client-end and Silverlight for far too long.

  3. @Ian: While you've kept all ten fingers of yours deep in Silverlight I've been developing heavy MVC + HTML/CSS/JS + Ajax applications.

    Good news is that:

    1. browsers these days aren't that different any more as they used to be;
    2. using libraries like jQuery and Modernizr (especially jQuery) make it quite seamless to work with different browsers;
    3. the no-plugins policy in IE 10 Metro full screen UI may not mean death to Flash and other plugins but much likely death to IE which is a rather welcome addition to web applications.

    So all in all, HTML/CSS/JS became a much more pleasant environment for developers.

    But apart from that: has anybody tried running Acid3 against IE10 Preview? What's the score?


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