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Silverlight Over WebAssembly RRS feed

  • Question

  • WebAssembly threatens to reverse the trend away from browser plugins toward HTML/JavaScript:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/31/webassembly_browser_makers_buy_in/

    WebAssembly is essentially a sanboxed way to deploy native binaries in to a browser. It seems to be supported by the major technology companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple, and is spear headed by the W3C.

    So, this raises an obvious question, is there a future for Silverlight, or something similar to WPF (Avalonia?) deployed in to a browser via WebAssembly?

    Can we speculate about what Microsoft plans to do here? Is there an open source project underway to allow something like Silverlight to be deployed over WebAssembly? Is there a future for browser based runtime environments like Silverlight after all?


    Wednesday, November 2, 2016 11:06 PM

All replies

  • To be sure here, the only "future" Silverlight has is that of the planned support cycle that MSFT has promised until 2021:

    https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/webapps/2014/01/16/silverlight-support-roadmap/

    Otherwise, to continue it as currently designed would probably be a mistake six (or 7) years after it has been put to rest, unless extensive efforts were made to update its UX behavior to reflect (or even exceed) modern day expectations.  I think the best bet is to:

    - Make UWP Cross-platform (.NET Core)

    - Add WebAssembly as a target platform to .NET Core

    - Rally behind Avalonia as a community and really make it sing on all of the above.

    Then we will have reattained and fulfilled the promise that Silverlight started over a decade ago.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 5:15 AM
  • Yes. I think you are spot on.

    Although, I doubt UWP will ever become a cross platform technology...

    Avalonia looks excellent. However, Microsoft could just open source Silverlight, and then Avalonia would more or less be redundant.

    extensive efforts were made to update its UX behavior to reflect (or even exceed) modern day expectations.

    We put a lot of work in to making Silverlight touch friendly, and in some ways UWP is a backwards step.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 5:39 AM
  • We put a lot of work in to making Silverlight touch friendly, and in some ways UWP is a backwards step.

    You mean in a LOT of ways. ;)  The Xaml system is the worst you could imagine, as if they purposefully tried to make it that bad.  Btw, feel free to chime in with this conversation here to get System.Xaml moved to .NET Core.

    Microsoft could just open source Silverlight, and then Avalonia would more or less be redundant.

    Not so fast. :)  Silverlight is still technically a Win32 application, and all of its calls are ultimately routed as such.  Avalonia is based on .NET Core and is much more cross-platform (and therefore performant on target platforms).

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 5:59 AM

  • Not so fast. :)  Silverlight is still technically a Win32 application, and all of its calls are ultimately routed as such.  Avalonia is based on .NET Core and is much more cross-platform (and therefore performant on target platforms).

    That's exactly why I think Silverlight should be open sourced. I think that the Silverlight graphics library would be a perfect candidate for being ported to .NET Core. What I would like to see ultimately is a merge between Avalonia and Silverlight so that the process is sped up. There's no time to waste. HTML/JavaScript are at the gates and there's no telling how long we can hold them off for.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 4:28 AM
  • Hi MelbourneDeveloper,

    Thanks for your feedback for Silverlight.

    There has other communities who has the same requirement for open source Silverlight and they have submit this requirement to Visual Studio User Voice. Please vote and add your comments to this feedback.

    https://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio-ide/suggestions/5042512-open-source-silverlight

    Best Regards,
    Weiwei


    MSDN Community Support
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    Friday, November 4, 2016 7:33 AM
    Moderator
  • I truly believe that this is the right path for Microsoft. Clearly, the community wants Silverlight to be open sourced. Why is Avalonia (essentially Silverlight take 2), starting from scratch when Microsoft is hanging on to the entire Silverlight graphics engine code base?

    It's becoming increasingly clear that there is a really deep problem for developers that are not building HTML/JavaScript apps. If we build on UWP, we are not targeting other platforms - not even browsers. If we build on Xamarin Forms, we are not targeting browsers.

    If the Silverlight engine were open sourced, it could be forked in to the .NET Core environment which would be a complete cross-platform solution. This would offer a fast tracked solution of the immediate problem that there is currently no true cross-platform environment to build on except for maybe something like React or Cordova.

    Sunday, November 6, 2016 10:12 PM
  • Hi MelbourneDeveloper,

    I don't get any news about Silverlight to be open sourced from Microsoft at present. If any news about this news, I will update the news here as soon as possible.

    Thanks for your understanding.

    Best Regards,
    Weiwei


    MSDN Community Support
    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if not. This can be beneficial to other community members reading this thread. If you have any compliments or complaints to MSDN Support, feel free to contact MSDNFSF@microsoft.com.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2016 2:57 AM
    Moderator
  • Waiting desperately for a MS backed toolchain like SL. With WebAssembly on the horizon this goal hopefully comes closer. MS please hurry before the realm of JS/HTML5 rules the world ... JS cannot be the future, it`s two steps back. Bernd
    Tuesday, November 8, 2016 4:50 PM
  • Waiting desperately for a MS backed toolchain like SL. With WebAssembly on the horizon this goal hopefully comes closer. MS please hurry before the realm of JS/HTML5 rules the world ... JS cannot be the future, it`s two steps back. Bernd

    You read my mind!

    We're being forced in to JavaScript/HTML territory right now.

    Please Microsoft, jump on Web Assembly and open source Silverlight ASAP!

    Please don't make us build websites. It's just cruel.
    Wednesday, November 9, 2016 1:23 AM
  • Has anyone heard anything about this?

    WebAssembly is looking great. I can't see any reason as to why a runtime environment like Silverlight couldn't be compiled to work on WebAssembly. Or, failing that - a iOS Xamarin like native version of .NET that sits on WebAssembly.

    Here is another thread about the topic:

    http://forums.dotnetfoundation.org/t/does-compiling-net-code-including-ui-technology-to-webassembly-sound-reasonable/1414

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017 11:18 PM
  • Hey MelbourneDeveloper!  I haven't heard much more about this, but I did have a personal conversation with Mr. de Icaza where he did confirm that Mono is being ported over to WebAssembly.  We might even have a demo here in the next few months.

    That said, I am still wary about WebAssembly.  I would love to see it take off, but having MSFT/GOOG/APPL *all* agree on one thing has me spooked.  So, I've been looking into an alternative.

    That alternative is: virtualized client applications.  Check out XenApp:

    https://www.citrix.com/lp/xenapp-xendesktop/wwsem0216xa_appvirt_brand/

    You can think of it as a remote desktop connection in a webpage, and iOS, and Droid.  It will allow you to create a WPF application and run it in all of those platforms.  The "catch" is that it has to always be online, and right now it is only for LOB (domain-joined) scenarios.

    I have put a request into Citrix to consider public/anonymous scenarios here:

    https://discussions.citrix.com/topic/386823-feature-request-xenapp-powered-public-websites

    Please feel free to send your thoughts to that thread and let them know what you think about this idea. :)

    Thursday, June 8, 2017 1:35 AM