Monday, November 1, 2010

Silverlight, Html5 and the future of Wcf


Update: Silverlight is alive and well! Microsoft clarifies that Silverlight is a strategic technology. Scott Guthrie promises that future features and tools will be revealed soon. I will update about anything which has relevancy to Wcf. This post is still very relevant to show the increasing importance of javascript clients, side-by-side with Silverlight clients.

Everybody talk about the "unofficial" announcement of Microsoft embracing Html5 over Silverlight. And while this was never approved (unless you read between the lines) the below may be a hint.

Yesterday Microsoft had published an "early access" codeplex project with some features from the next Wcf version. The two main themes seem to be native Http support and jQuery. And not a word about Silverlight. Will there ever be security in the SL netTcp transport? Will we see more WS-Security coverage from the Wcf stack? It seems jQuery improvements got a higher priority for this release. Is the Wcf early access project a hint for a focus shift from SL to Html5? (update: more SL features will be revealed soon, hopefully they include the above).

The planned jQuery support includes code generation for javascript clients, working with untyped json objects, Html forms submission and more.

So how does the Html5 thing affect Wcf?
This is definitely a big push to the Rest / Json / Anti WS-* approach (not that it needed it anyway). Silverlight did not support the full Wcf stack in version 4, but in theory nothing prevented it from growing into it in the next versions. Browsers in contrary cannot work with WS-Security and feel much more at home with Json over Xml. Also Rest is more natural for the web anyway.


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tatman said...

Another sign Sliverlight might be out the window: I heard a rumor that Microsoft bought Flash. If true, I suppose the purchase could be to get rid of the competition; but I think a more likely scenerio is XAML gets ported to flash.

Yaron Naveh (MVP) said...

Microsoft message last weekend was clear that open formats (like Html5) are better than proprietary ones. If they now embrace flash this can be a confusing message.

Anonymous said...

You might want to consider updating your post to reflect Microsoft's "offical" message that Silverlight is important and strategic. You don't want to be accused of joining the cut/copy/paste journalists that want people to view the ads on their page and don't care about the truth.. You also have an MVP Badge on your blog, show the honor and don't spread false information.

read more here

Yaron Naveh (MVP) said...

Hi Anonymous

Good idea, and update added to the post.

It has been published so far on many jQuery-related improvements in the next Wcf version. No Silverlight related features were announced. This means Microsoft expects more browsers to become WS consumers.

Scott has promised to reveal new SL stuff soon, and I'll be definitely waiting for (and posting on) any WS / networking improvements.