HTML5 and Silverlight 5 showdown on the Vegas cards for MIX11

By Tom Warren, on 26th Jan 11 11:15 am with 2 Comments

Microsoft is planning to address the Silverlight vs HTML5 war of words at this years MIX11 conference.

The software giant’s annual web and developer conference kicks off on April 12 this year in Las Vegas. MIX is aimed at professionals who design and build the latest web sites. For the second year in a row, Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management, and is responsible for the design and software product definition of forthcoming generations of Windows phones will keynote MIX again. Belfiore will also be joined by Scott Guthrie, who heads Microsoft’s .NET Developer Platform. Guthrie runs the development teams responsible for delivering Silverlight, Visual Studio and the .NET Framework technologies for building client and Web applications.

Registration for MIX 2011 opened this week and Microsoft has posted a list of potential sessions online. The company is asking users to vote for their favorites to ensure they are included on the full agenda. The Next Web and Mary Jo Foley have found a number of sessions that appear to detail some softies opinions of the latest web war.

From the description of a talk entitled HTML5 and CSS3: The Future of the Web:

“If you develop web applications but haven’t started looking at HTML5 and CSS3, it’s time. These technologies are going to change the way web applications work in the future. Things that you used to have to use SilverLight, Flash, or custom/dynamic images for, you can now do with a single line of code.”

And from a talk proposal entitled Semantic Web with Silverlight:

“Learn how Silverlight is the only tool which can provide the key ingredients for Semantic Web, the best possible performance, richest user interface, most widespread reach, hardware support, and privacy, and how it will always be better than HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript combined.”

The Next Web has dug even deeper, and it gets even better. There is yet another talk entitled HTML5 from our Silverlight Perspective:

“Do Silverlight and HTML5 truly coexist? Contrary to popular belief there is [not] a lot of feature parity between Silverlight and HTML5. HTML5 is in it’s infancy as a technology while Silverlight is really coming into its own. There is a great opportunity for learning based on comparison.”

The sessions are just proposals for possible content at MIX11 but they do demonstrate that a HTML5 and Silverlight showdown is on the cards at Las Vegas this April. The software giant went on damage in November after comments by Microsoft’s Bob Muglia. Microsoft revealed their strategy had “shifted” for Silverlight in an interview with Mary Jo Foley at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October. Bob Muglia admitted to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley that “HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything”. Muglia made his comments at a time when Silverlight developers were crying out for information on the future direction of Silverlight and any hints at Silverlight 5.

Microsoft is likely to debut its public beta of Silverlight 5 at MIX 2011. Scott Guthrie, who heads Microsoft’s .NET Developer Platform, announced Microsoft’s plans for Silverlight 5 at a special developer event in December last year. Microsoft has promised to deliver a public beta in the second quarter of 2011 with a final release by the end of the year. Guthrie describes Silverlight 5 as a “major new release” which brings significant enhancements to media support. Silverlight 5 will include hardware media decoding to stream 1080p video on Netbooks. Microsoft will also deliver a 64-bit version of Silverlight with version 5.

  • Aethec

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  • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

    Unless the toolset and browsers radically change applications Silverlight will always have a huge edge over HTML5 for application development. There is a level of functionality that you just cannot get within the HTML5/Javascript world.

    The tools will undoubtedly improve, but it doesn’t disguise the fact that the entire HTML spec is very bloated, archaic, fragmented, and takes forever to improve. While everyone was trying to agree on an HTML5 spec Silverlight went through 4 versions already and is based on modern development techniques.

    HTML has always been the equivalent of forcing a round peg in a square hole as develpers try to creates sophisticated applications out of a technology that was never designed for sophisticated applications in the first place…

    That said If you’re looking at adding additional glitz to your website for those browsers that can support it or you’re creating an *simple* app that will target many mobile devices then HTML5 is definately your answer.

    My hope is that Microsoft will be porting a version of Silverlight to Android… They already voiced that they wouldn’t mind creating a Silverlight runtime for the iPhone if Apple would let them and at one point they did create a beta runtime for Symbian.

    It would be nice if they fufilled the idea of “Silverlight Everywhere”.