Developer

Poll: Is the Silverlight stack too complex?

Justin James thinks the Silverlight stack requires too much learning to attract developers to the platform. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know by taking the poll.

I recently got into a debate online regarding Windows Phone 7, and my basic premise was that the Silverlight stack requires too much learning to attract developers to the platform.

It isn't that Silverlight is bad or impossible to learn -- in fact, I know a lot of developers who use it and like it -- my concern is that Silverlight seems to not only be a very rich technology by itself, but it also relies on new patterns that few developers are familiar with. In addition, Silverlight is rapidly evolving and changing. To make matters worse, Silverlight does not stand on its own; in most cases, you also need to work with a variety of server-side technologies as well to be productive.

The developers I know who have learned Silverlight are folks with the time and the motivation to spend on continual skillset improvement on their own. In my opinion, Silverlight is really the straw that broke the camel's back. What do you think?

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

38 comments
terjeb
terjeb

People have been stating in this thread that SL requires a jumping through hoops to get things to work. It has also been said that SL is far more complex than most (or any) of its feature comparable predecessors. Having investigated a few stacks lately to deliver some fairly complex in-house apps, I find those statements interesting. So, I have a few challenges for JJ and others: 1 - please name a hoop that requires jumping 2 - please name some feature-comparable predecessors 3 - please elaborate on one or two points where the feature-comparable predecessors, or any other stack, is less complex Simple really. Put your knowledge where your mouth is. Sadly I know from previous discussions of this ilk that none of the opinionated will actually manage to rise to such an easy challenge.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Another boat anchor for the OS to drag around that only benefits hucksters.

adornoe
adornoe

The question should be, "Can Silverlight and/or any other tools available for developing applications, get the job done? Look, you're basically asking for easy development tools and easy to learn tools, so that, virtually anyone can develop their ideas into apps. Not everyone is capable of developing apps, and the fact of the matter is that, not everyone should be in the business of developing apps. But, not everybody should be a developer, and anybody that cannot take the time to learn a development tool or a skill, should not be in the field to begin with. Programming is not rocket-science, so, just about anybody with average intelligence can be a programmer or developer. However, those that want to take the time to learn "how to do it" with "new tools" or with "the hard to learn tools", will be the ones that reap the rewards. Not everyone deserves to reap rewards if they take the approach that something is too difficult or too time consuming to learn. In the past, it used to be difficult to learn how to program in C, or C++, or even COBOL, but, the people who took the time to learn the tools ended up reaping the rewards and, they ended up programming and developing those great desktop and laptop applications of the last three decades. So what if Silverlight is not so simple and it takes too long to learn? And, who cares that it might be changing too fast with many versions? If one wants to get involved, the rewards won't come, and those that can't take the time or can't be bothered should not be in the field to begin with. While development of apps should not be as complicated as rocket science, it also doesn't have to be so simple that we end up with too much crapware being developed and getting loaded into an "apps store" somewhere. Stop the complaining and either get with it or leave it to those that are willing to learn and to develop with what is made available. Even if "only" 200,000-300,000 people take the time to learn Silverlight, enough knowledge and experience will have been gained towards making applications for Windows and WM7.

gcohyea
gcohyea

I think this is kind of a stupid article honestly. Have you ever tried developing for iPhone/Android/Symbian? It's a nightmare. Silverlight totally streamlines the process, the developer toolkit is simple to install and gets you making apps in literally minutes. There are a ton of official tutorials and guidelines. Not only that, but if you want to start making WP7 apps you can also consider that there are is just a ton of information available for silverlight already that can be used for WP7. C#.net framework is great as well, and tons of people who are familiar with that can with a few clicks start writing WP7 apps. IMO it is THE BEST developer interface and stack of technologies for mobile development.

jck
jck

I was unimpressed with it even in Beta. If they've made it any worse I wouldn't want to even consider it.

BrandonCollins
BrandonCollins

I just spent the last four months of my life developing a CMS system all while trying to learn Silverlight from scratch. I have to say it was definitely a less then enjoyable experience but I also find myself looking forward to my next project. I've learned from my mistakes and I do feel like I could do some pretty awesome things next time around. The learning curve seems a little steep, the ability to find articles that actual pertain to the more recent changes(as opposed to silverlight 2 problems) is difficult, and the amount of different frameworks you need to become familiar with(Mvvm-lite, MEF etc) in order to be successful seems fragmented and hard to find but for those that are able to make it over this hump may find themselves with a nice little advantage for future projects. I'm also looking very forward to obtaining my Telerik license at techdays this year which I think will really help productivity.

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