Windows 8, native apps, and HTML5: Facts and conjecture

In this programming news roundup, read about AMP, WinC++, Delphi certification, jQuery, the Eclipse Development Survey results, BUILD, and more.

There is an absolute firestorm around HTML5-based apps in Windows 8 and where it leaves native app technologies like WPF, Silverlight, and WinForms. I have no idea what is happening for sure, and I guarantee you that all of my Microsoft contacts either do not know or would not tell me if they did, and I respect that. Here is what I do know:

  • Windows 8 appears to have an application building engine based on HTML5 technologies (I'm including JavaScript and CSS3 in that umbrella).
  • Microsoft stopped pushing Silverlight as a Web app add-in a while ago, and said it was for "out of browser," cross-platform, and special purposes (like WP7 development).
  • WinForms got backburnered with the release of WPF.
  • The pace of Silverlight development has slowed significantly as the technology matures.
  • Silverlight has been a big success in writing internal applications, and Silverlight is not the pain point in writing WP7 apps (the APIs and their lack of support for many scenarios are).
  • Microsoft has displayed a worrisome habit of dropping technologies just as they seem to be fulfilling their potential.
  • Silverlight has been increasing its capability for quite some time, heading towards convergence with WPF. The big barrier has been the size of the download; the Silverlight team stated a while back that the installer should never be bigger than Flash's.

Based on what I know and the current trends, I do not think Silverlight is going away any time soon, but I do think Microsoft is seeing HTML5 as "Silverlight Lite." Since Silverlight is already "WPF Lite," It's conceivable that WPF and Silverlight will merge, basically putting the out-of-browser capability onto WPF, and either taking out the stuff that doesn't go across platforms or just having two WPF profiles (just as Silverlight has a phone profile that is less capable than the full Silverlight platform). Then, Microsoft can feel free to push its HTML5 apps to folks that like the Silverlight idea but don't feel comfortable with the technology. This is 100% pure conjecture on my part though. Mary Jo Foley has some interesting information as well, and Laila Lotfi has a good analysis of the situation.

Language/library updates

Visual C++ and GPU processing

Microsoft announced a new technology called AMP, which lets Visual C++ developers more easily harness the processing power of GPUs across different GPUs.

WinC++ to replace Visual C++

On the topic of Visual C++, Mary Jo Foley writes about the next generation of Visual C++, called WinC++.

Tools and products

Visual Studio Web Standards Update

The Visual Studio team released the Visual Studio Web Standards Update, which improves the support in Visual Studio for HTML5 and CSS3.

Appcelerator updates offerings

Appcelerator released Titanium Studio and Titanium Mobile 1.7. Titanium Studio lets developers create mobile, Web, and desktop apps, while Titanium Mobile is aimed at mobile app developers.

Delphi certification

Embarcadero is now offering certification of Delphi developers. The fees look quite reasonable.

iBuildApp's Android Builder

iBuildApp announced a new free product called Android Builder, which makes it easy to create Android apps. There is also an iPhone version.

Debugger Canvas for Visual Studio

Microsoft's Dev Labs released Debugger Canvas, an innovative add-in to Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate that shows the relationship between the items in the call stack.

Eucalyptus teams with RightScale

RightScale (which makes a cloud management platform) and Eucalyptus (which offers on-premise infrastructure-as-a-service technology) have partnered so that the Eucalyptus platform is available from within the RightScale myCloud platform.

Editorial and commentary

Why is everyone always getting hacked?

Jeff Blankenburg has a fantastic piece about the security breaches lately, and how companies are really screwing up around them.

Why move to jQuery from the Ajax Control Toolkit?

Joe Stagner wrote a very good analysis of why you should be using jQuery, not the Ajax Control Toolkit, for your development.

Eclipse Development Survey results

The Eclipse Foundation released its annual Development Survey (PDF), which shows what is happening in the world of Eclipse.

Tips and tricks

Custom ASP.NET MVC project templates

Phil Haack has a tutorial on making your own ASP.NET MVC project templates for Visual Studio.

Deploying applications to IIS with SQL Server CE 4.0

The Visual Web Developer Team posted an article showing how to deploy Web apps to IIS servers that use SQL Server CE 4.0 databases.

Google now supports authorship

Google is now supporting tags to show who wrote an HTML page. This is great news for sites that publish content.

jQuery HTML editor in an ASP.NET page

Joe Stagner shows how to use a equerry HTML editor in an ASP.NET page.

Mapping Android apps to WP7

Microsoft has extended its Mapping Tool to help Android apps get moved to WP7.


BUILD to show Windows 8 development

On September 13 in Anaheim, CA, Microsoft is holding a new event called BUILD. It looks like the details of Windows 8 development (see above) will be gone into there in detail.



Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.


HTML5 is a Hyper Text Markup Language version 5 . Which is using to structuring and presenting content for the internet or world wide web.Html and Xhtml both are use on the world wide web and html5 syntax is have in html and xhtml . HTML files are easy to stored at web server or any other place and file extension should be 'html' or 'htm.'.


WPF and Silverlight will merge, or maybe they'll rebrand it all and have several WPF/Silverlight/HTML5 versions: a Full Desktop, Tablet/Slate, Xbox, and Windows Phone. Each with various libraries that can be utitilized HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3, XNA/Gaming, Touch API, Kinect API, etc. Or the versions will just be different combinations of the libraries. We are getting close to being able to write across all these and even interact with each. I think I'll start trying to write some WP7/xbox interaction game.


I really think that Silverlight was just issued as a reponse to Adobe Flash. Meaning that it was a demonstration that web applications could be done as easily without Flash, and that a transition was possible to use something else. As HTML5 support is booming and include builtin features that are also tuned for performance, I just hope that this will just be a transition technology, and that Flash will no longer be needed just as a way to avoid HTML4 limitations and lack of interoperability. HTML5 conformance tests and the accelerated support of corrections in existing implementations, plus the ease to develop highly interactive applications means that proprietary things line Activescript will be something from the past. Already, Flash is evolving itself to implement many things from HTML5. Yes it still has some exclusive features (notably for advanced typogaphy), but al these exclusive features are curently being addressed in HTML5 and CSS3. And at least, within HTML5 and CSS3, the existing differences between implementations are now considered as bugs and no longer as features, and dvelopers no longer have to include fixes or workaround as part of their application or website design: instead they are testing what is already available in major web browsers, and minor dfferences are no longer esential for the page layout or functionality and are simply ignored. HTML5 is also more accessible than Flash. It reuses the wellknown DOM concepts, and features things that are natively supported (such as JSON requests). Ineroperability is now a feature that is used to stress browsers and detect bugs in applications (we can see most of the redernig problems as being originated in a bad design of the appication itself, rather than a bug in some obscure part of HTML5 specs. Developers are then concentrated on essntial things. HTML5 and CSS3 specifications have also been well modularized, each one being more separately testable with better coverage for ech module. This has rally speeded up the development and correction of its implementations, includingfor modules in preliminary stages of thei specification. And thanks, the HTML5 and CSS3 specifications are widely opened so that everyone can contribute or ask questions about possibly ambiguous meanings and behaviors. HTML5 and CSS3 donot come alone : they are typically used now through application frameworks (e.g. jQuery) that hide most of the quirks needed for the transition, but that also focus on better performance and security. I just hope that HTML5 will also include the ongoing work on SVG (notably for its 3D extensions), and that it wil be soon possible to also better support the audio device as well, with sound effects, and possibly even with sound composition and synchronization, like with 2D/3D image and text rendering, with support for accelerated signal treatment (using parallel kernels running on the GPU). May be it will include later the support for touch devices with definable gestures, and many other ways to interect with some supported devices typically found today in many smartphones (GPS localization, accelerometer, rotation sensor, 3D magnetic sensor, electic field sensors, various gaming interfaces like wheels). Plus more support for secuirty algorithms (not just for HTTPS itself). It should also include better support for internationalization of complex scripts (all OpenType features accessible, as well as support for character clusters, the full set of Unicode properties, support for Unicode regexps. Most of these would not be necessarily a technical part of HTML4 or CSS3 themselves but integrated in the DOM or as part of a standard ECMAScript library


Well I hope that means that they will get their JS engine to run (much) faster. IE 9 is much better than it's predecessors but it's performance is abysmal compared to Chrome and FF.

Justin James
Justin James

There are very few reasons to be using Flash (or Silverlight) as a browser-plugin as HTML5 support increases. There are a few select circumstances (Silverlight streams video well, DRM support, parallel processing) which may make still warrant either one, but their days are numbers. I think that both technologies (Flash in the form of Flex) have a place outside of the browser, especially in the mobile space where full sized app technologies like WPF and such are too heavy, but as those devices get more powerful, that space will get smaller. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

IE 9's JS speed, when it was released, was actually faster than Chrome or Firefox's. The trick is to not run the 64 bit version (they didn't do anything to the engine in the 64 bit version); it's still apples-to-apples though, since Firefox and Chrome don't have 64 bit versions at all. IE 9 also has hardware acceleration on graphics, which means that it renders faster than WPF or Silverlight do. In fact, this is one reason why the WPF/SL folks are worried... they are wondering why Microsoft is choosing to boost performance of IE but not WPF/SL. J.Ja

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