Mark Cooper, CTO and Director of Product Engineering at QGate, originally published this work in the CRMUG Open Forum.
We have known for some time now that Microsoft’s focus on Silverlight was falling and that ultimately this product would sadly become deprecated into the retirement pastures of technology.
This became increasingly evident from my annual attendance to Microsoft events such as Microsoft TechEd (a delegate of some eight years), where each year the mention and presence of Silverlight became noticeably less and less.
Whilst at the same time the unveiling of new Microsoft technologies and their respective management suites would show shinning new Web-based portals like Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Windows Server sporting slick HTML5 based management consoles – Warning!
Many focus groups and expert panel sessions would discuss the whole Silverlight versus HTML5 debate, but ultimately in favour of cross-browser and multi-device support (e.g. IOS, Android, Windows etc.), HTML5 would win the day.
So naturally, the panic set in with those parties that had made large investments in Silverlight and the question of how would Microsoft react. Thankfully Microsoft was able to pacify such fears with the promise to continue support for Silverlight for the natural life cycle of the product (~10 years).
Alas however despite Microsoft’s commitment to continue support, this is not the only factor in the destiny of Silverlight? Google Chrome has also announced their own deprecation of Silverlight, this coming in the very near future updates to their browser.
Of course Silverlight is still supported within the Microsoft IE world, however, the new Microsoft Spartan browser (at the time of writing) is not intending to support Silverlight either. Microsoft had to re-learn the lesson that the Web is not Microsoft’s environment to control and that only Open Web Standards will prevail. Microsoft is now committed to working towards standards and will not attempt to add Microsoft-only APIs to the Web.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM also carries a large investment in Silverlight with many customer implementations dependent upon it. Furthermore many third-party ISV solutions are still also dependent upon the support of Silverlight.
Whilst much (if not all?) of the core Dynamics CRM product has been moved from Silverlight to HTML5, this revelation by Google Chrome is still likely to place many CRM customers in a state of flux.
If your CRM implementation is dependent upon Silverlight then I hope this article provides some positive consideration to you in defining a strategy to negate this.