Say it with me "Silverlight is dead"
by DeeDee Walsh, on Feb 21, 2023 6:32:34 PM
#TBT to August 2021, when Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 11 will be retired, no longer supported, and murdered (I made that up). This news was greeted with the reaction you would expect by folks who were still running IE11. "If I knew an easy way to migrate I would have done it already!" But one group in the tech community is especially borked by this news: the developers and app owners who rely on Microsoft's Silverlight technology.
#Flashback - Silverlight is a plugin that was developed by Microsoft as a way cooler competitor to Adobe's Flash Player - offering developers a better dev experience plus .NET support. It was designed for developers to create rich, interactive web applications and multimedia experiences that could be delivered across multiple platforms and devices. Silverlight was heavily used in the past, especially in enterprise applications that required cross-browser support.
But then the inevitable happened... Microsoft ended support for Silverlight in 2021, and it has become increasingly clear that the technology is now outdated and no longer has a place in the modern web. With the retirement of IE, Silverlight is losing its last major supported platform. This is a big deal because a bunch of legacy applications and websites that still rely on Silverlight require IE to function properly.
While it may be tempting to make light of these applications and websites, the reality is that lots of businesses and organizations still rely on them on a daily basis. This includes things like financial reporting tools, inventory management systems, and other mission-critical software that can't simply be rewritten and replaced overnight. The applications built with Silverlight, may even have been updated to work with newer technologies, but they still need to be rewritten or migrated.
In other words, IE's retirement (to a warmer climate we hope) will cause significant disruptions to businesses and organizations that rely on Silverlight-based applications. It's not just a matter of upgrading to a newer version of IE or switching to a different browser either. These applications were built specifically to work with IE and Silverlight, and changing that requires a big investment of time, money, and resources.
So, what's the solution? There are a few options:
- Mobilize.Net has a migration tool to convert Silverlight web applications to HTML5 and Typescript, using Angular and Ignite UI. These new apps will work on all modern browsers without the need for any plug-in or browser extension.
- OpenSilver is an open-source project that aims to provide a modern, open-source alternative to Microsoft's Silverlight technology. OpenSilver is designed to be a drop-in replacement for Silverlight, meaning that developers can take their existing Silverlight applications and run them on OpenSilver with minimal changes.
While the retirement of IE is bad news for those who still rely on Silverlight applications, it's also the opportunity for organizations to build modern, secure web apps on the latest technology.