The end of Silverlight?
by John Browne, on May 4, 2015 3:52:35 PM
A couple of weeks ago Google turned off default support for NPAPI (Netscape Plugin API) in Chrome. It's still available, but you have to know how to turn it back on. This means Silverlight web apps won't, by default, run in Chrome anymore. Given that Chrome has about 2/3rds of the browser share, this is significant.
NPAPI is old technology that exposes systems running in full-trust mode (admin rather than a limited user account) to potential exploits (similar to ActiveX but I won't get into that now). Google has announced they intend to drop all support for NPAPI sometime next year.
(In a similar vein, we're reminded that as of July 15, 2015, Windows Server 2003 will also be out of support--no more patches, fixes, updates, just like Windows XP was last year.)
Nothing lasts forever. What's shiny and new today will be old and hideous at some point. At least in the world of software (some things never get hideous just because they're old). And you're left with the choice to either replace, discard, or modernize.
Silverlight is a pressing problem, and at Build we had an announcement about a Visual Studio add-in we are building for Microsoft that will migrate Silverlight Phone to Universal Windows Platform (UWP). But we also talked to a lot of people who had Silverlight web apps (not phone apps) and who needed to get them to HTML5. I'll talk more about the UWP changes in a future blog; for now I want to reassure people that moving from SL to HTML5 is not necessarily a super-hard problem.
Silverlight defines all the UI in XAML, which is a lot closer to HTML than, say Windows Forms are. So with our existing tooling we can extract all the XAML and convert it to HTML5 with JS using KendoUI for a lot of the widgets (we can support other frameworks as well...call us). The backend, like for our WebMAP2 product, is ASP.NET/MVC4 so you have full control over the HTML that will be rendered on the client side, as well as a nice encapsulation of the presentation from the logic and data layers. Of course you lose some of the Silverlight goodies but you do away with the need for any plugins, as we will generate straight-ahead HTML5 for perfect compatibility with all current browsers.
If this is something you'd like more information on, click here or call us at 425.609.8458.