Take the 2-minute tour ×
Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm about to start a new mapping project for a client, and am considering using the ArcGIS Server Silverlight API, since it gives a lot of the required functionality out-of-the-box (especially with the Silverlight Viewer).

A colleague suggested this is a bad idea, since "Silverlight is dead technology". He says that most new internal Microsoft projects are moving to HTML5 instead of Silverlight.

This is a small project so I don't have the luxury of developing everything from scratch, which the JavaScript API entails. Using the Silverlight Viewer I can have the core functionality running almost immediately.

Does anyone have any opinions/inside information on whether Silverlight is a good idea for a new ArcGIS Server website?

share|improve this question
1  
Short answer here and here. Long answer? Try and keep up with whatever's new that comes from MS. They have a habit of killing things when the next shiny thing comes along (though you'll note that there's still VB, Access, COM, etc. technologies still roaming around; dead doesn't really mean dead). –  Michael Todd Jun 30 '11 at 23:26
2  
(Err...reverse short answer and long answer.) –  Michael Todd Jul 1 '11 at 2:06
1  
"Try and keep up with whatever's new that comes from MS" - I guess the big question is, will Esri keep up with what's new from MS.... –  Stephen Lead Jul 1 '11 at 3:34
    
Do you want to support iPad users? Silverlight will not run on an iPad. –  Kirk Kuykendall Jul 1 '11 at 13:58
    
Also, speaking of new stuff from Microsoft - looks like Entity Framework will support spatial types. Not sure how easy it is to leverage EF with javascript, but for Silverlight this is big news. Now the big question is how nicely EF with spatial will play with ArcSDE. –  Kirk Kuykendall Jul 1 '11 at 15:02
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Have you not heard? HTML6 is the latest greatest thing. Why arent you developing in that?
- Moral here is its like buying a new computer. You can always wait for the next best thing, but theres always something better around the corner. (see comments in that post as well).

I also like James Fee summary of Q&A question for UC2011, which is kind of related:

Q: How is Esri planning to support HTML5? A: I love the answer, basically HTML5 is awesome, but they realize that most of their user base is stuck on old versions of IE. Thus as awesome as it can be, it isn’t.

IMO, the safest and most futureproof option will be Javascript, later tapping into HTML5 where need be.

You have not mentioned your requirements so I am not sure why you think you will have to do so much more work with Javascript.
Can you not leverage frameworks like Dojo/ExtJS to do the heavy lifting?
These frameworks compliment Javascript to match Silverlight, no?

I am a Flex fan myself, but have dabbled with Silverlight and like it.

Your application will need a makeover in a few years anyhow - if you can code in it, shoot for Silverlight!

share|improve this answer
1  
Great quote on the Geocortex link: "Picking a technology that’s out of favor in five years isn’t a screw-up if you made the best decision from among available alternatives to actually get stuff done. That such a choice will eventually be obsolete (and sometimes sooner than you really have the stomach for) doesn’t represent failure on your part. On the contrary, it shows that you understand the importance of delivering value to end users in the present." –  Stephen Lead Jul 4 '11 at 0:46
    
Your name sounds very familiar. Im down in Melbourne. Im sure our paths have crossed before... –  Simon Jul 12 '11 at 3:23
add comment

I am not at all convinced that Silverlight is dead. Yes, MS talked about HTML5 and javascript and NOT SL in their windows 8 preview but in reality for LOB apps I think Silverlight provides what the other technologies can not. But maybe thats just me.

Some other facts- there is the rumour that there is an agreement between Apple and MS for Apple to support SL on iPhones and iPads. SL IS the development platform for windows 7 phone. Nokia will be shipping their phones with Windows 7 only. Smartphones (they say) is (or will be) the new PC. Large companies like SAP have moved part of their apps to Silverlight. Maybe its just me, but to me all these sound like SL is a long way away of being pronounced dead.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The rumors about Silverlight's premature death have already been thoroughly addressed and debunked.

Here is an article about support for XAML (the language used to provide the front-end for Silverlight applications) in Windows 8:

http://davidburela.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/premature-cries-of-silverlight-wpf-skill-loss-windows-8-supports-all-programming-models/

Quoting:

I'm more excited about the new possibilities coming in the new Jupiter XAML programming model than the misconception that HTML+JS is the only way to create apps.

Here is some further information about current job growth in Silverlight positions:

http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/15857/did-microsoft-kill-silverlight/75841#75841

As far as your question about starting a project with the ArcGIS API for Silverlight, it is worth noting that this is an award winning API which has been around for more than 2 years and receives significant support from ESRI.

As an alternative to learning the API, the ArcGIS Viewer for Silverlight provides a good out-of-the-box solution to create a map viewer without writing any source code.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.