Pete Brown on Silverlight and WPF Convergence

Great post from Pete over here about Silverlight/WPF convergence;

“The Future of Client App Dev: WPF and Silverlight Convergence”

It’s funny as someone asked me just yesterday what my view was about Silverlight/WPF post-PDC and in the light of Silverlight 4 and I expressed pretty much the same view as Pete does here although less eloquently and in a lot fewer words in that I said something like;

“I don’t think the position of the two technologies has changed too much”

Hey, I’m a man of few words 🙂

Sure, Silverlight 4 has a bunch more functionality but fundamentally it still all hangs around the magic three words of;

“Rich”, “Web” and “.NET”

with attributes like;

  • Quick, easy platform deployment
  • Quick, easy app deployment
  • Designed for cross platform
  • Sandboxed by default with limited ( but significant ) options for breaking beyond that sandbox
  • Network stack that’s optimised with functionality for the web rather than the LAN
  • etc. etc. etc. etc.

whereas WPF for me all hangs around the words of;

“Rich”, “Windows” and “.NET”

with attributes like;

  • Full access to the .NET 4.0 framework and the entire Windows platform
  • Flexible and complete app deployment – installer, ClickOnce ( a la Seesmic, Blu ), XBAP
  • Richest hardware accelerated UI
  • Lots of additional UI framework pieces like 3D, Documents, Speech, Ink, Multitouch…
  • etc. etc. etc. etc.

and so it all comes down to me to the difference between whether what you’re trying to do is target “the Web” or whether you’re trying to target "the Windows Client OS” and ( of course ) there’s a tonne of factors that go into making that decision.

I think there’s some great new features in WPF 4 Beta 2 like;

that make it a lot easier to hit those situations where client footprint and deployment of the runtime were blocking people from looking at WPF as a “zero-footprint” client running in the browser.