Death of silverlight

Silverlight as a plugin is long gone. With Chrome disabling NPAPI by default, the era of plugins, as we knew it, is gone. Now, what do I do with all the skills I’ve developed as a Silverlight developer?

Hmmm… That’s a tough one. Here’s my take on this:

Working as a front-end developer is a continuous process of learning new technologies. Silverlight came out of nowhere and there was a big rush to learn it. Before that there was a bug rush to learn ActionScript (remember those days?). Of course with the introduction of ActionScript 3.0 things changed dramatically as it nearly coincided with the loud bang of Apple releasing its first iPad followed by iPhone which gave Flash a big juicy finger. Whatever happened to the Flash developers anyway?

All that’s way behind in the past. Lets look at the present. Javascript frameworks have become such a big thing in the market now. The capabilities of the first Silverlight app are far surpassed by an AngularJS app. Add NodeJS and the million NPM plugins with funky names to army and that overpowers other front-end technologies in a big way. How did this come to be? Why did Javascript become such a big thing?

I think we need to go back to late 2000s when new phones were being released every other day. First it was iPhone and a tonne of developers started learning Objective C. Then came Android. Then android just went ‘whoooooshh’ and took over the biggest chunk of the mobile market. Windows phone in its ever-losing smartphone race released a few really good phones. Thanks to Nokia! (we still love you). So many platforms.. How would one keep up with everything?

CSS3 to the rescue. With better support for responsive apps and a bunch of really smart people inspired by JQuery started developing re-usable frameworks. Unlike before these were smaller bite-sized frameworks that could be cherry-picked to create an application of your choice.

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