Microsoft: Silverlight 5 beta next week, focus is still on HTML5

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Microsoft has announced that it will deliver a Silverlight 5 beta at its upcoming MIX11 conference in Las Vegas next week (April 12, 2011 to April 14, 2011). Other than saying that it would have some great demos showing compelling scenarios, the software giant did not detail what exactly the new version would include (that was done four months ago when Silverlight 5 was officially announced).

Today's news was more about Silverlight 5 versus HTML5 (once gain, the company says there is room for both technologies). Microsoft again took the opportunity to emphasize its developer story going forward:

  • For plug-in based experiences, we believe Silverlight delivers the richest set of capabilities available to developers today, making the choice of Microsoft technologies even more compelling.
  • For Windows Phone development, Silverlight and XNA are the core fundamental building blocks for building rich experiences that take full advantage of Windows Phone.
  • HTML5 is a solution for many scenarios, and developers should make the appropriate choice based on application needs, knowing that we have a heritage and a future vision of supporting a wide variety of technologies to meet those needs.

Ever since Microsoft started talking about IE9 and how it would embrace HTML5, many have wondered what would happen to Silverlight. Eventually, the software giant announced that Silverlight would play a major part in Windows Phone development. As a result, its importance as a web plug-in would decrease, although the software giant still insists it is the best option if you need to use a plug-in (for example, Netflix uses Silverlight to protect its content, which HTML5 cannot do).

To read more about Microsoft's strategy with Silverlight and HTML5, check out the blog post titled "Standards-based web, plug-ins, and Silverlight." It is written by Walid Abu-Hadba, Microsoft's Corporate VP of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Soma Somasegar, Microsoft's Senior VP of Developer Division, and Scott Guthrie, Corporate VP of .NET Developer Platform, so you should expect quite a bit of PR language.

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