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In the not-so-distant past our department was touting Silverlight as the de facto standard for corporate intranet applications. A robust framework that allowed us to implement SOA while leveraging our experience in the .NET framework coupled with a rich user interface, all was great, until one day...

Today HTML5 and advanced JavaScript libraries dominate the conversations of web application architects and developers, largely due to the cross device solution these technologies provide in the realm of mobile application development.

We're living in a unique time in history right now where the capabilities of standard web development technologies (HTML5, CSS3, SVG, etc) have virtually caught up with those of proprietary plugins such as Silverlight and Flash.

However, knowing how many years it took the W3C and WHATWG to get the latest version of HTML approved, can we really expect standard web development technologies to be robust and powerful enough to support the incredibly advanced and rich applications and user experiences that tomorrow's user is going to come to expect? Moreover, as processing power continues to increase and devices become more and more capable, will HTML and JavaScript be enough to deliver the goods and fully leverage the power of the next decades super devices and technologies (think holographic projections, social-commercial-industrial ubiquity, etc).

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE HTML5 and our team is doing some truly amazing things with jquery, knockout, underscore and jasmine. I'm very excited for the recent advances in the standard web development technologies and I fully embrace them. They're very powerful, cross device compatible, and fun!

Is the death of RIA plugins inevitable?

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2 Answers

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Nothing truly dies. Radio was once a media powerhouse, now I only listen to it in my car. TV after that, and so on and so on.

That said, we're not starting any new Silverlight (or Flash) projects right now. One recent project that we did in Silverlight was recently re-implemented in Knockout JS.

In many cases (though not all) HTML5 is a great skill set to have. Whether you're building a large scale distributed communications app (GMail), or a custom mobile app (check out jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap Build), or even a Windows 8 app with Chakra, or server side with Node.JS, or data access to your JSON document NoSQL store like Mongo or Couch - you can do amazing things with HTML5 and JavaScript in more places than you'd imagine.

I'm not sure the significance this can be overstated. It's been a while since you could use one language in so many places this effectively.

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Completely agree with you, we're going to release a product in the coming months that's going to completely revolutionize the sales process in our company's industry, written entirely in HTML5, jQuery and knockout. Very exciting and it's been a blast to develop! –  KodeKreachor Mar 5 '12 at 5:22
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I think its interesting that Telerik is now developing their own open source JavaScript framework. I imagine they are doing it so that they can develop tools for it. –  Kyle Hodgson Mar 6 '12 at 14:23
    
Interesting, wasn't aware of that. We've used their Silverlight and MVC suites extensively and have been quite happy with them. They do a great job, I'm sure their JS framework will be solid as well, a very good company. –  KodeKreachor Mar 6 '12 at 15:31
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Silverlight and Flash work on multiple platforms (including phones).

A lot of iPhone apps you wouldn't expect to be "Flash" applications are written in ActionScript, compiled using Adobe's cross compiler, and run on phone devices.

They're evolving the same way standards are. If you read Adobe's latest press release about Flash, they consider it to be mostly for HD video and games for the foreseeable future; they know everyone has changed platforms for other application types.

Flash is, today, being used for developing applications for the browser, desktop and phone just like all of the open standards you listed. It might go away, but it's being resilient.

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