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Is creating a huge public site fully in Silverlight really advisable? for eg. an ecommerce site. I don't want to start any debate but actually I feel Silverlight shouldn't be used for full website because the biggest loss you incur is of SEO. No search engines till today can parse the xap file and index it based on it's content. You can get around it by doing ifs and thens like if Silverlight is not supported then make an Asp.Net equivalent page for it but that only doubles our effort of making application, more than anything else. Why write double code in 2 applications meant for the same purpose. If that is the only option why not create Asp.Net application only. What are your views?

Thanks in advance :)

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migrated from Jun 25 '11 at 10:11

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You pretty much answered the question yourself: SEO and backwards compatiblity with older browsers are IMHO strong points against Silverlight in an eCommerce scenario. – Matt von Rohr Jun 23 '11 at 13:58
@Matt von Rohr: I am myself a Silverlight developer only but seeing Google filled up with articles like HTML5 vs Silverlight, now I feel I should move to HTML5 and learn all over again even though I love Silverlight. Backwards compatibility can still be ignored and it can be overcomed by updating the browser but we have no solution till today for SEO. However I am still waiting for other people views. – Anthony Jun 23 '11 at 14:03
Silverlight and HTML5 apps both have there place in the world. Since this is a public facing site, as you concluded yourself, i would advise going HTML5 route. Im a SL dev as well and build a lot of SL apps which are used internally at my organization. As a dev, I prefer building Sl apps over HTMl apps anyday. – Tony Jun 23 '11 at 14:14
@Anthony: You question title is far too broad compared to the actual question. SL may still be advisable for using in LOB apps where SEO is not an issue. – AnthonyWJones Jun 23 '11 at 15:15
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Short answer: no. Right now the future of Silverlight seems unsure. But this is just my personal opinion.

SkyDrive drops Silverlight

Silverlight developers rally against Windows 8 plans

Microsoft surrenders Silverlight to HTML5 on cross-platform front

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Future of silverlight right now is not unsure.. its silverlight 5.0. SL is not going anywhere. – Tony Jun 23 '11 at 14:17
I have to ask what your judgment is based on. SL has limited cross platform support, which isn’t a problem for HTML5 and Microsoft is right now hugging HTML5 like they been best friends forever. I’m not saying SL is dead, but it’s corpse is getting colder. – Teletha Jun 23 '11 at 14:36
1) Just came from conference and consensus was MS is not giving up on SL. 2) SL 5 is such a significant release, the argument that MS is abandoning it doesnt add up.3) SL is just no getting on every windows computer. 4) WM7 is all silverlight. – Tony Jun 23 '11 at 15:11
Silverlight has never been a contender for the large public facing website. HTML5 is without a doubt the way to go. It seems strange to me that people talk of Silverlight being dead in a developement space it was never really alive in the first place. – AnthonyWJones Jun 23 '11 at 15:12
Thats my deduction... But Im just a developer... you should read the following:… and the embedded link as well: – Tony Jun 23 '11 at 15:13

Even if MS was still 100% behind Silverlight, the SEO issue has been around and been solved for a while. See my answer here: Silverlight SEO

Given that you need to write a simple site anyway (for SEO), you can either choose to only write that one site (if your site does not need to be a Rich Internet Application), or write both. You can always think of Silverlight as a plugin for specific pages.

The question should be "what is the best way to give my users insert some fabulous experience here". So does your planned website need Silverlight to add user value or some unique selling point?

The other issue regarding HTML5 vs Silverlight is: do you really want to become an expert in multiple language stacks?

Personally I love Silverlight and will be extremely miffed if M$ decide to drop it. For now they are now targetting it at WP7, so it will not die just yet. Let's see if WP7 gets a foothold before holding a funeral for SL.

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I do not really want to become an expert or put other way I can't become expert in multiple stacks. I am and will always want to be a .Net developer but seeing the articles of HTML5 vs Silverlight I have to get a basic hold on javascript. – Anthony Jun 23 '11 at 14:45

I'm part of a team developing a full application in Silverlight and it's definitely the right tool for the problem we have to solve - but it's not a public facing application so the lack of SEO isn't a problem.

If you need your application to be discoverable then you need good SEO so that it turns up in searches (says he stating the obvious). A single Silverlight application can't easily do this.

If you need your application to be fully supported on all operating systems then again Silverlight can't do this as it's only officially supported on Windows and OSX.

You always needs to evaluate your requirements and choose the platform/framework/language that helps you meet these as efficiently as possible.

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+1 Chris, it's nice to know there's at least one other person developing a full application in Silverlight ;) – Town Jul 8 '11 at 14:44

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