In the last few months I have heard this question at least dozen times from existing customers and new prospects. I replied back to them via email and in person during presentations. I’m sure there are lot of people out there with the same question in mind. So, I thought I’ll write down my views and plans for BizTalk360 (in relation to SL) here.
Microsoft was also heavily investing on SilverLight, they released 4 versions within 2.5 years and big guys like Scott Guthrie was constantly pushing the technology and there were big events like SilverLight fire starter. We started BizTalk360 with SL version 3.0 and also working on WCF RIA services BETA, the technology Microsoft was intending to use to build browser based Rich Internet Line of Business applications. After couple of months we realized WCF RIA is bit limited to what we are trying to build and we decided to use pure SL based application. It was one of the good decisions, since WCF RIA didn’t take off after version 1.0 (they took a different direction and ended up as ASP.NET single page application).
So what’s our plan?
We are pretty cool at the moment. The Microsoft Silverlight Support Lifecycle page states SL version 5.0 is supported until 10/12/2021 (nearly 2022). That’s 10 years from now. As most of you will agree with me, 10 years is a very long period in technology land scape, especially on the web world. This is our architecture at 10000 foot height
As you can see SilverLight front-end is just one part of the puzzle, most of our investments are in the WCF services layer. Our current architecture is designed in a way to replace the front-end technology with something else (ex: HTML5 based application) fairly easily without changing the back end logic. Our current plan at the moment is to continue the way we are bringing new functionalities for another 2 years. Things will get much clearer over time and also at the same time we believe the tooling around building HTML5 based applications will grow in next couple of years increasing the development productivity time.