Microsoft has dropped the Silverlight.net website and put up a developer's network page instead.
Although there's been no official decision announced as to the company's plans on future releases, this is a sure sign there will be none. Silverlight will still be supported, but new versions won't likely come out.
Silverlight Follows Flash to the Grave
Adobe's Flash and now Microsoft's Silverlight were popular development platforms that have given way to newer frameworks like HTML5 and native apps. While the debate rages on about which of those choices is best, businesses who were working in Silverlight will now have to figure out a new path. Of course, that decision doesn't have to be made immediately, but the end is near, and it's now a good time to start planning.
Business software development is never easy, and when big vendors like Microsoft build up a successful platform only to see it shelved, it's always a bit rocky. While Silverlight was never as popular as Flash, it did have a dedicated developer network in place, and the shut down of Silverlight.net wasn't handled as thoughtfully as it should have been.
When the website was initially shuttered, many of the links that migrated to the new MSDN site were broken. There's really no excuse for that, especially from a company like Microsoft. Mistakes happen, and the site shutdown was announced to the development network, but it was still handled a bit clumsily.
HTML5 to the Rescue?
Proprietary tools versus open source options once again becomes a focal point for those who had been entrenched in the Silverlight system. The Internet has a funny way of decentralizing virtually every aspect of software development, and Silverlight is just its latest victim.
Whether or not Microsoft really is embracing open source or not, the proprietary vs open choice will only become more pervasive. Perhaps data really does want to be free, but the tools to make it easier to parse and structure are a different story.
Building enterprise level apps with HTML5 is not really a reality yet. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the relative newness of the platform. Big companies move slow on this front, and no doubt there are thousands of brilliant engineers working on this very problem. Microsoft has the power to lead the way in this effort; too bad its own interests won't let it.