Windows 8 is going to have a tile-based UI, copying the look and functionality of Windows Phone 7. This is a good move - or it would be if the tile-based "Metro" look was actually stylish. To my eye it looks clunky and a complete mess but there are people who disagree.
A recent press release:describes the new interface in glowing terms but the key item for developers is:
To try and reassure developers that commitment to old technology is still there we have:
We also showed effortless movement between existing Windows programs and new Windows 8 apps. The full capabilities of Windows continue to be available to you, including the Windows Explorer and Desktop, as does compatibility with all Windows 7 logo PCs, software and peripherals.
The point isn't backward compatibility - the loss of which would make Windows into something that was no longer Windows and would be even crazier than the current plans.
Our .NET technology might be supported in some sort of backward compatible mode but it clearly isn't going forward anymore.
The final madness
So how crazy is it to bet the entire company on it's use?
This whole situation couldn't have come at a worse time. In the opinion of many Java is compromised by being mismanaged by Oracle. and now the .Net language are being sidelined in favour of an idiosyncratic language that until recently wasn't even considered for writing an a complete application.
Many are already jumping ship but to go to what?
The only credible language that remains is C/C++ as it is what most of the systems, including the mobile system we use, are built with.
Not only am I avoiding using WPF for future projects I have been seriously considering going back to C++.
This is a long and complicated argument, so to summarize:
Silverlight is "Windows in a browser" and is probably the solution Microsoft is looking for - it's powerful and gives them an edge that others just don't have.
If Silverlight is good enough for the touch environment of Windows Phone 7 why isn't it the development environment for Windows 8?
The more you think about it all the more you have to come to the conclusion that something doesn't "smell right" in the jargon of the agile fraternity.
Why is it we are the only ones who notice it so clearly?
I can only hope that Microsoft has some ingenious plan that it will reveal to make it all right - but somehow I doubt it.