[Mono-dev] Silverlight early implementation thoughts.

Miguel de Icaza miguel at ximian.com
Sat May 5 08:24:18 EDT 2007

Hey folks,

    This is a repost from an internal email that really should have been


    Apologies for not sharing with the team my thoughts on Silverlight
as the conference was unwrapping.   I think folks found out about my
interest on Silverlight from Martin LaMonica's blog entry.

    Silverlight 1.1 is obviously very aligned with the work that we are
doing, and if someone is going to implement that it is a natural fit for
our team to do so.   For one, the majority of the work are the upgrades
to the 3.5 libraries (System.Core.dll, completing generics, C# 3).

    Today our main goal is to allow a smooth migration of developers
from Windows to Linux (ok, it is not smooth at all right now, you kind
of have to be a Unix user to do the transition at all).

    Silverlight brings another component into the equation: a lack of
Linux/Silverlight will prevent the Linux desktop from getting some
content.   Whether it will be a big or small issue is yet to be debated,
but regardless of this, it seems that Silverlight is a lot of fun to

    WPF is too big, and there is very little gain, at least in the next
3-4 years, because there is no migration strategy for every ISV that has
invested in Winforms, so the only usage scenarios for WPF were new
applications, or people that were willing to throw out their investments
and pretty much start from scratch.

    On the other hand, Silverlight is a tiny subset of WPF, relatively
easy to implement (a weekend hack, two at most as it has been pointed
out by some of you) and it will be used to spice up existing web-based
applications as opposed to rewriting an application.

    Now, we have a bunch of challenges ahead of us, and it is not clear
when we should start work on a Mono-based Silverlight, I think we should
but we must:

        * Ship MonoDevelop 1.0, and continue improving it as we wont be
          a kick-ass development platform until we move beyond
          Makefiles and debugging with gdb and mdb on the command line.

          We keep saying Mono is a better development platform, but it 
          wont be for the unwashed massed until we get this.

        * Ship Windows.Forms and ASP.NET 2.0: there are hundreds of
          people trying to move their applications to Mono today, and
          we are going to need to complete both of these before we can
          enable the next wave of migrations.   Which is sadly the 
          majority of applications.

          (caveat: I rather have Mainsoft do Webparts that doing it 
          Implicit in the above is completing the 2.0 profile, and
          determine what we can implement, and what we can postpone.

        * Visual Studio integration: we are going to have to come up
          with a strategy to get VS developers to deploy on Linux.

          A major blocker for the VS integration is that it wont be
          a great experience today until we finish Winforms and ASP.

          In a way, am ok with the lack of a Visual Studio plugin today
          if only because we would not look very good to Windows 
          developers in our current conditions.

          Once we finish 2.0, it would be good to have the plugin ready.

          Andreia started a bit of a specification here:


          But it is a bit of a how-to.   I would want to figure out
          instead *what* is that we want to achieve, what kind of
          experience people will get, and then discuss how we get there.

    Considering the above, am not sure when and how we could start work
on Silverlight.   

    That being said, am obviously excited, and I have done some early
research on the various areas that will need work, I have posted the
details here:


    The name was suggested by Sebastien (who also has done some research
that I hope he will post into that wiki page as well).


More information about the Mono-devel-list mailing list