How I think Silverlight can work on desktop & phone

I recently started to consider a new User Interface for a web application. Oh yes I want to use Silverlight but it just has zero presence on mobile devices, can I justify the speed in development/maintenance vs the lack of delivery channels. Hmm, I can try. But why should I? Windows Phone 7 (Wp7) runs Silverlight, that should certainly help me shouldn’t? But no, browse to my App on a browser on Wp7 and nothing, “no plugins here”. But why? The official line is about technical details, but I doubt that. Ok it’s not the same Silverlight but come on, it’s close enough to allow a desktop target of “restrict to Wp7 set”. So if not that then what else? Let’s imagine a world where Microsoft may pay some attention to Apple’s model. What if Microsoft can make money by only allowing apps on wp7 via a market place. Sounds like biz sense. But wait a second, if I browse to a site that has the same Silverlight app on it then why buy from the market place? Solution, stop Silverlight rendering on the browser. As I started this post, this frustrates me and stops me writing Silverlight apps for the web. But there is a way around this, “Wp7 enabled Silverlight app”. Imagine this;
1. In your Out Of Browser options you specify ‘Has Windows Phone 7 version’, and you enter the market place ID of your Wp7 application
2. You compile and deploy your Silverlight app
3. User browsers to your site via a desktop browser. They get the full experience
4. User browsers to your site from Wp7, the patched version of IE spots that the Silverlight host application has the market place id of a wp7 app. So it asks the shell’s catalogue if it has this ID, no – then prompt the user to purchase it, yes – launch the app and the user gets a specific phone experience. So there you have my idea of how we could get a shared experience, sure you’re still writing 2 apps, but now;
a) the site can have a functioning presence in a mobile browser
b) the wp7 has another selling channel, everyone’s a winner

4 thoughts on “How I think Silverlight can work on desktop & phone

  1. Craig November 27, 2010 / 11:55 am

    I’m more inclined to believe that the issue is an old browser they don’t want to invest in. Think about it. Desktop ie9 is around the corner with html5 which is something almost mandatory for phones if you listen to Google and Apple. Why invest in a platform built on ie7? They’ll wait till ie9 desktop is done, port it to wp7 and then add plugin support. I imagine they will as it’s something they can hold over Apple.

    • pauliom November 27, 2010 / 7:06 pm

      Interesting thought, I hope you’re right but I doubt MS will surrender the marketplace revenue

  2. Web Mechs Press January 25, 2011 / 2:43 pm

    At the same time Apple is introducing App Store for OS X, Microsoft is scuttling their *superior* position of having a single platform for desktop (browser, at least) and mobile!!

    Allowing WP7 apps to run on browser Silverlight would greatly enhance the popularity of the browser plugin and at the same time give a wider audience for developer’s apps. Being able to write once and deploy on both mobile is a HUGE incentive.

    With massively idiotic decisions like this, Microsoft fully deserve to lose the platform wars to come.

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