At D9 Microsoft showed the Windows 8 UI for the first time. All the attention was on the touch-oriented “Live Tiles” interface. Business Insider and some other pubs have taken to calling it “Windows 8 for Tablets.” I don’t know if that’s what it is. About all I can tell is that the Live Tiles interface is supposedly an addition to, not a replacement for, the native Windows UI. That’s good. Getting all touchy-panny with some pretty photos on a ginormous wall screen that costs more than my truck is impressive, but it doesn’t mean much to desktop and laptop users.
But hardware independence is what .NET, the CLR, and Silverlight are all about. Programmers have invested a lot of time learning the technology stack. When Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 they built the application model and UI on Silverlight for Windows Phone. Developers could leverage everything they new about C#, XAML, and the Silverlight version of the framework to write apps for the mobile platform. Then those apps could be submitted to the shiny new Microsoft app store and start generating iOS-like sales. Now… what? The native mobile interface to Windows 8 will be HMTL + script, but you’ll be able to run Silverlight apps too?
I’m not sure, but they’ve at least given me another good reason to continue my efforts with iOS, HTML 5 + JQuery, and Android. Why invest in native Silverlight apps for Windows Phone 7 if Microsoft won’t clearly commit to carrying forward the key components of the platform or building the ecosystem?