Microsoft, Facebook Focus Spotlight on HTML 5

Susan Hall
Slide Show

Top 10 In-Demand Tech Skills for 2011

In his InfoWorld post that Java and .NET are becoming legacy platforms, which I wrote about last week, Neil McAllister mentions that for years Microsoft encouraged development on Silverlight, its technology for creating rich Internet applications. But now, he says, it seems to be de-emphasizing Silverlight in favor of HTML 5 and Javascript.

 

Turns out, that's not the half of it. In its first demo of Windows 8, Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green, who's in charge of the Windows experience, in talking about a weather application, said the application uses "our new developer platform, which is, uhh, it's based on HTML5 and JavaScript." That set off alarms with developers.

 

According to ars technica:

Windows developers have invested a lot of time, effort, and money into the platform. Over the years, they've learned Win32, COM, MFC, ATL, Visual Basic 6, .NET, WinForms, Silverlight, WPF. ...
Hearing that Windows 8 would use HTML5 and JavaScript for its new immersive applications was, therefore, more than a little disturbing to Windows developers. Such a switch means discarding two decades of knowledge and expertise of Windows development - and countless hours spent learning Microsoft's latest-and-greatest technology - and perhaps just as importantly, it means discarding rich, capable frameworks and the powerful, enormously popular Visual Studio development environment, in favor of a far more primitive, rudimentary system with substantially inferior tools.

ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, meanwhile, tries to soothe ruffled feathers by noting that this isn't the first time Microsoft has tried to integrate HTML 5 with Windows; that it's only for touch, not the entire Windows development ecosystem; and by predicting that this is only a short-term solution. He's betting that if touch really takes off, Microsoft will come up with something better.

 


Recruiting firm CyberCoders named HTML 5 among the hottest skills for 2011. (See related slideshow.) And HTML 5 has been getting even more buzz since TechCrunch reported that Facebook is creating an HTML 5-based platform to work on mobile Safari, a project code named Project Spartan. It's also finally close to releasing an app for iPad. But Liz Gannes at All Things Digital says it's not so much about Facebook taking on Apple, as TechCrunch's MG Siegler suggests, as getting away from having to create apps on all the different platforms and improving Web apps. She notes that Facebook committed earlier this year to an HTML 5 strategy and is working with game developers to make the move.

 

So on the careers front, yes, HTML 5 looks like a good investment for your time and money. (There's always something else to learn, isn't there?)

 

Developers can expect to hear more from Microsoft at the BUILD conference in September and at Facebook's annual f8 developer conference.



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