Xamarin, the elephant in the room, etc...

Xamarin, the elephant in the room, etc...

Old forum URL: forums.lhotka.net/forums/t/10533.aspx

skagen00 posted on Monday, July 18, 2011

Moving along, we've got quite a robust application build out on CSLA only a couple months away from being ready to roll (Silverlight).

I had been asked - would Silverlight still be the choice? It's an interesting question because the second question would be - "ok, then what?".

I do not believe for a moment we'd be a third of the way to where we are right now w/o Silverlight. (Targeting the Web for a line-of-business application)

Obviously with the relevations happening around Build, Windows 8, etc - there's a ton of discussion about what the future holds for .NET in general.  Following the "wtf" threads on silverlight.net mentioned a link to Xamarin.  I largely dismissed it, I've been to the grindstone for a long time and I hadn't heard of "Xamarin" and largely dismissed it. The link: http://blog.xamarin.com/2011/07/18/first-press-release/

I dismissed it until I noticed the same link on the CSLA forum referenced with a comment of "This is excellent news! This should help put CSLA 4 version 4.2 back on track." from Rocky.

There is really no news that is going to change the current course that my team and I are on, but when Rocky speaks I listen - I remember as well the comment spoken (not verbatim) about Silverlight being the future of development for many/most of us.  None of us are right 100% of the time, but I have got to say I was encouraged to see Rocky make a reference to the link.

I think many of us on these forums are just so darned busy, but I'm sure many of us are following the news as it develops.  Just two cents that says I appreciate any time Rocky has the opportunity to talk about how the unfolding news will affect CSLA and the overall .NET landscape going forward - I highly suspect the vast majority of us are pretty vested in Silverlight and WPF applications and are holding our breath for September.




RockfordLhotka replied on Monday, July 18, 2011

A few months ago, when mono was still under Novell, several people invested quite a lot of time to get CSLA 4 working on mono (Linux, OS X), MonoTouch (iOS), and Mono for Android (Android).

Then, as part of the Attachmate purchase of Novell, the fate of the commercial mono products (for iOS and Android) went into limbo. The actual creators of mono and the rest of the products were laid off.

Those people went off and created Xamarin, a company dedicated to mono and the related products. It is now clear that they were able to get all the rights to their previous work, and that's what I was saying was such good news.

MonoTouch and Mono for Android are really amazing. They are a slightly larger subset of .NET than Silverlight, and therefore are able to support CSLA 4 quite well. This means that we're back to the point of having beta quality code to allow your business classes to run on iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android, and we can resume my original vision of version 4.2 - which was to support mono.

The whole "Windows 8" debacle is a separate issue. Microsoft's silence (if not deliberate misdirection) about the future of development on their platform is, in my view, a really bad idea. They are spending most or all of the developer goodwill they've earned over the past decade on this policy of silence.

Now if we go to BUILD and find out that something like Silverlight is a primary dev platform for these new "Win8 apps", they'll probably regain most of that lost goodwill rapidly. And I really do think this is likely - not "Silverlight" as such, but something like Silverlight - hopefully with some cleaner XAML and far better integration with the native OS.

On the other hand, if we go to BUILD and find out that Microsoft has abandoned their entire development legacy in favor of HTML 5 and JavaScript... Well, I guess we'll see what happens then. I really don't expect such a thing though - Microsoft can't afford to start from scratch and build a whole new developer base for Windows and remain competitive with Apple/Google.

So, I am moving forward assuming that the future is full of "Silverlight-like" technologies. And if that's the case, then the Xamarin technologies just mean that we have "Silverlight-like" technologies on iPhone, iPad, Android, and full .NET-like technologies on Linux and OS X. How is this not good news? :)

tmg4340 replied on Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The whole "Windows 8" debacle is a separate issue. Microsoft's silence (if not deliberate misdirection) about the future of development on their platform is, in my view, a really bad idea. They are spending most or all of the developer goodwill they've earned over the past decade on this policy of silence.

I realize this is tangential to the original post, but I have to say this comment raised a question.

I have not followed the Windows 8/BUILD info as closely as I should have, but I have been following it.  Most every item I've read on the matter speaks to the "Microsoft's silence" portion rather extensively, with much the same conclusion that you have raised (I, for one, and quite frankly left baffled by what we'll end up with; I don't see how MS could abandon XAML, but at this point who knows?)

However, I have not seen any other medium suggest "deliberate misdirection".  This raises an entirely new set of questions/issues which, while not new for Microsoft, are new (at least to me) in the context of this discussion, and somewhat disturbing if true.

Rocky: you have ties to many people within Microsoft.  Realizing that you can't tell us everything you know - what do you know that you aren't telling us?  Or what did I miss?  I am presuming that you chose your wording deliberately.  Smile

- Scott

RockfordLhotka replied on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Deliberately, though perhaps as an expression of some frustration.

I assume that the over-emphasis on HTML 5 in the early Win8 information was a form of mis-direction. I simply can't believe that Microsoft would abandon and betray their entire developer base in an effort to win the hearts of a bunch of web people who hate the very existence of the company... And yet there was not a peep about any Microsoft-focused dev platform for Win8 in any of the early content.

What's interesting about the blanket of silence this time around, is that even "insiders" don't know anything. Or at least not insiders that are tightly connected with groups like .NET, Visual Studio, etc. Perhaps insiders tightly connected with the actual Windows Division know more - but I doubt it. Microsoft hasn't been this secretive since the early 1990's (if even then).

So all we can do is sit back, read the rumors, infer what we can infer, and wait for BUILD to find out if Microsoft remains worthy of the trust we've granted them over the past couple decades.

Given the hard-core reality that abandoning their developer base would be an unbelievably dangerous business decision, it seems likely that BUILD will reveal some pretty happy-making information for .NET and Silverlight developers. Or so I hope.

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