Posted on 18. January 2012

iPad killed the Silverlight star?

After the initial Statement of Direction in May and then the interview with Brad Wilson the then general manager of Dynamics CRM, there has been quite some excitement about cross-browser support for Dynamics CRM 2011. The timescale given was "the first half of 2012" being release with UR8. The thought of access to Dynamics CRM from an iPad is quite an attractive prospect I have to admit - and I'm really excited to see how Microsoft are going to structure the CRM user interface when they deliver it through cross browser HTML5.

  • Are we going to get a single cross browser interface, or will there still be a IE specific one with richer functionality?
  • Will the cross browser support be more like the mobile client - with it's own form design - Will IE still be the preferred browser?
  • You will still need IE to use the Outlook Client so will the cross browser support be more of a 'selling point' than something that actually makes a significant difference to business users?

 

Cross browser HTML5 will mean replacing the IE specific .htc 'behaviours' which is quite a considerable piece of work - but a subject closer to my heart is the future of Silverlight in CRM2011. Silverlight is supported on most modern browsers (http://www.microsoft.com/getsilverlight/get-started/install/default.aspx#) but not on iPads. Could this mean an end to Silverlight WebResources just so that we can get iPad support?

Only time will tell, but it might make it harder to choose the developer productivity and user experience gains that come with Silverlight. The iPad is not a desktop replacement. There are limitations with SalesForce.com on the iPad (http://www.crmverse.com/using-salesforce-com-on-ipad/). Unless a client has decided to use iPads as a primary user interface device, I am still recomending developing Silverlight WebResources but structuring them in a way that will make it easier to port them to an HTML5 user interface when the developer tooling support is improved.

Maybe with Windows 8 Tablets the problem will go away...then again...maybe not!

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