Microsoft showed off a demo of Windows 8, including a new platform that allows developers to use HTML5 and JavaScript.

Is this new platform the main way to develop for Windows 8? Is Microsoft phasing out the .NET platform in favor of the HTML 5 stack? What does Windows 8 mean for .NET developers?


5 Answers 5


Several reasons why this is probably not the end of .NET:

  • If you look at the video, all they actually say is that Windows 8 will support some kind of desktop widget-style application type that can be developed in HTML5. Essentially, Microsoft is turning the Windows desktop into a web browser. So this has, at far as we know now, no bearing on anything else on the desktop.
  • Microsoft doesn't really have any killer developer tools in the area of HTML5/JS. So unless they intend to abandon Visual Studio as it is today (in a short time, since Windows 8 is already on the horizon), it would be a rather bizarre move.
  • Lots of .NET applications run on the server, from ASP.NET web applications, to backend processing applications. These will be unaffected by such a change.

The only things that I would gather from this are:

  • Microsoft is moving away from Silverlight on the desktop. They appear to see that they won't gain anything significant from competing with HTML5 and Flash.
  • Microsoft appears to acknowledge that IE will never beat Firefox and Chrome, so instead they now hope that turning the entire Windows desktop into some kind of super browser may prevent more people from moving away.

Essentially, as Google is turning Chrome into an OS with Chromebook, Microsoft is turning Windows into a browser with Windows 8. It will be interesting to see this unfold.

  • 1
    +1 for "this is showing of a feature and not how everything will be done." Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 20:38
  • 1
    And a desktop with integrated web features is nothing new to Windows. Remember active desktop? (I know I'm trying to forget it...)
    – BBlake
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 2:23
  • @Deckard - "Silverlight is not dead" (or abandoned). Microsoft claims they are still doing active work on the platform, and are not planning on abandoning it anytime soon. I know because I recently attended a Microsoft conference regarding the future of Silverlight. It's certainly not dead, but it's not really "alive" either.
    – bbosak
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 1:45

Was it this video?

Somewhere halfway through it, he switches to a traditional desktop. New GUI doesn't seem to be more than another layer over it.

.NET is much more than GUI. The new direction might spell trouble for silverlight, but for .NET it will be just another kind of presentation layer, not much different from webapps working on ASP.NET now.

  • 1
    I took that "switch" moment as nothing more than the fact that they were running an Alpha product on top of an existing product and hadn't taken the time to redesign the way Excel or Explorer.exe looked yet. Commented Jun 12, 2011 at 20:50
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    I doubt they will change much. They might tweek the look a bit, but the changes will be cosmetic, like between xp and vista. I don't think they can go much further than altering the skin without jeopardizing backward compatibility, and surely they won't do something like that on such a short time notice.
    – scrwtp
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 0:46

For me personally .NET is its ASP.NET engine plus the class library. What they do with desktop is of little concern to me.

Therefore no, Windows 8 is not going to be the end of .NET. Otherwise the angry developers will migrate away from the Microsoft stack and that will certainly be the end. Not the end of .NET but the end of Microsoft.


I'm sure all of our answers will be given to us at Microsoft's Build Conference.

And no, I personally don't think there's anything to worry about.



Is it the beginning of the end, but when will that end arrive? We still have people doing VB6 apps running on Windows XP. Somehow I have problem seeing a mass exodus to Windows 8 and javascript programming.

While the consumer side might be under heavy attack from mobile phones, apps and tablets Windows is still deeply entrenched in the enterprise side of things and they aren't exactly an agile bunch.

That the desktop application as we know it is already dying, on all platforms, but I will go faster in the consumer market then the enterprise and I think we can safely assume that both windows forms and wpf applications will still be around in five years.

  • +1, me too. Javascript per se is no silver bullet at all.
    – Machado
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 0:22
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    - and we still have people running VB6 apps on Windows 7 (and we plan to run them on Windows 8 as well!)
    – Matt Wilko
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 10:54

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