OpenSilver, the Open Source Silverlight reimplementation, enters Beta

Silverlight to Opensilver
Silverlight to Opensilver

Userware announced today that OpenSilver, the open-source reimplementation of Silverlight that runs on all browsers via WebAssembly, is entering its Beta stage.

OpenSilver Framework

OpenSilver is a modern, plugin-free, open-source reimplementation of Silverlight that uses Mono for WebAssembly and Microsoft Blazor. First announced on March 9, 2020, OpenSilver has come a long way since its technical preview and, according to the team, is now used by thousands of developers and companies creating new apps or migrating legacy Silverlight apps to modern browsers.

Depicted as the open-source Silverlight, OpenSilver is an attempt to leverage .NET developers’ experience with C# and XAML. The goals of the framework are to maintain rich legacy Silverlight applications and allow developers to create brand new cross-platform applications that can run on every modern browser. Userware, the company maintaining OpenSilver, announced that the Beta version can now make use of Ahead-of-time compilation for up to 15 times improved performance compared to the first release, supports DotNet6, most of the popular .NET libraries and third-party libraries such as Telerik UI for Silverlight. A showcase is available for both OpenSilver and for Telerik UI

“Entering Beta is a huge step forward for OpenSilver as it is slowly reaching maturity and supporting more features than ever” said Giovanni Albani, CEO of Userware. ”The progress we have made so far brings us one step closer to offering a modern, enhanced version of Silverlight and expanding the realm of possibilities for .NET developers when it comes to web applications. Everybody on the team is committed to delivering on that promise and we are seeing a lot of forwarding momentum with large, complex business applications successfully migrated”

What are the benefits of OpenSilver ?

OpenSilver relies solely on open standards and runs on both desktop and mobile web browsers. It is compatible with .NET Standard, so the code can be shared between the client, the server, and other platforms. It is also compatible with JavaScript, so existing JavaScript libraries can be directly imported and used from C#.  

According to the team, using OpenSilver is as easy as installing a VSIX, creating a new project, and starting to code. 

With Silverlight reaching the end of support in October 2021, OpenSilver seems to provide an alternative for the thousands of software developers and IT departments that still have legacy Silverlight applications, allowing them to migrate their applications while retaining all the features of the original applications.  

Userware stated that migrating an app could be more beneficial than rewriting, as most migrations can be done about 3 to 5 times faster than rewriting the app entirely. This could mean lower costs of migration for rich business applications. 

Another benefit is that developers do not need to learn a new programming language, and they can reuse most of the original code. This implies fewer risks of functional bugs, greater efficiency to maintain the application after migration, less time spent on writing functional and technical specifications, and the ability to keep coding while the migration project is in progress. 

Userware is currently focusing its effort on assisting companies with the migration of their business applications through a migration service and support plans. Each new feature developed during migration is then integrated into OpenSilver to further improve the framework. 

In the end, OpenSilver could be a way to save years of code and investment for companies heavily relying on Silverlight technology.

Full version Release and Roadmap

Userware announced that OpenSilver v1.0 will be released on October 12th, 2021.  

Some key features planned for 2021 – 2022 are : 

  • A new layout system with full support for measure and arrange (H1 2022) 
  • VB.NET will be fully supported as OpenSilver currently supports C# only (H2 2022) 
  • An improved support for migrating WPF applications (2022) 
  • Hundreds of popular .NET and JS-based libraries will be made compatible with OpenSilver and distributed as ready-to-use packages (2022 & 2023) 
  • Support for Microsoft LightSwitch (2022 & 2023) 

The Beta version of OpenSilver was released today and is available for download at: 

About the company

Userware is a software company founded in 2007 by two experts in Microsoft technologies. It is based in Paris, France. The company is specialized in Microsoft technologies and developer tools and is also behind CSHTML5, a Visual Studio extension that is able to compile C# and XAML code into HTML and JavaScript. Leveraging the CSHTML5 codebase, they replaced JavaScript with WebAssembly for native execution and improved .NET compatibility in OpenSilver. 

Userware team’s vision: 

“We are .NET developers who believe that Silverlight was the best platform ever for developing line-of-business (LOB) applications. We are sad to see Silverlight die due to the lack of support for plug-ins in modern browsers, so we want to reimplement it using modern, open, and standards-based technologies. We want to make it even more powerful than before, for developers to have the tools to build amazing products that can change the world.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.