My irrational exuberance over SAP and Silverlight

Boy was I happy yesterday.

It sure looked to me like SAP's Bj√∂rn Goerke was strongly endorsing all new browser-based UI development happening in HTML, Javascript, and CSS (colloquially known as HTML5) rather than alternatives like Silverlight and Flash.

This is definitely the right move. I've long held the opinion that any UIs that can effectively be developed using HTML5 should be developed using HTML5. So it pained me, 3+ years ago, to see SAP developing new web-based UIs for their Business ByDesign product in Silverlight.

Of course, there have been reasons to doubt that HTML5 would win out as the web UI technology of choice. But it's now a no-brainer to turn to Flash and Silverlight only as a last resort for browser-based UIs. It has been ever since it became clear that the iPhone was going to have a sizable chunk of the phone market and that the iPad was going to dominate the tablet market for a good length of time: almost 2 years now. So it perplexed me a year ago to see the new UI for SAP's universal storefront released using Silverlight.

(The storefront is currently being rewritten in HTML5, and already displays as HTML5 on devices that don't support Silverlight, as well as in some browsers.)

With Goerke's statements, I had some hope that SAP was finally on target with its browser-based UI strategies. It would only build new browser-based UIs in HTML5, and in doing so it would get good at HTML5. Sometimes, to make a change, you've got to force yourself to make the change. It looked like SAP was going to bite the bullet and break free of Silverlight and Flash - two technologies that were holding it back on mobile, at the least. That made me happy.

Then I saw that SAP is planning to release a new tool in Q4 with (you guessed it) a browser-based Silverlight UI.

Back to waiting.