Last week, we reported on Microsoft the release of C# 9.0 in preview on .NET. We also touched on the full release of Blazor WebAssembly, an open source web app development framework. In a recent blog post, Microsoft expanded on this release, which seems to be the company finally offering an alternative to Silverlight.

Blazor WebAssembley is new framework for creating interactive web applications. It provides a platform for developers to build web applications that behave like a Progressive Web App (PWA). Daniel Roth, a principal program manager with Microsoft’s ASP.NET team, said Blazor WebAssembly is a “fully featured and supported release … that is ready for production use”.

“Blazor WebAssembly includes a proper .NET runtime implemented in WebAssembly, a standardized bytecode for the web. This .NET runtime is downloaded with your Blazor WebAssembly app and enables running normal .NET code directly in the browser. No plugins or code transpilation are required,” said Roth.

An important takeaway from the release is this appears to be Microsoft finally offering a clear alternative to Silverlight. This was Microsoft’s former framework for app development. Once a popular tool, Silverlight was discontinued by Microsoft in 2013, aside from the company continuing to offer bug fixes and patches.

Features

Microsoft continues to support Silverlight, but only in the obsolete Internet Explorer 11 and it is limited to JavaScript. Blazor WebAssembly gives developers access to C#, while they can also tap into .NET Silverlight code.

Blazor offers the following benefits for developers:

  • Blazor uses open web standards without plugins or code transpilation.
  • Blazor works in all modern web browsers, including mobile browsers.
  • Blazor apps can use existing .NET libraries, thanks to .NET Standard—a formal specification of .NET APIs that are common across all .NET implementations.
  • Your C# code can easily call JavaScript APIs and libraries. You can continue to use the large ecosystem of JavaScript libraries that exist for client side UI while writing your logic in C#.
  • Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code provide a great Blazor development experience on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • .NET is free, and that includes Blazor. There are no fees or licensing costs, including for commercial use.