Convert Silverlight APP to HTML5 SPA – tools and technologies

My team is working on a strategy to convert our cloud based Silverlight app to HTML5 app. Although we have been working on formulating a strategy to find best possible set of tools, technologies, and methodologies to convert our App to HTML, I am asking this question here to get some feedback from the large community at SO and to learn from experiences of the people who may have done similar things in recent past.

My question has a few parts.

  1. Our app is written in Silverlight and uses WCF RIA services. Most importantly, we rely a lot on MVVM and we wish not to rewrite that logic again hence to reuse as much code as possible. What would be, in your opinion, the best possible combination of tools and technologies for us to use?

  2. In order to make SPA, we would like to use some of the “cool” new frameworks out there but we really want to minimize our work (due to hard deadlines) and be able to thoroughly test our app easily and quickly (hence the code reuse). Is SPA even a good option or should we go for traditional MVC app? Keeping in mind that there are more than 200+ views in our app.

  3. If we chose to go the SPA route, which framework is best suited in terms of life span. We have to move away from Silverlight because it is going to die soon. We don't want to be in the same situation again in near future.

Answers


Moving an existing Silverlight app to and HTML5 web app is the perfect project for AngularJS. Angular has it's own similar MV* design pattern, but you will not be "reusing" code from your existing silverlight apps. The main ideas and abstractions may be similar, but just the nature of how html and js work together, and especially how they work in angular, you have to do it the angular way.

Also, Angular is somewhat of an engineering approach to web development. It is not a learn-it-in-a-weekend piece of cake framework to master. There's a lot that goes into it. There's noob ways to do things in Angular, somewhat noob-ish ways to do the same things, and then the so-called "right" way of doing it so you may find yourself learning some ways of doing things only to have them replaced with "better ways".

If you want to "minimize your work" then Angular might not be the best choice, but if you want your HTML5 app to be really awesome then any framework you with will require some studying in addition to getting used to the inherent quirks of Javascript.

Angular 2 is hot and just launched a Beta release, but I'm still happily using AngularJS 1.4 for all production apps.


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