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Turning on the LightSwitch, in Five Movements

I’ve written about Visual Studio LightSwitch several times in this blog and in my Redmond Review column, including this month’s piece, “LightSwitch: The Answer to the Right Question.”  All throughout, I’ve been pretty clear in my support of the product. 

A little over two weeks ago LightSwitch shipped, and I think it’s off to a very good start.  To help it along, I wrote a series of five whitepapers on LightSwitch for the product team, and they were just published by Microsoft.  You can find them all by looking around the product’s site, but here are direct links to the PDFs for each paper:

The first paper’s a bit of a wonkish piece on what makes LightSwitch different and why it’s needed in the market.  After that formal opening, the papers get less “white” and instead walk through the product in detail, with an abundance of screenshots.  If you’re curious about the product, this is an easy way to get a good look at it without having to install it or watch a video from beginning to end.  I hope that even skeptics will start to see validity in the point I make several times over: while LightSwitch does a lot for you, it also gets out of your way and lets you do a bunch on your own.  That’s a balance that I don’t think a lot of business application productivity tools attain.

The fifth paper covers LightSwitch extensions, which is a topic so late-breaking that I finished the paper less than a week ago.  LightSwitch already has extensions offered by Infragistics, DevExpress, ComponentOne, RSSBus, and First Floor Software.  Telerik has on its Web site a host of hands-on labs demonstrating how to use its Silverlight components in LightSwitch applications.  Extensions from the community are already starting to pop up on the Visual Studio Gallery too.  Together these offerings represent rather robust support for a fledgling product, and I expect the them, and the degree of integration in extensions, to continually improve.

Take a look at LightSwitch and keep a lookout for its progress and success. The best way to really get the product is to learn the tooling quickly, then think of a database and application you need to build out and see how fast you can get it running using the product.  You may be surprised, not only by how quickly you finish, but by how sturdy and extensible the application you built actually is.

There are no guarantees, but I think LightSwitch product could really catch on.



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