I was listening to the latest episode of the CodeCast podcast this morning, featuring Microsoft's Jay Schmelzer talking about Visual Studio LightSwitch.
Host Ken Levy made an interesting analogy for the future choice whether to use LightSwitch or Visual Studio:
"Have you ever been to Palm Springs? It's an interesting place because a lot of times you'll see people in golf carts driving around - not just on the golf course - on the street. If someone needs to go from Palm Springs to LA, they need a car. But if you're just putting around the neighborhood, this golf cart where all you do is put your foot on the pedal and steer - that's all you need - It works, right? Most people have both a car and a golf cart in the garage, and they pick which one they need to use."
Now, I haven't seen LightSwitch yet, and I hate it when people form an opinion about something they haven't seen, but…
It concerns me when I read articles like this, and see quotes like:
It’s a tool that relies on pre-built templates to make building applications easier for non-professional programmers.
Microsoft’s idea is that LightSwitch users will be able to “hand off their apps to professional Visual Studio developers to carry them forward,” when and if needed.
I've been on the receiving end of that handoff way too many times, with Access or Excel "applications" that started with the idea that they would be simple golf carts:
…but they bolt on a feature here and there, trying for this:
…and by the time they admit they're in over their heads and call in a professional, the "hand off" looks like this:
I hope LightSwitch will automate things enough to help the "non-professional programmers" fall into the "pit of success", but I also hope Microsoft understands why professional developers view initiatives like this with trepidation.