infoTECH Feature

August 04, 2010

Microsoft's LightSwitch Simplifies Application Development for Non-Developers

This week during the keynote address at the VSLive conference on Microsoft’s (News - Alert) campus in Redmond, Wash., the software giant officially unveiled Visual Studio LightSwitch, a rapid-application-development tool which was earlier codenamed KittyHawk.

Keynoter Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Visual Studio division, said that LightSwitch provides a code-free app building experience designed to appeal to business power users."Everything is designed on top of .NET (News - Alert) as the core technology. If you want it to grow up and add new features, pop it into Visual Studio Pro and you are up and running," added Zander.

Aimed at non professional programmers, Visual Studio LightSwitch is designed to enable inexperienced coders to quickly build business applications for the cloud and the desktop. According to Microsoft, the first beta of LightSwitch will be available for download from MSDN on August 23rd. In a blog post, Microsoft’s senior vice president S Somasegar noted that professional developers are not the only people building business applications within an organization today. The responsibility is being spread, and everyone is playing more than one role.

As this shift becomes more pronounced, it's become clear that a broader set of developers are building business applications and really expect a much simpler way to quickly accomplish their goals. With this observation, a light went on and LightSwitch was born, asserted Somasegar. He added, “LightSwitch is the simplest way to build business applications for the cloud and the desktop.

”According to Microsoft, LightSwitch provides a variety of pre-built templates and tools to build business applications that target Windows Client or Windows Azure using as much or as little code as you want to write. With LightSwitch, there is now a tool that better enables business domain experts to easily build professional-quality line-of-business applications without focusing on writing code," said the developer. This is critical because these business applications - which may be built out of a short-term need - often need to be extended and IT supported, added Microsoft.

In further explaining the features of LightSwitch in his blog, Somasegar stated “You can quickly build line-of-business applications beginning with only one decision - Visual Basic or C#.” 

You can build forms from existing templates and populate them with data from data sources including SQL Server, SQL Azure, SharePoint, and others, the blogger wrote. There is integrated support for working with Microsoft Office for tasks such as exporting data to Excel without having to write code. Within minutes you can have a basic business application created and ready to deploy, leveraging disparate data sources and Office tools. While developing your application, you can modify the application as it runs, he continued.

Microsoft said LightSwitch creates Silverlight applications that can run in the browser, out-of-the-browser, or in the cloud.  When your application grows, you can use Visual Studio 2010 Professional, Premium or Ultimate to extend and customize it further, concluded Microsoft.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Subscribe to InfoTECH Spotlight eNews

InfoTECH Spotlight eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the IT industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter

infoTECH Whitepapers