Introducing Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011


Visual Studio LightSwitch is a new member of the Visual Studio family. It is a stand alone application. According to Microsoft, Visual Studio LightSwitch as "the simplest way to create business applications for the desktop or the cloud". Visual Studio LightSwitch is a rapid application development (RAD) tool which is used to help write data-centric line of business (LOB) applications.

visual studio light switch

Unlike previous Visual Studio products, LightSwitch emphasizes minimizing the amount of code that must be explicitly written in order to develop an application. Using LightSwitch one can easy-to-use GUI Designers to design data structures and the user interface for working with the data. Instead of writing a huge amount of code, you can use the graphical Designers that LightSwitch provides to define the data you intend to work with, and to create the UI that interacts with the data.

Visual Studio LightSwitch may be deemed a much more powerful product due to its capability of creating applications by drawing upon the full power of the .NET Programming technology.

Visual Studio LightSwitch in its release version will be a full-service Integrated Development Environment (IDE), well suited to develop line-of-business applications using Microsoft's latest .NET Framework 4.0 technology.Microsoft LightSwitch Version 1.0 is expected to be released by the end of 2011.

When you create Line Of Business applications, their everyday activities can be separated into two groups:

  • Activities focused on writing business code, such as the checkout process in an e-commerce site.
  • Activities to create the plumbing code. The plumbing code includes the creation of interfaces that the layers use to communicate, the handling of transactions, and so on.

In many Line Of Business development projects, increase the the amount of time spent on creating plumbing codes. Visual Studio LightSwitch decreases the amount of time spent on creating plumbing code. Actually, LightSwitch users do not have to deal with plumbing code at all; rather, they can focus on delivering business functionality. You to be more productive when developing business functions in the LightSwitch.

In terms of LightSwitch applicability, the following three groups, or zones, describe the degree to which this new member of the Visual Studio family applies to a LOB project:

There are three zone in the LightSwitch, which describe the degree to which this new member of the Visual Studio family applies to a Line of Business project:

  • White zone : LightSwitch would be a good tool for these kinds of projects. White Your business application is implemented as a set of Excel worksheets.
  • Black zone : LightSwitch cannot be used as the main tool for projects in this zone. Black Your project handles a massive amount of data (millions of entries).
  • Grey zone : Certain parts (or phases) of your line of business project can be implemented with LightSwitch, but you certainly need other tools to complete it. Grey Your application handles a large amount of data, but the structure is simple, and the number of users is relatively small.

Basic architecture of a Visual Studio LightSwitch application

architecture of light switch

The application model is at the heart of a Microsoft LightSwitch application. The application model is built using the application blocks. Entities are built from EntityTypes and queries is built using the entities.

The built-in designers use these blocks to create the application; picking entities and binding them with the desired screens.

Microsoft LightSwitch screens

There are five types of data screens in the LightSwitch Application. Which are as follows

  • New Data Screen
  • Search Data Screen
  • Details Screen
  • Editable Grid Screen
  • List and Details Screen

At runtime, the screen is displayed in the browser and if there is no screen created at design time, the browser displays a blank screen .

New Data Screen

This screen is used when you may want to add fresh data to an empty table, or add data to an existing table.

Search Data Screen

Search is one of the primary activities of any business. Search data screen is used for the search any records in the table or you can say this screen is used for search any data in the entities. This screen is very useful for searching the data.

Details screen

The Details screen shows a single entity and its children. Make sure "Use as Default Details Screen" is checked. It means that this detail screen will be used as the detail screen for all records by default. If you forget to set it as the default details screen you can set the property of the table (in table designer).

Editable Grid screen

Editable grid screen is used for edit and add data into the table. Using this screen you can edit data at run time and you can also add new data into the table.

List and Details screen

The Details screen shows a single entity and its children, if any.The List and Details screen displays a list and for the chosen item in the list displays its details.


So Visual Studio LightSwitch is very useful for build the business application. It is the product of Microsoft and it is the member of the Visual Studio family.