VSLive!: Microsoft Announces New Visual Programming Tool, LightSwitch

Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Visual Studio, gave the opening keynote at the VSLive! Conference on the Redmond, Washington campus of Microsoft today, announcing the launch of Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch.

Visual Studio LightSwitch is a Visual Studio-based, wizard-driven .NET application development environment targeted for business users. LightSwitch aims to close the gap between full-feature .NET application development and the ad hoc applications and solutions built with Excel, Access and SharePoint. Featuring an intuitive, wizard-driven interface, LightSwitch provides a code-free app building experience designed to appeal to business power users.

"Everything is designed on top of .NET 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," Zander said.

The keynote demo by Microsoft's Orville McDonald drew numerous rounds of applause, as he showed how the environment can streamline repetitive and vexing development tasks from a simplified visual interface. McDonald also showed how LightSwitch developers can quickly tie together disparate data sources in an application, including a local database, a remote SharePoint list and a cloud-based SQL Azure database.

One of the characteristics of LightSwitch is its focus on business utility. LightSwitch presents business savvy native data types like email, phone numbers and money, providing automated validation and in-field formatting of these types. Zander also discussed how LightSwitch allows developers to defer deployment decisions, so that an application can be targeted for Windows, Windows Server, Windows Azure or a browser platform at the end of the process, rather than having to be shaped from the start for a specific platform.

Zander said a beta of Visual Studio LightSwitch will be available for download from MSDN on August 23.

Conference Rebranding

Henry Allain, president of Redmond Media Group, kicked off the keynote proceedings, noting that the VSLive! event for the first time was taking place on the Microsoft campus. Allain announced during his comments that the VSLive! Conference going forward will operate under a new name -- Visual Studio Live!

Allain also gave attendees a heads up on the upcoming show conference, with Visual Studio Live! Conferences taking place November 14-17 in Orlando, April 11-15 in Las Vegas, and September 12-16 at the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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