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The LightSwitch Hits Keep Coming

I have to admit, Andrew Brust called it. When I got the first draft of Andrew's take on the new LightSwitch visual development tool for his Redmond Review column in the September issue of Visual Studio Magazine, I scoffed at the notion that LightSwitch would kick off a huge ideological debate over who is, and who is not, a "real" programmer.

But after a few minutes watching VSLive! presenter Billy Hollis tear it up during his spirited Devopalooza routine Wednesday evening, I realized I was sorely mistaken. Billy got started ribbing Microsoft over the increasing complexity of its development tooling, before broaching the subject of LightSwitch, which of course is intended to make .NET development easy. So easy, in fact, that it invites all sorts of people to build .NET applications. It was when Billy started displaying the reaction from the twitterverse that I realized that, whoa, there might be an ideological clash afoot.

Billy read through a dozen or so tweets, each as scathing as the last. One tweet said LightSwitch should be called what it really is, "Visual Studio for Dummies." Another bemoaned the coming flood of amateur apps and the inevitable cries for support their authors would create. The theme, as Billy observed, was clear: A lot of people really, really don't like LightSwitch.

But why? I mean, it's not like the people who will be cranking out LightSwitch apps aren't already producing business logic in Access, SharePoint and Excel. Heck, if LightSwitch manages to lure corporate holdouts away from Visual Basic for Applications, can't we all agree that is a good thing?

As Andrew Brust so adroitly observed in the first cut of his column manuscript, maybe not. Fortunately, you can check out Andrew's blog post on LightSwitch, which includes his observations on the reception the announcement got among developers.

What's your take? Is LightSwitch a welcome return to the productivity-minded tooling that helped make Microsoft the giant that it is, or is LightSwitch a gimmick that opens the field to reckless development?

Posted by Michael Desmond on 08/04/2010 at 1:15 PM


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