Microsoft has released its latest development tool, Visual Studio LightSwitch. LightSwitch is aimed at application developers who want to build applications rapidly. I personally think this is a good application for freelance developers who are looking to develop applications in record times.
This super fast development ability of Lightswitch is provided by including a variety of prebuilt templates and tools to build business applications that target Windows Client or Windows Azure. LightSwitch simplifies attaching to data with data source wizards or creating data tables with table designers.It also includes screen templates for common tasks so you can create clean interfaces for your applications without being a designer.
In addition, LightSwitch users can build forms from existing templates and populate them with data from data sources including SQL Server, SQL Azure, SharePoint and others. There also is integrated support for working with Microsoft Office for tasks such as exporting data to Excel without having to write any code.
The LightSwitch Starter Kits help users jump-start their development with basic project templates for common business needs (e.g. Starter Kits for budget management, expense tracking, customer service, issue tracking, job candidate tracking, performance reviews, status reports and time tracking).
LightSwitch applications can be taken to the cloud by publishing to Azure directly from the IDE. You don’t need to rewrite your application; simply change the target environment, follow the steps and then your application is published to Azure.
To get started building with LightSwitch, refer to the following website:
Kunal Chowdhury, an MVP from India has created an eBook on LightSwitch to get your started in a jiffy. Get the eBook from here (USD 0.99 or INR 45):
Go ahead and switch on the light switch – Let there be applications!
“Native” developers – well this isn’t a reference to any ethnic developers . In the .NET world, native developers are the ones whose choice of programming language is the C++. C++ is used in many computing scenarios. When the might of Microsoft is behind .NET, these developers sometimes feel left out of all the buzz going around. And now they don’t have to.
GoingNative is a monthly show on Channel 9 focused on native development with an emphasis on C++. It’s brought to you by Charles Torre(C9), Diego Dagum(C++) and Tony Goodhew(VS). The goal is to provide entertainment, education, conversations with native developers across the company and beyond. From newcomers to seasoned C/C++ vets, the goal is to provide content and code that matters to them with the primary goal of expanding minds. This show will focus on a variety of scenarios where going native makes the most the sense when maximum power and performance are key ingredients in your computational recipe.
In episode 0, hosts Diego and Charles introduce the show, talk about modern C++, demo some code, then head to Ale Contenti’s office for a developer chat. The goal of the is to consistently deliver what native developers want to see, hear and code. Future episodes will include topics ranging from template meta-programming (which is really functional programming in C++) to ATL internals, COM internals, CRT internals, compilers, debuggers, C++ in the Windows kernel, C++ AMP (GPGPU) and much more. There will also be talk about other native languages and tool chains including the D programming language. External experts (like C++ legend Scott Myer, C++ creator Bjarne Stroustrup, D inventor Walter Bright, etc.) and internal experts (a la Herb Sutter, Stephan T. Lavavej, Mohsen Agsen from VC and several engineers over time from Windows, Office, Xbox, etc.) will be joining the show for technical conversations and demos.
MSDN forums has been the go to place for .NET developer queries forever. Every .NET developer has used the extensive documentation available on MSDN and posted queries the forums to receive community support.
Taking the support to the new age, Microsoft has now enabled developers with a gadget that makes access to MSDN forums easier from their desktop. Christened as “MSDN Forum Assistant”, the feature allows users to access MSDN Forums and receive updates directly to their desktops. The Forum Assistant is delivered as a desktop gadget that resides on your desktop.
Ask a Question: The gadget bookmarks the links to your favourite forums so that you can reach them quickly. Clicking on the forum link takes you to the forum page, where you can post your query.
Forum Search: You can search using keywords right from the gadget and the results open up in a new Window.
Thread Updates: Thread Updates keeps you up to speed with all the latest information from your favourite forums without having to open IE. If you have selected “Show Updates from my threads” the updates are limited to your posts only.
More information on the Forum Assistant is available at:
MSDN Forum Assistant Web Site: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-sg/gg650455
Video Overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYrNemrjQc8
While the gadget is a step forward from the MSDN & TechNet RSS gadget, I would have loved to see ability to post questions from the gadget to the choice of the forum without having to open a browser window. The real “Forum Assistant” I would like to have is the the one that integrates directly in Visual Studio and allows for posting in the forums from within the IDE. Hope it gets there one day!
You’ve heard the buzz about Social Networking and how the “youngsters” are spending/ wasting time there. Mostly, you use Social Networking for keeping in touch with friends and family (read facebook or Orkut) by sharing pictures. You may have created a professional profile online at LinkedIn as well.
However, all this makes no sense when you are in Office. With all the meetings, replying to emails and meeting deadlines the social networking seems a real waste of time. And you may be right!
Now, Microsoft is attempting to make social networking relevant for businesses. Here’s how social networking can aid business:
- When you receive an email from someone, you get to see their picture with the email. This will help you remember that person who you met at the last conference and who’s written to you now!
- While you are reading about that person you get to see his latest updates from LinkedIn and Facebook. This gives you a sense of the person’s personality.
In my opinion, both of the above scenarios are extremely useful (I know that sales folks are jumping in their seats reading this!). This brings social networking right to the heart of your business/ account management. Where CRM vendors are still trying to integrate social networking that is useful, this FREE addition to your existing tools is highly recommended.
To get it working, it is a two step process. First, you need to have Outlook (2010/ 2007/ 2003) and will need to install an appropriate version of Outlook Social Connector (based on the what Outlook you are running). If you are running Outlook 2010, you don’t need to install anything as Social Connector is already installed.
Second, after installing Social Connector you will add various social networking services in there. The services that are currently integrated with Outlook include:
List of all providers are updated on this provider page.
Now, if you are still not seeing the Outlook Social Connector pane appear in Outlook, you can go to View –> People Pane and set it to Normal.
You will get a new Social Connector pane. In that pane you will be able to see social updates that your colleagues made in social networking sites. But here’s the gotcha – The person will need to be connected to you on the site for you to get the updates from him. So, your social connector pane may look like:
- Filter the updates based on the interaction type (e.g. social updates, IM updates, earlier meetings with person). You can use the section highlighted in green in the picture above for that.
- Add the person to your social network from Outlook itself. Click on the “+” icon below the photo and choose the network you want to get added to. This is highlighted in black box in above picture.
The connectors still don’t allow you to update status from the interface. Also, the no. of connectors are too few. However, this maybe corrected in the future versions.
MS Outlook team has a blog post on the same.
Are you a user of any other email client – Notes or Thunderbird? What do you think of the above?