Lightswitch for SharePoint development
Last night for the first time I downloaded and played with Lightswitch for the first time. You can do the same.
I had vaguely heard about it once before, wasn’t quite sure what it was for, something to do with Silverlight (which is dead anyway right? Yup, IMHO), so had previously ignored it.
Well, the latest CTP 4 for Visual Studio 2012 has been released, and now Lightswitch supports HTML5, and is mobile friendly. As we needed to develop some mobile friendly screens to get data into a system we’ve built using SharePoint, and Lightswitch has SharePoint integration, I thought I’d give it a go.
I am unashamedly impressed with the ease of development. I started off with the SharePoint tutorial, and apart from having some Office 365 issues (we’re still on SharePoint 2010, so I spooled p a new 2013 account), it went super quickly. Getting to the point where I could create new items and edit them off a list, including security and defaults took about half the time it took me to install VS2012 and the add-in and get O365 running.
Caveats: not as much control as you might like on the theme and such: in the previous version, you could create extensions for themes, but it appears this isn’t out yet.
You *do* have the ability to embed your custom controls, and my next effort will be to embed a D3 visualisation and use Lightswitch as the GUI mapper.
Now, some background: the HTML5 controls are based on jQuery mobile, and Lightswitch is using an MVVM framework in the background. Does this matter? Apart from the fact that this is a good thing (mostly), no it is trivial to just use the GUI. Some more on the architecture here
In terms of SharePoint integration: there is a button “Enable SharePoint” and it’s really (almost) that simple. Using OAuth means that the fact that SharePoint is in the cloud and not on your AD doesn’t matter, and the deployment is as simple as F5 for a local web server connected to SharePoint, and publish and upload a file for cloud deployment. Chalk and cheese compared to SharePoint 2010. Connecting to SharePoint lists are just as simple.
Another interesting tidbit: Lightswitch uses OData
I’m only just starting out with Lightswitch, and it is by no means a complete app dev environment, but it is going to have a strong place in our SharePoint vertical application development.