My manager wanted a small application for the team to replace the Excel time sheets that each team member fills and submits for better resource planning.
I had couple of alternative options for tools: I could develop a simple desktop application (using .Net), configure SharePoint probably by adding a third-party web app, extend Excel and Outlook by using Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO), or try the new Microsoft development technique: Visual Studio LightSwitch.
VS LightSwitch is a rapid application development (RAD) environment that is devised to make it simple, common sense, and straight-forward to develop business applications that are data-centric. Typically, LightSwitch could be a perfect tool when the desired application is to consist of a number of screens whose job is to perform basic operations (search, insert, retrieve) on business entities.
According to the LightSwitch Website:
“With LightSwitch, you can build custom applications that rival off-the-shelf solutions. Get a head start by using pre-configured screen templates that give your application a familiar look and feel. LightSwitch also provides prewritten code and other reusable components to handle routine application tasks, along with helpful step-by-step guidance. However, if you need to write custom code, you can use Visual Basic .NET or C#. You can deploy to the desktop, browser, or cloud (post-Beta) to share your application with others more easily without the cumbersome installation processes.”
After developing the application, I felt great..really! I could develop a great-looking application with couple of days and the other most important value this experience brought is the way it made me feel! I enjoyed using Visual Studio 2012 LightSwitch, as I enjoy working with brilliant people that get the brilliance out of you! This tool is brilliant!
Here is the developed application in screenshots. I will write a separate post of development.