As Microsoft prepares its Thursday Visual Studio LightSwitch release, UI tool company Infragistics today released a set of Silverlight-based tools to give “end-user developers” the power to create richer interactions with applications.
According to Jason Beres, vice president of product management at Infragistics, the company has taken its XAML controls and data visualizations and “made them LightSwitch-friendly,” which allows users to take advantage of Microsoft’s prewritten code to handle the routine tasks of an application.
LightSwitch, Beres said, falls in the middle of the spectrum between Access, the software business developers have been using to create line-of-business applications; and Visual Studio, where professional developers work. He added that LightSwitch will first find an uptick “with Visual Studio developers who want to do something quicker. As LightSwitch gets picked up with end-user developers, it will help there as well. There will be some learning [for the end-user developers], but I don’t think the curve will be that big.”
NetAdvantage for Visual Studio LightSwitch is an add-on to the Microsoft IDE that is composed of user experience controls and components that users can drag into a Visual Studio form designer, Beres explained.
The tool set includes a number of themes, including Metro, that users can select to change the look and feel of the application, he said. Also, the company took its Microsoft Outlook navigation bar and windowing controls, so screens show up as tiles in the main shell experience. “This gives applications a more interesting, immersive experience,” Beres said.
Further, LightSwitch is compelling because applications can be deployed directly to Windows Azure. “It would be slick if LightSwitch deployed to HTML5,” Beres said, mentioning a path Microsoft is heading down for cross-platform application functionality.