In July 2011, Microsoft launched an initiative to help accelerate building Line-of-Business applications with Visual Studio LightSwitch – a stand-alone product that integrated with Visual Studio 2010. The promise of LightSwitch was to provide experienced developers, those with little experience, and non-developer business stakeholders with a faster way to build business applications.
LightSwitch could be used to create Silverlight, HTML 5 or SharePoint applications for the web or for the desktop. In subsequent releases, instead of a stand-alone product, Microsoft included LightSwitch tooling with Visual Studio 2012 and beyond. Today, LightSwitch is available with the latest release of Visual Studio 2015.
However, with all the focus on ASP.NET 5 (now ASP.NET Core) over the past couple years, there has been very little discussion about LightSwitch. In fact the last post on the LightSwitch blog was made back in 2014.
That is, until Oct 14, 2016.
That’s when Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2015 will be the last version of Visual Studio to include the LightSwitch tooling. Microsoft will continue to support existing LightSwitch apps with critical bug fixes and security updates in accordance to the Microsoft Product Support Lifecycle. (Mainstream support for Visual Studio 2015 ends October 13, 2020.)
I did not personally use LightSwitch, but some of our staff did, in order to create some tools for analyzing marketing data. In our use case, LightSwitch was useful for non-developer staff to create quick applications. While LightSwitch was not central to our system development efforts, I thought it useful in certain circumstances, and I could understand how a community of LightSwitch power-users could evolve around this tooling. Which would explain some of the passionate comments on the recent LightSwitch announcement.
With the deprecation of Silverlight, Expression, WebMatrix, and now LightSwitch, you can see Microsoft trying to shed itself of their older technologies, no doubt to focus on their new cross-platform tooling for cloud environments. If you are invested in any older Microsoft technologies, it is important to keep tabs on the Microsoft development team blogs, and you should take note of any long periods of silence. And although it will eat up resources, it’s best to invest in learning about and making transitions to newer modern development stacks and tools when you can.
At DiscountASP.NET, we try to provide you with a long runway. We can still support older technologies like Silverlight and sites developed with Expression, WebMatrix and LightSwitch. And you know we keep up to date with the latest technologies like ASP.NET Core hosting. We strive to provide a platform where you can confidently run your legacy apps while working on modernizing your development efforts.
Our Windows hosting service is a subscription business. And as much as I hate to admit it, we do have customers cancel service. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. All kidding aside, part of running any subscription service is dealing with churn.
At the end of the day, we want your online presence to be successful. We hope that our hosting solution can contribute to your success, but if it doesn’t work for you, we understand. We certainly don’t want to hold anyone hostage in an undesirable or unworkable situation.
That’s why we make it easy to submit a cancellation request – right from your account Control Panel.
I’m sure you have experienced other subscription services that make it extremely difficult to cancel services. They force you to call during specific hours (never in your time zone), then go through a series of automated phone menus, punching in all sorts of information. When you finally get to speak to someone, you have to confirm or repeat information, provide answers to security questions and sometimes even justify your reasons for leaving! The whole process is painful, and the representative’s job is to convince you to keep your account active, not to help you cancel it.
We don’t employ those Kind of tactics. Mainly because it’s just not cool, but also because the last thing we want to be – even if you’re on your way out – is annoying. We don’t want anyone to have a bad experience associated with DiscountASP.NET.
However, if you do ever cancel service with us, we have one “ask” – and that is to let us know why you canceled. We ask the question not to pry or invade your privacy, but for feedback in order to help improve our service.
If you sold your business or got a new web developer who prefers another host, let us know. If you just hated the service or Control Panel or the way some feature worked, tell us. We can take it! Maybe you just outgrew what we offer, or decided to change your technology stack. Let us know. That’s valuable information to us.
We continuously review the reasons given when people cancel and the information is passed along to our product and operations teams, who use the feedback to help inform our product pipeline and customer support training. Getting feedback from you is really valuable and it helps us to prioritize what we work on or develop.
We realize that if you are leaving you may be thinking, “Hey, I’m leaving, why should I care about helping you?” Well, look at it this way: we are an independent hosting company. We aren’t just another brand name in a huge conglomerate, or a line item for an investment firm. It’s important that independent companies like DiscountASP.NET continue to thrive. It keeps the big conglomerates and the fly-by-night “hosts” honest. And it provides you with a more personal alternative to the giant corporate hosts when you want it.
That’s good for you as a consumer, having that choice, and it’s good for us, for obvious reasons. 😉
And while we’re on the subject, feel free to give us your feedback even if you have no intention of leaving! We love to hear it, and it helps for all the reasons we’ve talked about here.
As you may or may not know, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down the EU Safe Harbor framework back in October 2015. The Safe Harbor agreement was originally reached in 2000, and provided a framework to allow US-based companies to transfer EU citizens’ data to the USA if the company met EU standards for privacy protection.
Since 2010, DiscountASP.NET has maintained US-EU Safe Harbor certification, working with our privacy management solutions partner, TRUSTe. We chose to invest in attaining Safe Harbor status because we host customers from all over the world and we wanted to make sure that our EU customers are confident that we are following EU privacy standards. We believe it’s a differentiator and shows our commitment to protecting your privacy.
Naturally, we were very concerned when the Safe Harbor framework was ruled invalid. After the ruling came out we reached out to TRUSTe to get guidance, and they informed us that US and EU teams were negotiating a new privacy framework. It took a while, but in July 2016, the new framework was approved with a new name, Privacy Shield. On August 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce started accepting certifications under the new Privacy Shield framework.
We hope that our efforts here demonstrate our commitment to privacy protection.
Microsoft introduced WebMatrix as a free and lightweight IDE for web developers back in 2011. During the 2011 //BUILD conference, Microsoft introduced WebMatrix v2 beta. I remember that, because I was there too – on stage to announce our free WebMatrix v2 beta hosting sandbox.
I personally thought WebMatrix was a useful tool (when you didn’t have Visual Studio or didn’t want to install Visual Studio). Whenever I was on a computer or laptop that didn’t have Visual Studio and I needed to do some website work or show someone something on their laptop, I usually ended up installing WebMatrix.
But all good things must come to an end.
In early August, in the Microsoft IIS.NET WebMatrix forum, it was announced that there will be no more future development work on WebMatrix. So the last version is 3.0 and there will be no more updates and no more bug fixes. Since Microsoft introduced Visual Studio Code – a new free cross-platform IDE, they are pushing developers to transition to that tool now.
At DiscountASP.NET and Everleap, we support WebDeploy and will continue to host sites developed with WebMatrix, but for developers who rely on WebMatrix, you will need to make the transition to a new tool in the near future.
It’s installed and available right now on all of the IIS8 servers. If you want to use Core but your site is on an IIS7 server, we can migrate you to IIS8. Just let us know.
The only known issue at the moment is deployment only works into your root directory. We’ve let Microsoft know that there’s an issue deploying to a subdirectory, and we expect that they’ll fix that in a future release.
We’ll be publishing some posts soon on developing with ASP.NET Core 1.0. Stay tuned.
I’m pleased to announce that SQL 2016 hosting is now officially available as an add-on option. Some of the new enhancements include temporal tables, query store, stretch database, and native support for JSON.
SQL 2016 can be selected when ordering SQL service through Control Panel. All the backup, restore, attach MDF tools are available as well.
This is a premium spam filter solution that will not only keep your inbox virtually free of spam, scams, viruses and phishing, but also comes with a powerful management portal, where you can review your email logs and easily set up whitelists and blacklists. You also get daily quarantine reports.
This service will store a backup of all your clean incoming emails that go through the SpamExperts system. Your email archive is stored in compressed and encrypted format on redundant cloud servers in the cloud.
Microsoft has been updating their partner program and raising the bar for the Gold Partner level every year, so we in turn have been making investments annually to meet the requirements of the Gold Partner level. We believe that our partner status is a differentiator and truly demonstrates our commitment to stay on top of Microsoft-related technologies.
Maintaining a strong relationship with Microsoft is one of the things that helped us launch Everleap, our ASP.NET cloud hosting solution, and ensures that DiscountASP.NET remains the premiere .NET host for developers worldwide.