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.