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LightSwitch: It Is About The Money (It Is Always About The Money)

But First, The JavaScript

I just looked at the latest JQuery release notes and noted the issues that they had to fix due to web browser compatibility issues. We simply must believe that these people are at the top of their game. If they have this many issues to deal with, aren’t I crazy if I even think of writing any JavaScript without using JQuery?

The rule I follow is, keep the JavaScript to a minimum, and always use JQuery or some other big JavaScript library. The reason is web browser “incompatibilities” and it is very costly and is an issue that is not changing any time soon.

IT is fueled on the money it saves for businesses with the Line Of Business (LOB) applications that we programmers create. However, lately, IT and the programmers creating the LOB apps, cost too much money. The reason, the JavaScript.

JavaScript wasn’t so costly back when we used it to validate date fields and we only had to worry about IE 4 and Netscape 4. However, now it is used for pop up calendars, type ahead searches boxes, hiding and disabling buttons, and creating popups.

With the advent of HTML5, the future promises yet more JavaScript.

JavaScript is not the most economical choice for LOB apps. The reason? It takes a lot of time to create and debug, this costs a lot of money. However, “cost” is relative. Something only “cost too much” when there is an alternative that is cheaper. Well that alternative has arrived with LightSwitch. Our “customers” do not want to pay more money… if given an option, they won’t pay more money, period.


The “Reach” Argument

If you need “reach” you need to use HTML… My focus here is on LOB apps. A single LightSwitch developer can produce as much as 5 HTML/HTML5 developers and complete the project in half the time with 90% less bugs and 100% web browser compatibility (on the web browsers that can run Silverlight 4).

The deciding factor will be the JavaScript. The majority of time the HTML/HTML5 programmers will spend coding and mostly debugging will be the JavaScript. Plus that is assuming that they are using JQuery which is saving them a ton of time.

The advantage HTML has over LightSwitch is “reach”. HTML runs on more devices. It will run on an IPad. If your application needs to run on an IPad then don’t use LightSwitch. However, if it doesn’t, and you don’t need “reach”, why are you spending the extra money?

Do you really think companies will pay $10,000 for a application that will manage their inventory when they can get an application that will do the same thing for $2,000 ?

What about quality? LightSwitch requires you to write less code so you have less bugs. To the end-user that is higher quality. Also, just because a company spends a lot of money, that does not mean that It doesn’t mean that the project wont be a failure.


Yes, LightSwitch Can Handle It

The perception problem that LightSwitch has had, is that people thought it was only good for “simple” apps. Over the past year, many of us on the LightSwitch Help Website have proven that LightSwitch is suitable for your biggest enterprise applications.

I will give a presentation at Visual Studio Live in Orlando this December titled “Unleash The Power: Implementing Custom Shells, Silverlight Custom Controls and WCF RIA Services in LightSwitch”.




In the presentation, I will show the techniques used to create professional quality applications using LightSwitch in a fraction of the time to do a comparable application using HTML. Primarily this is achieved using Silverlight Custom Controls and WCF RIA Services.




After the presentation, I plan to make the code available (in late December) in the LightSwitch Star Contest:



It is about the money, It is always been about the money, and it always will be about the money

My point is that the cost for LOB applications must and will come down. The technology to do that is here in LightSwitch.

I don’t see it as a negative thing. When resources are directed toward programmers, they are taken from somewhere else. Your customers will demand that you reduce costs for IT projects dramatically if the company across the street has reduced its costs dramatically.

Yes HTML5 is cool, but your customers don’t care. They want a satisfactory solution to their needs at the most economical (cheapest) cost…. period.

I have been programming .Net/JavaScript applications for over a decade and I know how much it costs to create an application. The cost is in direct relation to how much time it takes to construct the application.  A programmer only has so much time in their life and they want to sell their precious working hours to the highest bidder.

When the time to create an application is reduced, the cost is reduced.

With LightSwitch, you can reduce the time required to create an application by 80%+ and therefore reduce the cost of a $10,000 project to less than $3,000. It’s not magic, just a reduction in time required to perform the same actions. Look at the descriptions of the time it took to create some of the applications in the LightSwitch Star Contest.

When given a choice, your customers will only spend $10,000 if they have to. They will do the math and realize that the deployment of IPads to the warehouse for mobile inventory is not such a great idea after all if the inventory app is going to cost $10k (100 hours @ $100 an hour). For $2k (20 hours @ $100 an hour) you can create an inventory application in LightSwitch and run it on an EXOPC Slate:



People Will Do The Math

It will not be possible to keep this a secret. People will do the math, they always do the math Smile.

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