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I Want To Make Cars Not Car Engines

A few years ago, a vendor for a million dollar project failed to deliver, and I was required to create a program to take attendance for 20,000 children a day, and I only had 10 days to complete it. This allowed a public agency to stay in compliance, and retain the funding to deliver services to thousands of needy families. I was only able to do this because I used DotNetNuke.

If I has LightSwitch, I could have completed it in a day (and I still would have put the LightSwitch application “inside” DotNetNuke)

In the LightSwitch forums, there are some who are disappointed in what they perceive as limitations and “incompleteness”. From what I can tell, their issues come down to this:

  • For the non-programmers, all they can really do is make tables and screens. Anything else and they need to learn Linq and that is not considered easy
  • Important things like Reporting require $$ and that may be a deal breaker for a lot of people
  • The LightSwitch team can do more with LightSwitch to make it more productive for the non-programmer

We could all agree that this is only .v1 and express hope for the future versions of LightSwitch and call it a day :)

My points:

  • The amount of Linq (and other code) is so small, a properly motivated non-programmer can create the code. People like myself are very motivated and ready to guide millions of people in using LightSwitch. Microsoft Excel formulas are very complex, yet millions of non mathematicians are able to construct them.
  • Yes $$ is required for additional functionality... and people will pay. People pay $300 for a "smart phone" because it gives them something they want. Vendors will sell a ton of plug-ins that people want. I saw this with DotNetNuke, sells a ton of "stuff" because people want this "stuff".
  • In .v1 we have Silverlight Custom Controls. This is the "back door" that has so far allowed me to create anything I desire in LightSwitch. It's as if the pre-fad housing kit said "oh yeah go ahead and use your own wood and materials in place of any of our walls you don't feel fits your needs".

I think we can agree on the limitations in LightSwitch, and the "official party line" is that "LightSwitch is intended for basic forms over data applications". But I keep insisting, and have a website devoted to the point, that they "opened huge back doors that you can dive an enterprise application through".

At it's core LightSwitch is EF / WCF RIA / MEF / Silverlight. I have coded this stuff by hand for years and trust me, even when you mine the iron ore yourself to create a car engine, in the end you still have just a car engine. The fact that you now get your car engine from a factory does not mean it is not as good or better than the ones you created yourself.

And that is my point, I have created dozens of tutorials over many years. I am tired of making car engines, I want to make cars. People drive cars not car engines.

At this stage of my career I care about the people. Technology for technologies sake no longer holds my interest like it once did. At this stage of my career I want to help people.

LightSwitch allows me to sit down, after my normal day job, and complete an application before it’s time for dinner.

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Showing 5 Comments
Avatar  Richard 7 years ago

Yeah, I remember in about 1993, when learning C++ was rescuing me from COBOL, Windows was dead because IBM's (whatever it was) would take it out within weeks. MSJ had more articles about IBM than it did Microsoft. Thank God I abandonded Windows in time (Wait...What?)

Avatar  Fallon 7 years ago

While I and most programmers would agree with you, it totally misses the point.<br /><br />You can't bill a tool as being for non-programmers, and have it require programmers to get productive, real world projects done.<br /><br />This boils down to being a RAD tool for developers, and possibly a dead end one at that.

Avatar  John 7 years ago

man after 10+ yrs of doing it tough down the mine it is nice to get a free ride with this framework and still get to where you want to at the same time.<br /><br />i'm with you 100% for this post :-)

Avatar  admin account 7 years ago

@Supreet - That is great news. Spread the word :)

Avatar  Supreet 7 years ago

I completely agree with your point of view. In fact we did develop a full fledged enterprise app within past few months, which otherwise would have taken years!!