The Best of Both Worlds
The best of both worlds
Traditionally, we have seen tools such as Access, Excel and, more recently, SharePoint, act as a useful starting point for a low-cost prototype. The best thing that can be said of those initial forays in developing line-of-business applications is that usually all of the necessary data points have been identified and there is a working prototype. I find that having a working prototype is immeasurably helpful when starting an enterprise application development effort.
While Access and Excel solutions do provide value when moving to the next level of maturation, Visual Studio LightSwitch can provide even more. Since Visual Studio LightSwitch can connect to Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases, the application can utilize either of those databases during the initial development.
Visual Studio LightSwitch also generates an ADO.Net Entity Framework (EF) class structure that can be used in the next iteration of development. Finally, the interface is rendered to a Microsoft Silverlight application.
Recently, I had a customer request a simple application for generating quotes for customers and tracking them in a Web format. Taking this use case, it was decided to give LightSwitch a go. We were able to build a working prototype for the need within four hours-complete with the database tables, class structure and Microsoft Silverlight interface. Normally, in a traditional Web development environment, this would have taken close to 40 hours to get to the same point.