Why are serious .Net line of business app developers not embracing today LightSwitch?


I’m asking a question over here and readers who are familiar with other content on my blog know at least  my answer:

Serious .Net line of business application professionals should have been using and exploring already “yesterday” LightSwitch.

Oh no, … not for replacing “full park” their current portfolio of  line of business apps with fancy LightSwitch apps. I’m simply talking about making themselves familiar with the LightSwitch concepts and making some first steps in introducing LightSwitch in their portfolio of application frameworks.

A first oversimplified answer

Sometimes, complex matters need a first oversimplified answer. Not to serve as final answer, but simply as a trigger to activate a discussion towards a more nuanced answer.

Following screenshot illustrates my oversimplified answer:



A seasoned LightSwitch developer will directly recognize the above screen. So, what’s my point?

When you do a “start new project” in visual studio 2012 and you select the project type “LightSwitch application”, yes indeed, preferably in c#, you will get the above screen as first acquaintance with LightSwitch.

It allows you to make a first (and that’s also the reason why it happens directly after the start new LightSwitch project) important decision: a line of business app needs data and data definitions. How do you want to start: design your data (=create new table) or leverage an existing database (=attach to external data source).

In order to avoid that the LightSwitch product designers would feel offended, I’ll hurry up to tell you that I simply ADORE this screen. But… adoration is a gift and beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

I’ll try to get a bit closer to my point.  If the LightSwitch product designers would decide tomorrow to remove this screen, when speaking about LightSwitch adoption by IT pro’s, would this make any difference?  Of course not.

A less simplified answer…

My point is that the above screen is such a great illustration  of the fact that LightSwitch is a line of business application framework which takes the following concept extremely serious (at least in my interpretation) :

Simple on the outside, but rich on the inside.

This could have been a quote from the Dalai Lama. I’m following (and reading with great attention) the tweets of  His Holiness on twitter, where he has more than 6 million followers and he is following himself…  nobody. He simply can’t be wrong.

Personally, I like things or objects which are simple on the outside but rich on the inside. I like also people to whom the same notion applies (my loving wife for example). The reason is that in an interaction with something or someone blessed with this property, you are communicating over an “easy going” interface, and once you are in “communication mode”, you start making discoveries, preferably one by one, in a kind of  “evolutionary disclosure mode”.  You will never feel directly overwhelmed, because they simply come indeed one by one and they are never smashed into your face. But once you did all the discoveries, you might be overwhelmed by all the rich features, but in the end you will be the most overwhelmed by the fact that all this has been presented to you in a manner of .. simple on the outside and rich on the inside. You are getting closer to my point, aren’t you?

The principle of “Simple on the outside, but rich on the inside” has one drawback (and only one) when it comes to visibility from a more marketing oriented perspective: revealing the richness, requires participating into the process of discovery.  A simple or even sophisticated “advertisement” will not solve this, unfortunately.

I will not give you here a complete inventory of the LightSwitch richness. I’m not a marketing guy neither, I’m simple…

Now you know the reason why, at least in my view,  currently not enough serious .Net line of business app developers are embracing LightSwitch today. Obviously this is not the complete answer, but I believe that the metaphor is … spot on.