Category Archives: Visual Studio

VS2013 LightSwitch HTML Themes – Headers

LightSwitch HTML Theme Headers

New Screens in Office Azure Dark Theme

New Screens in Office Azure Dark Theme

Some sample screens with standard jQuery header formatting.

Headers, Footers and Toolbars

Here is a LightSwitch HTML client screen sporting the default light theme.

Menu

Auto-Tile Menu Default Light theme

Then here is a HTML client application with a theme called ‘Orchard’. Notice the correct rendering of the header after adjusting msls-light-2.0.0.css and msls-2.0.0.js for swatch support. The LightSwitch implementation does not use the JQuery Mobile header classes by default.

LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

LightSwitch HTML Client Orchard theme drag and drop list items

The default Microsoft LightSwitch msls-dark-2.0.0.css and msls-light-2.0.0.css style sheets have a definition to override the msls-header.ui-bar background style and set it to ‘inherit‘ from the body color.

msls-header.ui-bar background styles

msls-header.ui-bar background styles

To make the header bar styled as expected comment out the line:

background: inherit;

The header bar colour will then be set by your jQuery Mobile theme and swatch.

See this blog article for the menu template: LightSwitch HTML Screen Template – Auto-Tile Menu

See this blog article for sample themes: jQuery Mobile Themes suitable for LightSwitch Apps

Conclusions

We take you through all the shortcuts and tweaks to give style to your LightSwitch HTML applications and Cloud Business Apps! This article shows how to tweak the header bar style.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning” and “AIDE for LightSwitch” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2013.

VS2013 LightSwitch Jsproj Unsupported Incompatible and could not be loaded

Corrupt Visual Studio 2013 Environment?

The other day whilst testing AIDE for Visual Studio 2013 I came across this problem. At first I thought it was something similar to another VS2010/Vs2012 .LSPROJ launcher problem (Error: this template attempted to load component assembly) but that turned out not to be the case.

Unable to open the following projects: *.jsproj

Unable to open the following projects: *.jsproj

I tried not to panic as my plans for the day started to fall apart. It was most peculiar. Repairing VS2013 crossed my mind but you don’t embark on that route unless you are really have no other option and it has no guarantee of fixing your problem. I had three VS2013 instances running LightSwitch projects with HTML client and they continued to work fine. Try to open another LightSwitch project, #fail. What next? Close one Vs2013 instance, then restart and load the project, #fail. Close everything, reboot, open VS2013 project fail!

Copy project to another machine, open, #success! So as expected projects are ok and not corrupt.

Try something crazy? Debug VS2012 AIDE project running VS2013 experimental instance, load LightSwitch project, #success!

So experimental instance good, standard development instance bad.

ooo

Let us walk through the scenario of what happened for me and how to resolve the problems. To reproduce, try opening three LightSwitch projects within a few seconds one after another. This multi-tasking and multi-threading Visual Studio 2013 start-up just does not work well and the best advice is don’t do it. This likely applies to two or more solutions containing other project types, it is just that I was using LightSwitch projects.

Package did not load correctly!

Package did not load correctly!

The ‘Microsoft.VisualStudio.ProjectSystem.VS.Implementation.Package.ProjectPackage, Microsoft.VisualStudio.ProjectSystem.VS.Implementation, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’ package did not load correctly.

The problem may have been caused by a configuration change or by the installation of another extension. You can get more information by examining the file ‘…VisualStudio\12.0\ActivityLog.xml’.

This generic message turns out to not be very helpful. Then when you try to open a LightSwitch project:

Failed to load

Project could not be loaded because one or more projects it references failed to load.

This looks like this in solution explorer:

Solution explorer HTML client project incompatible

Solution explorer HTML client project incompatible

The problem stemmed from file contention when more than one Visual Studio instance is loading. Fortunately, the issue can be resolved by encouraging Visual Studio to rebuild its component cache.

Microsoft.VisualStudio.Default.cache

Microsoft.VisualStudio.Default.cache

Locate the ‘Microsoft.VisualStudio.Default.cache’ file in ‘ComponentModelCache’ directory and delete it. Restart one instance of Visual Studio 2013 and it rebuilds the cache and all is well. It is worth noting that there are other details cached here, such as SharePoint and LightSwitch ManifestCache files. You can safely clear out these files too should they ever cause similar Visual Studio environment issues.

I wish I had known about this back when using Visual Studio 2012 lots and resorting to ‘Repair’ several times.

ooo

AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio

AIDE 2013 is the market leading set of productivity power tools for Cloud Business and LightSwitch applications. The only supported way to clone and import/export screens! Local backup/restore and much more. Visualize hard-to-access metadata to complement working with the standard LightSwitch designers.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning“, “AIDE for LightSwitch“, “AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2014.

jQuery Mobile Themes suitable for LightSwitch HTML Apps

Xpert360Lightning.HTMLThemes

This is a Visual Studio extension that provides a collection of jQuery Mobile CSS templates designed and tested for Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client and Cloud Business Apps (see below).

jQuery Mobile HTML Tthemes

Sample of jQuery Mobile HTML Themes for LightSwitch

The Xpert360Lightning.HTMLThemes extension is bundled with AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio for now and is not available separately though this may change (see below for more information).

See the new Screen Templates and Themes in action >

New JavaScript Item Templates

The purpose of these CSS themes is to provide a starting point for selecting jQuery Mobile themes within Visual Studio 2012 and 2013. The themes are suitable for any jQuery Mobile web application and can be inspected and changed with the jQuery Mobile Theme Roller.

To use in your LightSwitch HTML apps it is usually to select ‘Add New Item‘ for the client project’s ‘Content‘ folder and choose a theme from ‘/JavaScript/Themes/’. Then edit the client project’s ‘default.htm’ file and change the theme reference to use the new theme. The theme name prefix indicates whether it works best with the ‘msls-dark…’ or ‘msls-light..’ style sheet.

Design-Time

The themes are accessible from the ‘Add New Item’ dialog.

Add New Item - JavaScript Themes

Add New Item – JavaScript Themes for jQuery Mobile

Most of the themes contain two swatches. You can browse through the themes in Visual Studio. You are welcome to modify the themes for your own use. If you have any suggestions for more themes then please contact us.

Run-Time

You may have to adjust the supplied ‘msls’ style sheets if you want to implement correct rendering of the header. see this article: Vs2013 LightSwitch HTML Themes – Headers

If you want to use other swatches other than ‘A’ then the ‘msls’ script needs a simple change to expose the setting.

Here are some of the themes in use:

Office Brown Themed Auto-Tile Menu

Office Brown Themed Auto-Tile Menu

New Screens in Office Azure Dark Theme

Office Azure Dark Theme

Tablet List and Details Screen in Orchard Theme

Orchard Theme

Auto-Tile Menu Screen in Orange Pastel theme

Orange Pastel Greens theme

New Screens in VS2012C Theme

VS2012C Theme

Blue Purple Dark Theme - Swatch-B

Blue Purple Dark Theme – Swatch-B

Office Blue Theme - Swatch-B

Office Blue Theme – Swatch-B

There are currently 19 themes and some 40 or so swatches to choose from. Go style you LightSwitch HTML Apps!

Plans

There are plans to add some themes for use with Office 365 and SharePoint on-line. We will fill out the pack of themes with a wider palette range and introduce some themes with background imagery (not strictly for low-power mobile devices). We will also release a theme previewer LightSwitch HTML application that is able to dynamical switch themes and allow you to browse theme preview images.

We will review the themes based on any feedback from users.

Screen Templates

We are open to the idea of providing advanced screen templates for all LightSwitch client types though the initial focus is on the MobileWeb client. We are currently working on new screen templates to expand this collection.

HTML Screen Templates

The screen shots that accompany the screen template blog posts make use of many of the themes contained in the Xpert360Lightning.HTMLThemes Visual Studio extension.

The LightSwitch client only has 3 basic default screen templates. This collection of templates is intended to provide screens with more functionality that require less manual changes to turn them into end product. The collection consists of:

Auto-Tile Menu Template

Browse Data Tabs Template

Tablet List and Details Template

Mobile List and Details Template

Cloud Business Apps in VS2013

Visual Studio 2013 introduces a new application type called a Cloud Business App. This brings together LightSwitch RAD platform and Office 365.

LightSwitch, launched in 2010, simplifies the creation of line of business forms over data apps using a visual designer to manage app metadata. The original version created Silverlight clients, but it now supports responsive HTML clients. You can extend with code, using JavaScript/C#/VB on the client or C#/VB in the service layer. For more advanced extension and integration, LightSwitch projects easily integrate with other technologies and frameworks (ASP.NET Web API, MVC 5, Angular.js ...).

The Cloud Business App template adds SharePoint and Office 365 into the mix. The ease of use is improving as better integration arrives as other components such as the Windows Azure SDK catch up.

Will 2014 be a big year for Cloud Business Apps? Building LOB applications on Microsoft’s platform is in some respects harder and more complex today than it was a decade ago, and looking ahead, Office 365 and Azure are a strategic platform for Microsoft. Simplifying LOB app development and deployment to support diverse devices is surely a winner.

AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio

AIDE 2013 is the market leading set of productivity power tools for Cloud Business and LightSwitch applications. The only supported way to clone, import/export, local backup/restore screens and code. Visualize hard-to-access metadata to complement working with the standard LightSwitch designers.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning“, “AIDE for LightSwitch“, “AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2014.

LightSwitch Screen Template – Mobile List and Details

Xpert360Lightning.WebExtensions

The Mobile List and Details screen template is part of a collection of advanced screen templates for Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client and Cloud Business Apps (see below).

Mobile List and Details template

Mobile List and Details generated from the template

The Xpert360Lightning,WebExtensions extension is bundled with AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio for now and is not available separately though this may change (see below for more information).

See the new Screen Templates in action >

Mobile List and Details Template

Design-Time

The template is accessible from the ‘Add New Screen’ dialog.

Add New Screen - Mobile List and Details

Add New Screen – Mobile List and Details

The default screen name is ‘ListDetails’ and the primary collection name is prepended. You select screen data as usual in the main dialog including the primary collection.

Design-Time Mobile List and Details screen

Design-Time Mobile List and Details screen

A useful list-based master and details screen template for mobile devices. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates independently scrolling list-view side-by-side with selected single-column entity details data. Extended touch and keyboard support.

Does not support child collections. Limits the number of master detail properties displayed for easier customization. As with all LightSwitch screens you are free to customize content and layout once generated.

Run-Time

The master details are displayed in one column and this works well provided not too much detail data is displayed.

Mobile List Details in dark-green theme

Mobile List and Details in dark-green theme

If the detail data contains many properties you will notice that a manageable subset of is added to the screen contents. This will save time when dealing with entity-types with many tens or even hundreds of properties. Trying to display too many properties often makes little sense, is not a good user experience and slows down the LightSwitch screen designer.

We find this really helpful when connecting to data such as that in Dynamics CRM where tables are wide and complex. You will need to customize the subset of properties displayed but the overall experience is preferable to that provided by the standard templates.

Mobile List and Details in office-brown light theme

Mobile List and Details in office-brown light theme

If you choose a parameter-driven custom query then the list will be a simple filterable collection. With appropriately designed custom queries this makes for easy generation of a searchable list view as your screen starting point.

Plans

There are no imminent plans to improve this template. We explored the idea of using more of the screen metadata and adding a template wizard. We will review this template later based on any feedback.

Screen Templates

We are open to the idea of providing advanced screen templates for all LightSwitch client types though the initial focus is on the MobileWeb client. We are currently working on new screen templates to expand this collection.

HTML Screen Templates

The LightSwitch client only has 3 basic default screen templates. This collection of templates is intended to provide screens with more functionality that require less manual changes to turn them into end product. The collection consists of:

Auto-Tile Menu Template

The screen generated from this template dynamically discovers all screens and creates a navigable menu. Functionality indicated by color-coding and icons. Ideal time-saver when used as your start screen during development or prototyping.

Browse Data Tabs Template

Similar to the in-built simple browse screen template but generating tabs based on multiple independent collections. Supports parameter-based queries to generate search pages. Choice of default collection views from tile view, list view and grid view. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens or discovered view or maintenance screens.

Tablet List and Details Template

An essential list-based master and details screen template. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected dual-column entity details data. Extended keyboard support. Generates child collections in detail grids.  Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Mobile List and Details Template

Must have list-based master and details screen template for mobile devices. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected single-column entity details data. Extended touch and keyboard support. Generates child collections in tabs. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Cloud Business Apps in VS2013

Visual Studio 2013 introduces a new application type called a Cloud Business App. This brings together LightSwitch RAD platform and Office 365.

LightSwitch, launched in 2010, simplifies the creation of line of business forms over data apps using a visual designer to manage app metadata. The original version created Silverlight clients, but it now supports responsive HTML clients. You can extend with code, using JavaScript/C#/VB on the client or C#/VB in the service layer. For more advanced extension and integration, LightSwitch projects easily integrate with other technologies and frameworks (ASP.NET Web API, MVC 5, Angular.js ...).

The Cloud Business App template adds SharePoint and Office 365 into the mix. The ease of use is improving as better integration arrives as other components such as the Windows Azure SDK catch up.

Will 2014 be a big year for Cloud Business Apps? Building LOB applications on Microsoft’s platform is in some respects harder and more complex today than it was a decade ago, and looking ahead, Office 365 and Azure are a strategic platform for Microsoft. Simplifying LOB app development and deployment to support diverse devices is surely a winner.

AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio

AIDE 2013 is the market leading set of productivity power tools for Cloud Business and LightSwitch applications. The only supported way to clone, import/export, local backup/restore screens and code. Visualize hard-to-access metadata to complement working with the standard LightSwitch designers.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning“, “AIDE for LightSwitch“, “AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2014.

LightSwitch Screen Template – Tablet List and Details

Xpert360Lightning.WebExtensions

The Tablet List and Details HTML screen template is part of a collection of advanced screen templates for Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client and Cloud Business Apps (see below).

New Screens in VS2012C Theme

New Screens in VS2012C Theme

The Xpert360Lightning,WebExtensions extension is bundled with AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio for now and is not available separately though this may change (see below for more information).

See the new Screen Templates in action >

Tablet List and Details Template

The purpose of this template is to provide a means of generating a List and Details screen for larger form factor devices such as tablets or desktops. The generated screens are similar to those created using the Rich-Client List and Details template (Silverlight client).

You can create screens like this manually starting with the simple default Browse Data template however this new template will save you a considerable amount of time and provide consistent results.

Design-Time

The template is accessible from the ‘Add New Screen’ dialog like below:

Add New Screen - Tablet List and Details

Add New Screen – Tablet List and Details

The default screen name is ‘ListDetails’ and the primary collection name is prepended. You select screen data as usual in the main dialog including the primary collection and optionally the primary entity-type details and related child collections.

Design-Time Tablet List Details Generated Screen

Design-Time Tablet List Details Generated Screen

This screen style is useful for generating a list of master records and displaying them side-by-side with the selected master detail record and a collection of related child data.

The screen is generated with one tab. If you choose more than one child collection then you may wish to customize the screen and move some collections to additional screen tabs especially if they contain lots of data.

Run-Time

The child collections are generated as grid views but as with all LightSwitch screens you are free to customize it once generated. The master details are displayed in two columns to make better use of space.

Tablet List and Details Screen in Orchard Theme

Tablet List and Details Screen in Orchard Theme

If any details data contains many properties you will notice that a manageable subset of is added to the screen contents. This will save time when dealing with entity-types with many tens or even hundreds of properties. Trying to display too many properties often makes little sense, is not a good user experience and slows down the LightSwitch screen designer.

We find this really helpful when connecting to data such as that in Dynamics CRM where tables are wide and complex. You will need to customize the subset of properties displayed but the overall experience is preferable to that provided by the standard templates.

Tablet List Details with Query Filters

Tablet List Details with enterable Custom Query Filters

If you choose a parameter-driven custom query then the list will be a simple filterable collection. With appropriately designed custom queries this makes for easy generation of a searchable list view as your screen starting point.

You can switch the master data list-view to a tile-view if you prefer, as shown here:

Tablet List and Details switched to Tile View

Tablet List and Details switched to Tile View

The template will automatically configure item-tap navigation if you have pre-selected any default screens for a child entity-types. The drill-through navigation to details screens is wired-up and displays modal-dialogs or launches the SPA detail screens.

The template looks after the screen content metadata to configure scrolling regions. So when you scroll through the master data list the selected details stay in view.

Tablet List Details Scrollable Regions

Tablet List Details Independent Scrollable Regions

There you have it, a ubiquitous List and Details HTML screen template that gives you a better starting point. A nice productivity boost that we like lots!

Plans

There are plans to improve this template. We explored the idea of using a template wizard as in an advanced configuration mode to choose the view types (list, tile, table) and placement (main tab, child tab, pop-up dialog). We have experimented with generating more code to display child collection record counts.

We will take into consideration all feedback along with these ideas.

Screen Templates

We are open to the idea of providing advanced screen templates for all existing and future LightSwitch client types though the initial focus is on the Mobile-Web client. We are currently working on new screen templates to expand this collection.

HTML Screen Templates

The LightSwitch client only has 3 basic default screen templates. This collection of templates is intended to provide screens with more functionality that require less manual changes to turn them into end product. The collection consists of:

Auto-Tile Menu Template

The screen generated from this template dynamically discovers all screens and creates a navigable menu. Functionality indicated by color-coding and icons. Ideal time-saver when used as your start screen during development or prototyping.

Browse Tabs Template

Similar to the in-built simple browse screen template but generating tabs based on multiple independent collections. Supports parameter-based queries to generate search pages. Choice of default collection views from tile view, list view and grid view. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens or discovered view or maintenance screens.

Tablet List and Details Template

An essential list-based master and details screen template. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected dual-column entity details data. Extended keyboard support. Generates child collections in detail grids.  Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Mobile List and Details Template

Useful list-based master and details screen template. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected single-column entity details data. Extended touch and keyboard support. Generates child collections in tabs. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Cloud Business Apps in VS2013

Visual Studio 2013 introduces a new application type called a Cloud Business App. This brings together LightSwitch RAD platform and Office 365.

LightSwitch, launched in 2010, simplifies the creation of line of business forms over data apps using a visual designer to manage app metadata. The original version created Silverlight clients, but it now supports responsive HTML clients. You can extend with code, using JavaScript/C#/VB on the client or C#/VB in the service layer. For more advanced extension and integration, LightSwitch projects easily integrate with other technologies and frameworks (ASP.NET Web API, MVC 5, Angular.js ...).

The Cloud Business App template adds SharePoint and Office 365 into the mix. The ease of use is improving as better integration arrives as other components such as the Windows Azure SDK catch up.

Will 2014 be a big year for Cloud Business Apps? Building LOB applications on Microsoft’s platform is in some respects harder and more complex today than it was a decade ago, and looking ahead, Office 365 and Azure are a strategic platform for Microsoft. Simplifying LOB app development and deployment to support diverse devices is surely a winner.

AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio

AIDE 2013 is the market leading set of productivity power tools for Cloud Business and LightSwitch applications. The only supported way to clone, import/export, local backup/restore screens and code. Visualize hard-to-access metadata to complement working with the standard LightSwitch designers.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning“, “AIDE for LightSwitch“, “AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2014.

LightSwitch Screen Template – Browse Data Tabs

Xpert360Lightning.WebExtensions

The HTML Browse Tabs screen template is part of a collection of advanced screen templates for Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client and Cloud Business Apps (see below).

New Screens in Office Azure Dark Theme

New Screens in Office Azure Dark Theme

The Xpert360Lightning,WebExtensions extension is bundled with AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio for now and is not available separately though this may change (see below for more information).

See the new Screen Templates in action >

Browse Data Tabs Screen Template

The purpose of this template is to provide a means of generating a browse screen showing multiple collections of data in separate tabs. This style of screen is useful as a hub screen for navigation. During development, especially when prototyping, this screen allows you to build hubs with automatically configured tap-through navigation links. Whether used in prototyping or the final app using screens generated from this template will save you substantial time over using the standard templates.

Design-Time

The template is accessible from the ‘Add New Screen’ dialog.

Design-Time Screen generated from Data Tabs  Template

Design-Time Screen generated from BrowseDataTabs
Template

The default screen name is ‘BrowseDataTabs’. There is no need to select screen data in the main dialog as the template has its own template wizard dialog to choose data collections and configure the screen options.

Select data in Browse Data Tabs template wizard

Select data in Browse Data Tabs template wizard

Generate screens as navigation hubs with automatically configured item-tap handlers to default screens or auto-discovered view or maintenance screens.

Add New Screen - BrowseDataTabs

Add New Screen – BrowseDataTabs

The screen is generated with one tab for each selected entity-set collection. If you choose a parameter-driven custom query then the tab will be a simple filterable collection. With appropriately designed custom queries this makes for easy generation of searchable list, tile and grid views that are working straight after generation. Screens generated using the standard Browse Data template require manual customization before working.

If you choose any option for item-tap navigation then the navigation through to other screens will be pre-configured for you. This works best if the ‘View’ and ‘AddAndEdit’ style screens are created beforehand. You can pre-select a default screen for any entity-type to pre-determine the navigation links when there is more than one possible screen to display an entity-type.

Your choice of collection views is generated so if you prefer to generally use a tile-view or grid-view then choose that. The standard template is only a list-view. As with all LightSwitch screens you are free to customize it once generated.

The supporting JavaScript code is generated for you where appropriate.

Run-Time

The screen displays the browsable data tabs with query filters where appropriate. A typical screen will look like this:

Sample Browse Data Tabs Screen

Sample Browse Data Tabs Screen with grid-view

The drill-through navigation to details screens is automatically wired-up and works be they modal-dialogs or SPA window-based screens.

Browse Data Tabs with Navigation

Browse Data Tabs with Navigation

The collection views can be easily adjusted to list, tile or grid after the screen is generated.

Browse Data Tabs screen

Browse Data Tabs grid-view sporting Office Blue theme

Any tabs for filterable custom queries will be generated with enterable filter parameters to start you off with a simple working search/filterable collection.

Browse Data Tab with Filterable Query

Browse Data Tab with Filterable Query

There you have it, a Browse Data Tabs screen template that generates useful hub-style navigation screens, saving you oodles of time.

Plans

There are plans to improve this template. We explored the idea of using an advanced configuration mode to choose the view type per data tab/collection. We are considering introducing more views to the existing three.

We will review this template taking into account any feedback.

Screen Templates

We are open to the idea of providing advanced screen templates for all LightSwitch client types though the initial focus is on the MobileWeb client. We are currently working on new screen templates to expand this collection.

HTML Screen Templates

The LightSwitch client only has 3 basic default screen templates. This collection of templates is intended to provide screens with more functionality that require less manual changes to turn them into end product. The collection consists of:

Auto-Tile Menu Template

The screen generated from this template dynamically discovers all screens and creates a navigable menu. Functionality indicated by color-coding and icons. Ideal time-saver when used as your start screen during development or prototyping.

Browse Tabs Template

Similar to the in-built simple browse screen template but generating tabs based on multiple independent collections. Supports parameter-based queries to generate search pages. Choice of default collection views from tile view, list view and grid view. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens or discovered view or maintenance screens.

Tablet List and Details Template

An essential a list-based master and details screen template to boost productivity. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected dual-column entity details data. Extended touch and keyboard support. Child collections in detail grids.  Automatic tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Mobile List and Details Template

Useful list-based master and details screen template for mobile devices. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected single-column entity details data. Extended touch and keyboard support. Generates child collections in tabs. Automatically configures tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Cloud Business Apps in VS2013

Visual Studio 2013 introduces a new application type called a Cloud Business App. This brings together LightSwitch RAD platform and Office 365.

LightSwitch, launched in 2010, simplifies the creation of line of business forms over data apps using a visual designer to manage app metadata. The original version created Silverlight clients, but it now supports responsive HTML clients. You can extend with code, using JavaScript/C#/VB on the client or C#/VB in the service layer. For more advanced extension and integration, LightSwitch projects easily integrate with other technologies and frameworks (ASP.NET Web API, MVC 5, Angular.js ...).

The Cloud Business App template adds SharePoint and Office 365 into the mix. The ease of use is improving as better integration arrives as other components such as the Windows Azure SDK catch up.

Will 2014 be a big year for Cloud Business Apps? Building LOB applications on Microsoft’s platform is in some respects harder and more complex today than it was a decade ago, and looking ahead, Office 365 and Azure are a strategic platform for Microsoft. Simplifying LOB app development and deployment to support diverse devices is surely a winner.

AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio

AIDE 2013 is the market leading set of productivity power tools for Cloud Business and LightSwitch applications. The only supported way to clone, import/export, local backup/restore screens and code. Visualize hard-to-access metadata to complement working with the standard LightSwitch designers.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning“, “AIDE for LightSwitch“, “AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2014.

LightSwitch Screen Template – Auto-Tile Menu

Xpert360Lightning.WebExtensions

The Auto-Tile Menu screen template is part of a collection of advanced screen templates for Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client and Cloud Business Apps (see below).

Auto-Tile Menu Screen in Orange Pastel theme

Auto-Tile Menu Screen in Orange Pastel theme

The Xpert360Lightning,WebExtensions extension is bundled with AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio for now and is not available separately though this may change (see below for more information).

See the new Screen Templates in action >

Auto-Tile Menu Screen Template

The purpose of this template is to provide a dynamic start menu for project development time. During development, especially when prototyping, this screen allows you to navigate to all screens in the app without continually having to manually configure navigation for browse-type screens. It may surprise you how much time you can save using this temporary starting page.

Design-Time

The template is accessible from the ‘Add New Screen’ dialog.

Add New Screen: Auto-Tile Menu

Add New Screen: Auto-Tile Menu

The default screen name is ‘AutoTileMenu’. There is no need to select screen data as this screen is generic. Add one instance per HTML client project and set your new menu screen as the start-up screen whenever you need it.

Design-Time Auto-Tile Menu Screen

Design-Time Auto-Tile Menu Screen in LightSwitch

The screen is very simple and really only contains a custom control as the heavy-lifting is performed in the control’s render event. The supporting JavaScript code is generated for you. You are welcome to view the code and derive other screens from it if you wish. If you have any suggestions for more general improvement then please contact us.

Run-Time

The screen discovers all the screens available in the client app and creates a data collection based on what it finds. A tile is created for each screen and displayed in a familiar tile view that looks like this:

Office Brown Themed Auto-Tile Menu

Office Brown Themed Auto-Tile Menu

The tiles are color-coded, have different icons and display the screen display name and the name of the first entity screen property.

Auto-Tile Menu Color-Coded Entity Types

Auto-Tile Menu Color-Coded Entity Types – Contractor

The JavaScript code dynamically allocates a color to each entity type so tiles with the same color are related by the first entity type property discovered in the screens. The color allocated to an entity type will change as you change the app’s screens. The above example shows all screens based on ‘Contractor’ entity colored purple.

Each tile has one of three icons allocated to it based upon whether the primary screen property is an entity-set, entity-type or no/scalar property.

Auto-Tile Menu Icons

Icons for Auto-Tile Menu – Collections

The above example highlights all the screens whose primary screen property is a collection (entity-set). These screens typically can be launched and function well without any parameters (but not always).

The tiles have a click event handler for tap-to-navigate and navigate to the appropriate screen.

Plans

There are no imminent plans to improve this template. We explored the idea of using more of the screen metadata and local storage to add more features. We looked at supporting screen parameters too but opted to keep the screen simpler for now. We will review this template later based on any feedback.

Screen Templates

We are open to the idea of providing advanced screen templates for all LightSwitch client types though the initial focus is on the MobileWeb client. We are currently working on new screen templates to expand this collection.

HTML Screen Templates

The LightSwitch client only has 3 basic default screen templates. This collection of templates is intended to provide screens with more functionality that require less manual changes to turn them into end product. The collection consists of:

Auto-Tile Menu Template

The screen generated from this template dynamically discovers all screens and creates a navigable menu. Functionality indicated by color-coding and icons. Ideal time-saver when used as your start screen during development or prototyping.

Browse Data Tabs Template

Similar to the in-built simple browse screen template but generating tabs based on multiple independent collections. Supports parameter-based queries to generate search pages. Choice of default collection views from tile view, list view and grid view. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens or discovered view or maintenance screens.

Tablet List and Details Template

An essentially list-based master and details screen template. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected dual-column entity details data. Extended keyboard support. Generates child collections in detail grids.  Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Mobile List and Details Template

Must have list-based master and details screen template for mobile devices. A cross between the in-built simple browse screen template and the Rich-Client based List and Details screen template. Generates an independently scrolling list view side-by-side with selected single-column entity details data. Extended touch and keyboard support. Generates child collections in tabs. Implements tap-through navigation to entity type default screens. Limits the number of master details and child details properties displayed for easier customization.

Cloud Business Apps in VS2013

Visual Studio 2013 introduces a new application type called a Cloud Business App. This brings together LightSwitch RAD platform and Office 365.

LightSwitch, launched in 2010, simplifies the creation of line of business forms over data apps using a visual designer to manage app metadata. The original version created Silverlight clients, but it now supports responsive HTML clients. You can extend with code, using JavaScript/C#/VB on the client or C#/VB in the service layer. For more advanced extension and integration, LightSwitch projects easily integrate with other technologies and frameworks (ASP.NET Web API, MVC 5, Angular.js ...).

The Cloud Business App template adds SharePoint and Office 365 into the mix. The ease of use is improving as better integration arrives as other components such as the Windows Azure SDK catch up.

Will 2014 be a big year for Cloud Business Apps? Building LOB applications on Microsoft’s platform is in some respects harder and more complex today than it was a decade ago, and looking ahead, Office 365 and Azure are a strategic platform for Microsoft. Simplifying LOB app development and deployment to support diverse devices is surely a winner.

AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio

AIDE 2013 is the market leading set of productivity power tools for Cloud Business and LightSwitch applications. The only supported way to clone, import/export, local backup/restore screens and code. Visualize hard-to-access metadata to complement working with the standard LightSwitch designers.

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning“, “AIDE for LightSwitch“, “AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2014.

UK TechDays Online – November 6-8

TechDays Online – November 6-8: The final programme update! Featuring Steve Ballmer, Will Greenwood and the Lotus F1 team!

Complimentary session calendar here: TechDaysOnlineAutumn2013.ics

TechDays Session Calendar

TechDays Session Calendar

Follow official twitter feed: @TechNetUK

UK techDays Online (Autumn 2013)

Register for TechDays Online

Here is the Final programme update for each day of UK Tech.Days Online (Autumn 2013) from Wednesday November 6-8.

Don’t miss out!

Free LightSwitch Holiday Theme – Pumpkin

  Lightning Series – Pumpkin Theme

To celebrate the re-release of the  Xpert360 theme packs with VS2013 support, Xpert360 have released this free theme based around Halloween with spooky shades of pumpkin with witchy greens and blacks. This theme can be downloaded from here.

contoso21
Pumpkin Theme
calendar
Pumpkin Theme Calendar
validation

Nobody wants a Pumpkin Validation Error

The theme targets the LightSwitch Silverlight Client v2+ that comes with Visual Studio 2012 and 2013. It has been tested against the LightSwitch Cosmopolitan Shell and the LightSwitch Standard Shell.

Install Pumpkin Theme vsix to VS2012 and VS2013

Install Pumpkin Theme vsix to VS2012 and VS2013

We have an internal application to import, edit and generate LightSwitch themes to make the work a lot easier and faster. The Cosmopolitan theme contains references to more than 500 colors! The Theme Generator application is itself written in LightSwitch. The theme is free and can be obtained from the Visual Studio Extensions gallery. This is the gallery posting – Xpert360Lightning -Pumpkin Theme We hope you like it!

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning” and “AIDE for LightSwitch” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2013.

Guide to VS2013 LightSwitch HTML Themes

Guide to VS2013 LightSwitch HTML Client Themes

LightSwitch HTML Themes and Tools

LightSwitch HTML Themes, tweaks and Tools

Visual Studio 2013 was published on Friday 18th October 2013. This blog post is the anchor to a series of articles covering the A-Z of themes that we are editing and evolving over time.

This article is part of a series of posts from Xpert360 Development Team to address real world scenarios and problems faced when designing, creating and implementing Visual Studio LightSwitch applications. Brought to you by the original and genuine Power Tools for Visual Studio LightSwitch!

The LightSwitch HTML Client in VS2013 targets the jQuery Mobile framework and the themes are implemented as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Headers, Footers and Toolbars

Here is a HTML client application with a theme called ‘Orchard’. Notice the correct rendering of the header after adjusting msls-light-2.0.0.css and msls-2.0.0.js for swatch support. The LightSwitch implementation does not use the JQuery Mobile header classes by default. See this post:

VS2013 LightSwitch HTML Themes – Headers

LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

LightSwitch HTML Client Orchard theme drag and drop list items

Selection List and Options

The HTML SELECT element is not easy to style and control through just CSS markup. For full control it is usual to use a custom control that mimics the SELECT element by using DIV’s and SPAN’s.

Styled LightSwitch HTML Choice List

Styled LightSwitch HTML Choice List

The SELECT element popup is implemented outside of the browser. The blue selection rectangle is not controllable in CSS and by default your themes will always be black, white and blue. We will extend the theme mark-up to do better styling in LightSwitch as in the above screen shot.

Rounded Corners

The use of rounded corners in themes can be aesthetically pleasing. The LightSwitch themes need extending to properly support them.

Clipped text and rounded corners

Clipped text and rounded corners

The screen shots above show the adjusted rounded corner support.

Previewing LightSwitch Themes

We have an easy implementation of theme swapping and view port selection for different form factors.

Swatches

What are they and how can they be used in LightSwitch HTML applications.

Cloud Business Apps and Site Chrome

Creating dynamic themes and features to integrate with SharePoint and site chrome.

Mega-Theme Pack

It would not be complete without a theme starter pack. The preview containing 19 themes was released soon after the VS2013 in December 2013 and is currently available in a bumper bundle offer of AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio which also include a preview of 4 new Advanced Screen Templates.

The themes target jQuery Mobile and are not specific to LightSwitch. They are integrated into the Visual Studio IDE as new JavaScript Item Templates with supporting short descriptions and preview images. This extension supports VS2012 and VS2013. The themes are widely used in our other blog articles.

See this blog article: LightSwitch HTML Screen Template – Auto-Tile Menu

See this blog article: jQuery Mobile Themes suitable for LightSwitch Apps

Conclusions

The Visual Studio 2013 RTM was released in late 2013 and Xpert360 joined the party upgrading samples, themes, extensions and tools to support VS2013. We will take you through all the shortcuts and tweaks to give style to your LightSwitch HTML applications and Cloud Business Apps!

ooo

Failed upgrades, unloadable projects, old extensions, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Xpert360 consultants have real-world experience of reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting your LightSwitch projects.

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, based upon three decades of IT experience, is an Independent Software Vendor and Custom Solution Provider based in the United Kingdom.

Xpert360 Lightning” and “AIDE for LightSwitch” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2013.