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 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.
The template is accessible from the ‘Add New Screen’ dialog.
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.
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:
The tiles are color-coded, have different icons and display the screen display name and the name of the first entity screen property.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.