Category Archives: Silverlight

Visual Studio 2015 Launch – AIDE for LightSwitch sim-ships

We are happy to announce that a new release of AIDE for LightSwitch will sim-ship with VS2015 RTM. Xpert360 are Microsoft Partners in the VSIP program. We have committed to support VS2015 RTM within 30 days of release across all Visual Studio paid and free offerings.

AIDE Studio for LightSwitch

AIDE Studio for LightSwitch

With this refresh, all our LightSwitch desktop themes and theme packs are free for run-time use. The vNext AIDE will be made available as AIDE Studio 2015 with free-use Community and paid Enterprise editions. No more trial editions, a simplification in the licensing and packaging, fully integrated with Visual Studio Gallery for discovery and upgrades. Watch out for more announcements and materials in the coming weeks.

Today , Monday 20th July 2015 and it is time for the final release of Visual Studio 2015. The keynote starts at 08:30AM PST (UTC -7) so set your reminders

15:30 GMT/UTC  16:30 BST  11:30 EST  08:30 PST

The event includes 4 hours of live streaming of sessions via channel9 and 20 or so pre-recorded video sessions.

Live Visual Studio 2015 Final Release Event via Channel9 @ch9

The live streaming will give a great overview of getting started with Visual Studio 2015 , .NET 4.6 and Visual Studio Online. Packed with demo’s showing improved productivity, cross-platform development and new opportunities.

It is anticipated that the Visual Studio 2015 RTM will be announced as available to download. The VS2015 pre-RTM release has been with the Xpert360 Development Team for some time as we test and build the latest releases of our tools ready to Sim-Ship as a member of the Visual Studio Industry Partner program (VSIP).

The editions of Visual Studio 2015 available is different from previous release and you can compare the editions here. In our eyes the key change is availability of the Community edition continuing with support for LightSwitch and extensions available from the Visual Studio Gallery. This considerably expands the reach of the Visual Studio platform.

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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 Studio for LightSwitch” are trademarks of Xpert360 Ltd, copyright 2012 – 2015.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

News on Software Previews for Visual Studio 2013 LightSwitch

Preparations for the Launch of VS2013

When Visual Studio 2013 RTW is published (scheduled for Friday 18th October 2013), it will trigger a round of regression testing and final adjustments for third-party Visual Studio tool vendors.

Somasegar’s blog article announcing Visual Studio 2013 RC contains a good overview of key features if you are playing catch-up. At the end he mentions the official VS2013 Launch Party is scheduled for Wednesday 13th November 2013. You can see the countdown to launch ticking down there.

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!

Our product team is making steady progress towards releasing all our LightSwitch tools and extensions in the same timeframe as VS2013.

We needed to try some new VS2013 features and work through implementing some new features in AIDE for LightSwitch and the Xpert360 Lightning Dynamics CRM and Salesforce data adapters. We also needed to upgrade samples, themes and other extensions.

Working with multiple versions of Visual Studio side-by-side has gotten a lot easier over the years. We have machines with VS2012, VS2012 and VS2013 RC.

In this instance we needed to debug VS2012 VSIX extensions in the VS2013 RC experimental instance while testing LightSwitch VS2013  applications. Fortunately this works after a few adjustments to debug and VSIX settings.

VS2012 VS2013 LightSwitch family photo

VS2012 VS2013 LightSwitch family photo!

So here we have AIDE for LightSwitch running in debug in VS2012 Update 3 launching the VS2013 RC experimental instance then running a LightSwitch desktop application. We thought it was quite cool anyway.

Our LightSwitch Silverlight themes worked nicely with VS2013 Preview but not so with VS2013 RC. Our HTML CSS themes needed some work as the leap from VS2012 to VS2013 RC involved big changes in the LightSwitch HTML Client.

LightSwitch Mobile Salesforce app in Office 365

LightSwitch HTML Mobile Salesforce app in Office 365

We can see that not surprising some of the styling changed but here is a VS22013 RC LightSwitch HTML Client application deployed in Office 365 SharePoint on-line. The JQuery Mobile CSS theme was inspired by VS2012 IDE and sports rounded corners (no big deal really). The other interesting item here is the preview version of the soon to be released LightSwitch salesforce data adapter running in the Cloud.

Here is another 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.

LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

LightSwitch HTML Client Orchard theme drag and drop list items

We are adding final touches to the first release of AIDE for LightSwitch for VS2013.

AIDE for LightSwitch Exchange Hub

AIDE for LightSwitch Exchange Hub in VS2013 RC

There was more work to do for the Exchange Hub and Clone Screen due to the LightSwitch LSML structural changes. The LightSwitch Explorer is working well here:

AIDE for LightSwitch Explorer in VS2013 RC

AIDE for LightSwitch Explorer in VS2013 RC

The LightSwitch Screen Workbench and Entity Workbench windows are complete too.

AIDE for LightSwitch Entity Workbench

AIDE for LightSwitch Entity Workbench – Related items/screens

Xpert360 are providing a free upgrade to the new version of AIDE for LightSwitch for all existing customers.

The facility to exchange screens between LightSwitch projects (V1, V2, V3 and V4 projects with a few restrictions) is predicted to be a great help for those users upgrading LightSwitch 2010 and LightSwitch 2012 projects to VS2013.

When upgrades fail, projects become unloadable, extensions are outdated, AIDE for LightSwitch will be there to help you through! Our consultants and support staff have real-world experience of tricky LightSwitch project upgrades, including reconstruction and resurrection of corrupt projects. Contact us if your need help troubleshooting.

The next Vs2013 update on the blog will be for the VS2013 RTW release next week. We will have final news of all the upgrades and confirmation of release dates shortly afterwards.

Conclusions

The Visual Studio 2013 RTW date and official virtual launch day are fast approaching. Xpert360 have been busy upgrading samples, themes, extensions and tools ready for VS2013. It is going really well and we eagerly await the launch!

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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.

Specify Ports after Upgrading LightSwitch HTML Clients to VS2013

Specify Ports after Upgrading LightSwitch Clients to VS2013!

When upgrading LightSwitch applications to Visual Studio 2013 you will have a smoother experience if you heed the advice in this article…

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!

I planned to upgrade a LightSwitch HTML client application from VS2012 to VS2013 RC. After the upgrade I would be running the two versions of the project side by side to test and compare.

I also wanted to try some new VS2013 features and work through implementing some “Drag and Drop with LightSwitch HTML Client” as described by Rohit Agrawal on the Visual Studio LightSwitch Team Blog. Go read the post if you have not yet done so.

LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

So here I create a standard View Details Screen for the Locations entity. I wired-up some views of the Tables entity and added the drag and drop code. Some more work to do, but as this is VS2012 and the new ‘.refresh‘ method is in VS2013 I upgraded a copy of the project.

The upgrade process took a minute and the project rebuild worked. The application runs fine, still a bit of work to do.

VS2013 LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

VS2013 LightSwitch HTML Client drag and drop

We can see that not surprising some of the styling changed and some customizations need attention. Now the Refresh button on the command bar works.

Then it started to go horribly wrong as the two Visual Studio projects conflicted and I found myself running the project in VS2013 debugger and debugging the VS2012 JavaScript!

Web Project Properties

Web Project Properties in the project file (.csproj)

I resolved the conflict by changing the Development Server Port and the port for the Web site in IIS Express. Then I continued testing side by side with no problems.

IIS Express Running Apps -VS2012/13

IIS Express Running Apps -VS2012/13

All is well here in IIS Express with the two projects running and being concurrently debugged.

Conclusions

This particular feature affects the Rich Client Silverlight clients and the HTML Mobile Client varieties. As we are often copying projects and switching between versions of Visual Studio this is the next step after upgrading and rebuilding a project.

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Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, 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.

Something you should know about LightSwitch Screens – Part 2

Hidden secrets of LightSwitch Screens continued!

Is this something you should be concerned with? Let us re-phrase that, do you have a rich-client LightSwitch application? Then in all likelihood the answer is yes (unless you have not progressed past some one screen wonder bit of demoware). Thought so, you had better read on…

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!

You may be asking yourself “Can this happen to me?”. Continuing with the previous blog article’s Contoso application (Part #1), let us create a new screen.

LightSwitch Contoso Add Screen

LightSwitch Contoso Add List and Details Screen

So here I create a standard List and Details Screen for the Appointments entity. That is it, we now have some optimisation work to do. Was that too easy to reproduce?

Appointments List Detail screen hidden items

Appointments List Detail screen hidden items

Using the LightSwitch Screen Workbench we can see the hidden screen content items. These screen content items can be viewed using the standard LightSwitch Screen Designer, it is just that the metadata is not so obvious and accessible as in the AIDE for LightSwitch views.

Appointments List Detail hidden items

Appointments List Detail hidden items

This is where your powers of observation come into play. It is obvious is it not? The hidden items are listed in the properties window there on the right. Surely you noticed this before. You select a hidden item and the designer… selects and displays its parent node.

Anyone for editing the Client.lsml or the AppointmentsListDetails.lsml in VS2013? In this case you don’t need to.

Using the Contoso Home screen example from earlier here is how to delete the items. First switch the parent screen item from Summary to Columns Layout.

Contoso Home List Summary to Column Layout

Contoso Home List Summary

Then select the exposed items and delete them (click then shift-click to select multiple items). Press delete and they are gone.

Contoso Home List Columns

Contoso Home List Columns

Then switch the view back from Columns Layout to Summary. Done!

These are just simple examples, extra screen items can be littered across your screens. If you switch an item’s view from Summary to a grouping then back again, the mere act of doing this will create the extra items but will not remove them.

When we move to more complex, larger real-world application this can get to be a serious problem. This next example shows an entity with wide rows from the Dynamics CRM data adapter. Take Contacts or Accounts, they have many properties and screens can suffer from severe performance degradation both at design-time and run-time.

Dynamics CRM Contact List Detail in LightSwitch

Dynamics CRM Contact List Detail in LightSwitch

Here you can see that the Contacts entity has 153 properties. The simple Contacts List Detail screen has more than 300 screen content items due to the hidden items doubling-up. If you deleted most of the visible Contact properties, perhaps leaving 10 visible, you would quite likely expect the screen metadata to be small. Unfortunately with the hidden 150 items it will not be. That is, unless you take action.

When optimising existing screens you will have to ensure that you did not access the extra items in custom code-behind. It is unlikely.

If you can use the standard LightSwitch Screen Designer to make these optimisations then the process must be legitimate, is it not?

Conclusions

This particular feature only affects the Rich Client Silverlight screens, not the HTML Mobile Client variety. It affects LightSwitch in VS2010, VS2012 and VS2013 varieties. This mostly affects List Detail screens and the default Summary property of the main entity. However it can afflict any screen with Summary items, it depends on what you did in the screen designer!

You need to use AIDE for LightSwitch views to more easily see the extra hidden screen items. You can struggle through with the property window list of screen items, but with complex screens this is difficult [in the standard LightSwitch Screen Designer].

If you use AIDE for LightSwitch Explorer or Screen Workbench you can obtain a list of the screen contents and export them to Excel. Then you can use Excel’s data table auto-filtering feature for further analysis.

Stay safe and may your LightSwitch applications perform better, until next time…

Oh, and the answer was No, I did edit the Client.lsml metadata, perish the thought.

Experiencing screen designer freezes and hangs? look HERE and HERE cast your votes and register your interest. It looks like more pressure is needed before this will be taken seriously. Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 onwards and VS2013 RC when your project supports globalization/localization.

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Try them and support your LightSwitch tooling ISVs.

Also, do participate in forums and vote on your desired AIDE features. Help us to help you by prioritising the features in the product roadmap. VS2013, check! Export/Import entities and settings, check! Do you want to shape data to exclude columns? How about a localization workbench? Optimization workbench? Update metadata in bulk? That is a flavour of a few forthcoming features and ideas, we always keep a few things secret to surprise you!

ooo

Company information: Xpert360 Ltd, founded in 2009, 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 2013.