Tag Archives: Themes

Something you should know about LightSwitch Screens – Part 1

Hidden secrets of LightSwitch Screen Contents!

So you think you know your screens, what is the point of this post? No, seriously, look again real close. Notice anything… odd, out of place, you should. Test your powers of observation and be more inquisitive. Do you have a LightSwitch Rich Client application? If 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!

Let us start by looking at a Contoso based LightSwitch application. Here it is looking rather fetching in its Jetpack-style theme.

Contoso Home Screen - Jetpack Theme

Contoso Home Screen – Jetpack Theme

Could this simple screen be hiding any secrets? You would think not. Hats off to you if you do know the hidden secret behind this home screen. Here it is again in screen designer.

Contoso Home Screen in Designer

Design view of Contoso Home Screen

Look closer. No, the secret is not the globalised labels. In fact we cannot see the hidden secret in the above screen shot. We need to take a different view.

LightSwitch Explorer -Contoso Home Screen Content

LightSwitch Screen Workbench -Contoso Home Screen Content

If you use AIDE for LightSwitch Explorer or Screen Workbench you can obtain a list of the screen contents. In the above example I have exported the list to Excel and marked up the content for easier viewing.

Look closely at the screen content items and match them up with the designer view. Hidden underneath the RowTemplate item we have 15 other items that correspond to the properties of the Appointment entity.

These screen items are expected, they seem kind of plausible, they are necessary to the functioning of the screen. Is any of this statement correct? Err… No! Take a look at this modified set of screen contents taken from AIDE Screen Workbench.

Contoso Home Screen Content Optimised

Contoso Home Screen Content Optimised

With these screen contents the resulting Home screen appearance is the same as before. Really it is, it works fine. It did not need the hidden items. I use the LightSwitch Exchange Hub for quick backup and restore and in this case it shows the real size difference in the Home screen metadata.

Exchange Hub Home Screen Backup

Exchange Hub Home Screen change detectedand backed-up

Then looking at the before and after Home screen metadata backup-ups.

Backup Home Screen Lsml Size

Backup Home Screen metadata size

So this simple Home screen’s metadata has shrunk from 19KB to 11KB. You may be asking yourself, did I edit the Client.lsml file, well did I?

Until next time…

[continue to Part #2]

ooo

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.

Backup – AIDE for LightSwitch Exchange Hub

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.

Exchange Hub in Xpert360 Lightning AIDE V1.1 Release

The original and genuine Power Tools for Visual Studio LightSwitch!

The Exchange Hub is a feature new to AIDE for LightSwitch V1.1. This release of the power tools is being packaged as I write. The upgrade is free to existing users who will be contacted in the coming days. The next version targets VS2013 and we are pleased to announce that our loyal customers will also receive this at no additional cost (subject to license purchased by end of September 2013). In this post we will demonstrate the features and usage of backup.

AIDE for LightSwitch is supplied as a signed Visual Studio Extension. The AIDE software is integrated into the Visual Studio IDE as standard and familiar dockable windows. It now supports VS2012 themes: light, dark and blue.

New AIDE for LightSwitch Menu

New AIDE for LightSwitch Menu

All the AIDE windows including the Exchange Hub can be accessed from the ‘Tools’ menu (also from ‘View’ menu ‘Other Windows’ by default).

Upon first launch you will need to dock the Exchange Hub window in a suitable location in the Visual Studio IDE.

AIDE Exchange Find Updates

Using AIDE to detect screen changes

The Backup tab manages screen backups and detects modifications made since the last backup. To take a backup you simply need to select all items using the top checkbox and click on Backup. The Exchange Hub looks after all the behind the scenes work and only backs up screens that have been modified. It skips past screens not changed since the last backup.

Exchange Hub backup run - dark theme

Exchange Hub backup run – dark theme

The backup runs are very fast and take less than a second for this Contoso application. In this screen shot, the Exchange Hub detected changes to the screens highlighted in green and backed them up. I popped-up the VS2012 output pane so that you can see the logged details of the backup. Information is  logged here from all corners of AIDE for LightSwitch.

Screen backups are stored one per file, very similar to the new metadata storage structure coming in Visual Studio 2013.

The in-built Restore feature allows for screens to be modified and rolled-back if you want to discard changes made since the last backup. The Exchange Hub does keep multiple backups.

Under the covers here is the additional folder structure automatically created and managed by the Exchange Hub.

AIDE Exchange Backup Folders

Backup folder structure

You don’t need to look here in normal day-to-day usage. The ‘_AIDE‘ folder stores all the files necessary. There are further sub-folders, ‘_Client‘ and ‘_HTMLClient‘, one for each LightSwitch client, that hold backup files.

The source code control folders can be added to TFS or similar to track changes to individual screens, not the larger full ‘Client.lsml‘ metadata file. This is unique to VS2012. The ‘Export‘ folder is the default location for the Export and Import features that will be demonstrated in later blog articles.

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 base in the UK.

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

Second Look at LightSwitch in VS2013 Preview

More Impressions OF LightSwitch

And Visual Studio 2013 Preview

This week has been very busy for most people involved with Microsoft technologies as the BUILD 2013 ( #BLDWIN ) and TechEd 2013 draw to a close.

Our teams have been busy evaluating and testing. As most activities have been successful and gratifyingly trouble free, some more feedback is available for LightSwitch V4 Preview and Visual Studio Extensions.

Xpert360 Lightning Series in VS2013 Preview

Xpert360 Lightning Series in VS2013 Preview

Above is a screen of a preview of the AIDE power tool running in Visual Studio 2013, an upgraded LightSwitch Rich-Client (V2 > V4) application, our LightSwitch Theme Generator tool, and four of our LightSwitch extensions migrated to VS2013.

For extensions the targeted version range in the manifest needed to include the internal version number ‘12.0’. So now the range is ‘[11.0, 12.0]’ in the manifests. The Dynamics adapter is slightly different as it is built in VS2010 so targets ‘VSLS’ and ‘10.0’ as well.

The LightSwitch theme packs worked straight away but the other extensions required some additional changes and testing.

Xpert360 Office Theme Pack Install for LightSwitch

Xpert360 Office Theme Pack Install for LightSwitch

The ThemeGen application is what we use internally to edit and validate LightSwitch themes for Rich-Client/Desktop/Silverlight clients. When dealing with the 600+ colors in the Cosmopolitan styles it is a big time saver.

In an unusual take on ‘eat-your-own-dog-food’ style, the upgraded ThemeGen is sporting themes from our VS2013 preview of Office Theme Pack, that was created using its self. For anyone new to LightSwitch, yes these are real screens of a real LightSwitch app delivered in true RAD-fashion.

VS2013 LightSwitch in Dark Blue Theme

VS2013 LightSwitch app in VS2012 Color Theme

VS2013 LightSwitch app in Dark Blue theme

VS2013 LightSwitch app in Dark Blue theme

The theme pack contains a total of eight themes.

Office Themes in VS2013 LightSwitch

Office Themes in VS2013 LightSwitch

Our remaining themes, theme packs, extensions and samples are in the queue to be upgraded and should be available over the coming weeks.

Conclusions

We have successfully upgraded some LightSwitch applications (Rich-Client and Mobile-Client) from V2 to V4 and V3 to V4.

Apart from the issues already noted by bloggers and the LightSwitch team, the process has been relatively smooth to-date.

We are running VS2012 Update 3 and VS2013 Preview side-by-side on Windows 7 and Windows 8 OS platforms.

We are in the process of upgrading Visual Studio extensions to VS2013 Preview and this process is also going well.

Good job all around!