Visual Studio LightSwitch (Kitty Hawk) announced

by Andrew McNerlin 8. August 2010 15:57

Microsoft has just announced LightSwitch, a new version of Visual Studio which is aimed at business users/developers who want to rapidly build simple business applications.  This release isn't going to excite hardcode developers, but business users and less experienced developers may enjoy the simplicity with which they can build basic applications.  

LightSwitch apps are divided into two concepts - data and screens.  By designing a new data source or using some existing data you can create screens which allow for standard CRUD style operations.  The screens can be one of the standard screen types supplied (e.g. Details Screen, Editable Grid Screen) or you can customise the screen to meet your own requirements.  

Features include:

  • Support for VB.NET and C#
  • Supported data sources include Access, SQL Server, SQL Azure and SharePoint
  • Creates SilverLight apps (in browser, out of browser and Cloud)
  • Auto screen creation (allowing for later customisation)
  • Auto data validation
  • Built in Export to Excel (requiring no code)
  • Word mail merge / auto document generation
  • LightSwitch apps an be opened in full versions of Visual Studio proper and customised more extensively.  This allows for an upgrade path if a LightSwitch app requires more complex features.

It will be available as part of Visual Studio Professional, Premium, and Ultimate on August 23rd.  Full release is expected early next year.

For more information see Jason Zanders Blog:

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Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2010 Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack

by Andrew McNerlin 15. July 2010 22:54

Microsoft have recently released the VS2010 Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack which brings excellent new capabilities to Dev10.  I had blogged previously about the modelling features in Dev10 and was disappointed that there was no capability to generate code from the UML class diagrams.  Thats now been addressed in this first feature back release:

The concept of feature packs is slightly different to that of the power tools that we've got used to.  A feature pack has more carefully chosen features and is fully tested and supported.  Feature packs will also be rolled into future releases of the product whereas power tools(toys) were a more ad hoc.

This feature pack is available for download for MSDN subscribers (Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN) and you can find out more here. 

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Architecture | Visual Studio

BizTalk 2006 build error in Visual Studio 2005

by Andrew McNerlin 14. July 2010 07:41

I've been working on a BizTalk solution in Visual Studio 2005 and have started getting an odd compiler error.  The solution had been building fine for quite a while and then all of a sudden I got the following error message(s):

'System.String' must be Xml serializable to be a message part type -- check event log for more information
and / or
'System.Boolean' must be Xml serializable to be a message part type -- check event log for more information

Unfortunately there are no entries in the event log, but I noticed that restarting Visual Studio and rebuilding the solution fixed the problem.  The downside is that this error does reappear every now and again which means more VS restarts.

It looks like a Visual Studio problem, but if anyone has any other explanation/solution please let me know.


BizTalk | Visual Studio

BizTalk Server Resources

by Andrew McNerlin 13. July 2010 08:52

I've been working with BizTalk server recently and I'm using this post to collect together some of the useful resources I've found for BizTalk developers/architects.  My current knowledge of BizTalk is a little outdated since that last version I worked with was 2002, but now I'm working with 2006 (and potentially 2010) so my skills need updated.  The following is a list of resources I've found useful so far: (An excellent resource) (Some good 2006 info and a reasonably active forum) (A good collection of active BizTalk bloggers) (Doesn't seem to be active, but some useful historic information)
BizTalk 2006 R2 documentation on MSDN
BizTalk 2010 documentation on MSDN
"How do I?" videos for BizTalk Server
BizTalk Webcasts on CloudCasts.Net
BizTalk Server Team Blog
There are a number of BizTalk books out there, but this one gets the good reviews and I've found it very useful.
Professional BizTalk Server 2006
(Darren Jefford, Kevin B. Smith, Ewan Fairweather)
If anyone knows any good resources please let me know.




Andrew is a Software Architect based in Antrim, Northern Ireland, but currently contracting in London Andrew McNerlin