Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch Beta2 was released in March. LightSwitch is a new addition to the Visual Studio family. LightSwitch helps you solve specific business needs by enabling you to quickly create professional-quality business applications, regardless of your development skills. The technology is designed to make building line of business applications easier through pre-built templates and custom business data types with the ability to deploy to the desktop, the web and the cloud.

LightSwitch can integrate data from multiple sources and is a .NET framework based platform. It is powerful for building data centric business applications. It uses Visual Studio project structure. You can use pre-configure screen templates that give the application a familiar look and feel.

LightSwitch

It provides pre-written code and reusable components to handle routine application tasks, along with step by step procedures. Custom code is written in C# or Visual Basic rather than VBA.

It can participate in source code control via the integrated Visual Studio Team Edition Explorer. It uses SQL Server Express Edition for its local data store at design time. Deployed applications can use SQL Server Express, SQL Server pr SQL Azure. LightSwitch UI is presented in Silverlight 4 and follows the MVVM architecture pattern.

Since it is a new product, custom extensions or add-ons are being written to fill the gaps and add more capabilities. There are six extension points: controls, screen templates, business types, themes, shells and custom data sources. To build extensions, you would need VS LightSwitch Beta 2, VS 2010 SP1 Professional or higher and VS SDK. LightSwitch Extensions cookbook via msdn can be downloaded from here. This post has been written with references from msdn, visual studio magazine and stackoverflow.com.