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PTA LightSwitch

, 14 Nov 2011
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A LightSwitch application manages student, parent, and staff information

PTA_LightSwitch.png

1. What does your application (or extension) do? What business problem does it solve?

The application allows the PTA at my kids’ school to manage all the student, parent, and staff information. This includes being able to print a directory (also online as a PDF), coordinate volunteers for all activities, manage PTA memberships, payments, and state deposits. Until now, all this information was managed with paper forms and manual processes (including manual creation of the student directory with over 500 children and their families).

2. How many screens and entities does this application have?

28 entities and 30 screens

3. Did LightSwitch save your business money? How?

This is a non-profit organization, so cost was an issue. This needed to be done as a volunteer effort, but also needed to get done quickly and reliably. Using LightSwitch enabled us to quickly create the application and get it in users’ hands for feedback. Iterating on the enhancements quickly and focused on the requirements, not glue code, made all the difference.

4. Would this application still be built if you didn’t have LightSwitch? If yes, with what?

The application would likely have still been built, but would have either been a web application or RIA Services Silverlight application.

5. How many users does this application support?

Currently the application is used by the PTA board and includes about 12 users.

6. How long did this application take to actually build using LightSwitch?

The initial development took about one full week, but as enhancements were made and new requirements developed, the total time increased to about 3 weeks of total development time.

7. Does this application use any LightSwitch extensions? If so, which ones? Did you write any of these extensions yourself? If so, is it available to the public? Where?

The application does not use any extensions. It does use reporting, but the requirements were such that the reports needed to be driven by custom stored procedures and not the LightSwitch data model. Otherwise, I would have considered using the Xtra reports extension. I used the ASP.NET report viewer control and a simple route to handle reporting requests passed from the client UI. The web application deploys under the LightSwitch deployment directory and uses the same forms authentication to protect the reports. Thus, only users logged into the LightSwitch application can run the reports.

8. How did LightSwitch make your developer life better? Was it faster to build compared to other options you considered?

It definitely made life easier for me as a developer. I didn’t have to worry about data access code except in a few special cases where I augmented the queries with pre-processing filters or change the save behavior. Additionally, not having to create XAML or wire up the data binding saved hours of time.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Matt Milner

United States United States
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