Our application is an enterprise system
targeted for Small & Medium Enterprises in Malaysia and Singapore. The
client we worked with runs a chain of 20 franchise outlets and was in desperate
need for an automated way to monitor and track the performances of all their
branches. At the same time, they want to keep record of all their customers and
know more about their profile.
Looking back at our old notes penned during
the initial meetings with the client in June 2011 to understand their problems
and requirements, we are happy to have gotten this far. Out of all the
requirements, we have completed more than 50% of it and we are actively working
to complete all of their requirements. LightSwitch had been amazing as it
allowed us to progress this far seeing that we are not professional developers.
The next few pictures are scans from our notebook. They depict the business
requirements we gathered from the stakeholders.
How many screens and entities does this application have?
21 Screens and 18 Entities
Did LightSwitch save your business money? How?
Without LightSwitch, we would not be able
to have our small start-up company, helping SME’s business with affordable
enterprise solution. Because off-the-shelf CRM solutions are often expensive or
too sophisticated for their business needs, many SMEs today still preferred to
record data with traditional pen and paper.
Our aim is to help them identify processing
areas that can be automated and simplified by utilizing a customized software
solution that suits their need. With our software application, we also help
SME’s owners realizing the power of data mining and how to turn them into
valuable insights and grow their business.
In addition, we recognize that SMEs often have
low IT budgets and prefer to spend minimally on resources. Hardware
maintenances worries them and initial infrastructure investments cost shy them
away from software application.
LightSwitch came just in-time as an
execution tools to us. We leverage the simplicity of Lightswitch to provide 3
main features to get SMEs’ confidence in software application.
- Customization to client’s business needs. Some of the modules we
have made for SMEs include:
|Client appointments system (Reminder pop up, calendar look up,
Product Inventory Management – product catalogue, purchase
order, stock take
Point of Sales – Invoicing, payment, voucher management
||Client records – Customer Relationship Management
Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Through LightSwitch and Azure, we are able to offer our application
as a service to SMEs. They love this as it gives them peace of mind of not
having to worry about hardware breakdown and disaster recovery. Furthermore, in
today rapidly change in consumer behaviour, SMEs need to be very quick and
agile to adapt to the ever changing business environment. SaaS fits perfectly
into the market place today as it is offered as a service and we encourage
business owners to come back to us to add additional features and functions
into the original application.
- Our application became powerful when we linked up LightSwitch with
SSRS Azure reporting service to provide data mining capabilities. It is
rewarding to see how SMEs get excited discovering information such as customer sales
history, geographical mapping, spending behaviours, helping them in formulating
sales and personalize marketing strategy
Would this application still be built if you didn’t have
LightSwitch? If yes, with what?
Before we started, we were reading about
ASP. Net, HTML5 and even looked into readily available platform such as
Microsoft Dynamic CRM, SalesForce, etc. At the end, we choose LightSwitch
It is simple to code (we have no previous
programming experience, except in university)
The community was very active and learning materials
are readily available
It was not too expensive although the price was
only announced 2 months after we embarked on the journey
Flexibility and customization is easy
I would say we would be struggling to build
the application if LightSwitch isn’t available.
How many users does this application support?
Some of our modules are used by 2-5 users
while some cater for 100 users (e.g. Attendance Module)
How long did this application take to actually build using
We started learning about LightSwitch in May
2011 and that is when we finished all of Beth Massi’s video tutorial in 1
single afternoon and was impressed with the capabilities of LightSwitch.
Despite having to juggle between our day jobs
while moonlighting as a programmer, we are able to produce a usable system for the
client in 6 months.
This project for the client is still on
going, but we have managed to tailor suit the application to meet many of their
requirements. The client is happy with what they get, and hence our notebook
of requirements is now getting filled up very quickly as the days go by. So, LightSwitch
has been awesome to us and we are even considering taking this to full time
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?
Yes. Below are the extensions that we are
Pixata custom controls for Lightswitch (credit
Spursoft LightSwitch Extensions (credit to
Image Controls for LightSwitch (credit to
Centrolutions, Jason William)
DevComponents Scheduler (credit to
DevExpress XtraReports, DXEditors for LightSwitch
(credit to DevExpress’s team)
Luminous LightSwitch Commands (credit to Yann
Microsoft LightSwitch Extensions - Business
Entities and Query Filter control (credit to Lightswitch’s team)
How did LightSwitch make your developer life better? Was
it faster to build compared to other options you considered?
LightSwitch allowed us to start our little
business. When the client ready to start this project with us, we surveyed
around looking for options. The easy way out was to outsource this to another
provider, but we were keen to do the development as much as possible in-house.
However our experience in programming was mainly limited to our university
years and majority of the other platforms/ frameworks seemed complicated.
When we stumbled across LightSwitch, we
were amazed by the automation and its relatively low learning curve gave us the
confidence for us to venture into this development on our own. The following
simplicity and built-in functionalities of LightSwitch helped us immensely
during our development.
- Creating a relational database in LightSwitch without having to run any
Able to code using VB
Customising the screens during debug run-time
Publish directly onto Windows Azure
Quickly create simple applications for SMEs to
collect data and provide business intelligence to them
Utilise SQL Azure Reporting Services
- Active forum to post questions
Everyday we are learning something new and
our programming and debugging skills have improved overtime. We would also like
to take this opportunity to thank all the web community of LightSwitch.