Microsoft adds HTML5 output support to its LightSwitch tool

Microsoft adds HTML5 output support to its LightSwitch tool

Summary: Microsoft is adding HTML output support to its Visual Studio LightSwitch tool, the latest version of which is available to testers.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft is enabling its LightSwitch tool to render HTML5, company officials announced during the Day 1 keynote at its TechEd North America conference.

LightSwitch, codenamed “KittyHawk,” is a rapid-application-development (RAD) tool targeted at fledgling coders interested in building business applications. Microsoft has positioned LightSwitch as a way to build business applications for the desktop, the Web and the cloud. It’s a tool that relies on pre-built templates to make building applications easier for non-professional programmers. (It’s so easy, it’s like flipping a switch, the Softies have said when explaining the choice of final name for the product.)

As  Blue Badge Insights founder Andrew Brust noted in a guest post on my blog last month, since LightSwitch’s public release last summer, LightSwitch's traction so far has been lackluster. Productivity programmers don’t seem to have much awareness of LightSwitch and enterprise developers have been dismissive of it.

The second version of LightSwitch is in beta, along with the rest of Visual Studio 2012. When Microsoft officials made the Beta of VS 2012 available in late February, I noted that officials were hinting at that time that Microsoft was planning to integrate HTML5 support into Visual Studio so that HTML output would be supported  in some way. On June 11, Microsoft revealed that this capability is coming via LightSwitch.

Microsoft officials also announced at TechEd today that there's now a public preview test build available of Team Foundation Service, a version of TFS that is hosted on Windows Azure. The preview of Team Foundation Service is available to interested testers at

The Redmondians also said that the second Community Technology Preview (CTP) for System Center 2012 Service Pack (SP) 1 will be available for download by next week. SP1 is designed to improve the management of customers' private cloud datacenters that are integrated with hosted and public clouds, Microsoft officials have said.

Update: As a result of the HTML announcement, LightSwitch is now also targeting is mobile devices with browsers supporting HTML5 (in case that wasn't clear).

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • This is huge and welcoming news

    LightSwitch tool to render HTML5 is very welcoming news.
    My biggest worry was that SilverLight is not supported in Apple products limits the product supporting "all" platforms.
    I am excited again.
  • Good, but not good enough!

    Can we still keep Lightswitch as a separate product please! If I'm an LOB developer focusing on Lightswitch for rapid development with minimal coding, I don't want to be paying for a full Visual Studio platform.

    Also, make calculations easier. Currently, you have to know coding routines to do basic math calculations. I want this easier, and the easy way to do it would be to use Excel-style formula syntax. Office workers already know Excel formulas pretty much inside and out. Having to write code just to add two and two together is ridiculous for something that claims that coding is optional. I don't know very many LOB apps that don't have to add a few numbers together. Doing something more complex like mortgage or financing calculations in code is even more frustrating. This stuff should be far easier. In Excel it is. Rapid development should be as easy too.
  • Access

    LightSwitch should really be positioned as a replacement for MS Access. That's essentially what it is, no matter what the Softies say.
  • Access is Right

    MA Access was IMO, the first LOB application development environment to actually take off in the enterprise(and small shops everywhere)!

    LightSwitch appears to be the logical replacement, and HTML5 output is brilliant!

    Good Call...
  • Marketing?

    You mean to tell me that Microsoft has a promising product that has failed to make strides because of poor marketing? Say it ain't so!
  • AppDev for SharePoint

    I'm still wondering why deployment to SharePoint isn't an option. I realise the intention is to allow for deployment to IIS or Azure but I would have thought there could have been a way to allow LightSwitch applications to be deployed and run from SharePoint Server/Online. It would have brought it to the attention of more enterprise customers at the very least.
  • Understanding this requires deeper knowledge of LightSwitch

    What does it mean - enabling its LightSwitch tool to render HTML5? Was it impossible to output arbitrary strings, including any junk and HTML5, from LightSwitch? I do not know, but I doubt that anything that restricting can be discussed seriously. Was only the first line that restrictive (a possible bug)? Are HTML5 tags added to hints I get in text editor? Are there new standard components that will output HTML5 specific tags?

    Possibly, with deeper LightSwitch knowledge, I could guess, but since the LightSwitch acceptance is not very strong as mentioned in the post, I do not know.
  • Great News. Knew it was coming.

    We knew it was coming when Microsoft announced ???HTML5 support not available yet??? when they released Lightswitch 2011. This is a great move and will encourage many LOB application developers to adopt Lightswitch.
  • Get past HTML to the next big thing

    I used to resist HTML, now I just want to get past it and on to the next big thing. Let's hope it has a shorter shelf life than Silverlight had.
  • Mary - What about A Dashboard like Report/Monitoring Window, can LS do that

    Mary -

    With your extensive Knowledge of all software things "Softy" I thought you might be able to answer this question and I choose this story to post it since it sounds like Light switch may be the answer.

    In short I???m looking for a way in Windows 7/Vista (it would be great if XP was also supported) to take the data from a SQL Server database (a view in our database) and display that on our users??? desktop as an interactive report or monitoring tool. It would be similar to a dashboard in that its live, refreshes automatically on some defined timer/increment and supports some filtering/sorting options. But unlike a Dashboard we don???t need to support KPI???s or comparing data against some planned goal. Think of it as being like a SQL Server Reporting Services report but does not require Reporting Services and does not need to support advanced reporting features like pivot tables or charts, just basic table like output with some filter and sorting abilities and would act like a monitoring app in that it runs by itself (the user does not have to manually re-query the data to see changes).

    If you???ve ever seen the Activity Monitor in SQL Server Management Studio then you???ve seen exactly what it is I am looking for. Speaking of SSMS, its possible in SSMS 2005 and later to run SSRS (from .rdl files) without using SQL Server Reporting Services. Its this kind of SSRS Reporting without a SQL Server Reporting Services server that I???m trying to implement for this report.

    Is there anything Microsoft that can provide this kind of interactive report/dashboard that uses a SQL Server database as its data source, for users on a corporate network that doesn???t require something like a Reporting Services server or some other complex application setup/install?

    I???m surprised at how hard it???s been finding something like this. With their being so much you can do with vb script and more recently PowerShell script on a Windows system it surprises me that Windows doesn???t have some kind of basic user definable Monitoring application that works like a custom event log but that shows data from an ODBC/ADO complainant data source in an interactive kind of reporting interface. I would think there are many users out there who would love to have this kind of feature in Windows.

    Any input you could provide would be most welcome.
  • LightSwitch replace Access? Not likely!

    Unfortunately, the HTML client is for mobile devices only.

    As far as being a replacement for Access I doubt that very seriously. I do not see that happening since Access is included in Professional versions of Office and thus available to a huge number of workers at no cost to them but LightSwitch has to be purchased separately or one has to purchase Visual Studio. That means there are many millions who use Access at no cost to them but will never even try LightSwitch.