Microsoft is phasing out its LightSwitch business-app development tool

Microsoft's LightSwitch business-app development tool is on its way out, with PowerApps as its recommended replacement.

It's official as of today: Microsoft is phasing out its LightSwitch business-app development tool.

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The move probably won't surprise many, as Microsoft has been pushing for a while PowerApps as its newest tool for developing line-of-business apps.

In an Oct. 14 blog post, Microsoft officials said Visual Studio 2015 -- which will be supported until 2020 -- is the last Visual Studio release that will include LightSwitch.

"We no longer recommend LightSwitch for your new apps," said the post from the Visual Studio team. Microsoft will continue to support users with existing LightSwitch apps with critical bug and security fixes through 2020, however.

Microsoft has taken a number of cracks at trying to come up with development tools that can be used by non-professional programmers who need to build custom line-of-business apps.

Microsoft originally fielded LightSwitch (which was codenamed "KittyHawk") back in 2010. Microsoft positioned LightSwitch, at that time, as a tool for non-professional coders to build business apps for the desktop, web, and cloud.

In 2013, Microsoft launched "Project Siena," another tool that was aimed to help non-professional programmers build Windows apps.

Microsoft launched PowerApps in 2015, describing PowerApps as an enterprise service for connecting, creating, and sharing mobile business apps on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. PowerApps is key to Microsoft's Flow event automation service, its Dynamics 365 CRM/ERP service, and evolving Common Data Model entity database.