Visual Studio LightSwitch reaches Beta 2

Microsoft has today made public Beta 2 of their latest Visual Studio branch called LightSwitch. The release was made available to MSDN subscribers a couple of days ago.

LightSwitch made a few waves when it was announced way back in August last year. It is billed as a business user’s development environment, aimed at allowing business, management, and other non-developer personnel in companies to build software that suits their needs quickly and easily. It is designed to allow business users with basic programming experience – even if that is just in building mammoth Excel spreadsheets – to build quick apps that are useful to them, instead of requiring developers to do it for them.

LightSwitch aims to make this easy by streamlining creation of fairly regular applications, and enhances the usual developer workflow with tools that abstract away code and automatically validate, such as database types including EmailAddress and PhoneNumber. The benefit is that underneath lies Visual Studio, so there is a lot of power under the hood should you need to dip in and access it – support is included for Azure, SQL Server, SQL Azure, SharePoint, Excel and more.

The new release requires Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 installed, and there are a few issues upgrading – users are recommended to uninstall the previous version before installing Beta 2 for the smoothest results.

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