Maybe… Hard to say… If LightSwitch won the competition, it would have been a well-ment: yes! But we didn’t take the trophy home, the first two spots in the ranking were hijacked by teams using SharePoint+Nintex… 😦
Round 1: CRUD
Due to heavy snow storms, and the longest traffic jam Belgium has ever seen, we started the competition almost 45 minutes later than the other teams. The assignment for round 1 was pretty straight-forward: create a system where one can manage software components (users, releases, usages, platforms, …). There’s no framework like LightSwitch when it comes to CRUD operations, and under heavy time pressure we still managed to take second place in the overall rankings (points were awarded based on: teamwork, code maintainability and general functionality)!
Round 2: multi-tenancy
The goal for round 2 was to take the application built in round 1, and think about how different companies could use the application together. Security was very important here, one company should be allowed to view components that have been marked as “public” from another company, and make a bid on it, which could be accepted, rejected, or responded to with a higher asking-price by the issuing company.
Because we relied on the Windows Authentication in round 1, we ended up having to create some extra entities (Company, User, …) and lost some time there. After the small modifications, we created queries on all our entities so that the logged user could only see the private data from its own company. A crucial thinking mistake really, we should just have created a second dataset (maybe even second LightSwitch app, and use a Portal Application) for the “market place” functionality. That way, each company would have its own data, we could have stuck to the Windows Authentication, and simply publish to the public (common) dataset when a component is marked as “public”…
Round 3: social media integration
The last round was actually quite simple: add the ability to publish alerts about new components to any social media platform (Facebook, Twitter or Yammer), and the ability to follow components via RSS.
Although straight-forward, we lacked plug-and-play elements to implement this faster than the teams of professional SharePoint consultants…
It was a fun (and a bit stressful) night, and managed to defend LightSwitch’ honor well. I must say that we ended up giving our chances for victory away because of the mess we made in round 2, and the lack of tools/experience in round 3.
I don’t feel like LightSwitch, as a technology, was the weaker link here: there were no brick walls hit, no “omg we simply can’t do this” moments. I’m stronger than ever in my belief that, given some time to mature, LightSwitch has an extremely high market value in the future…
And hey, there’s always next year!
— A special thanks to Centric for organizing this fun event (count me in for every future event that involves LightSwitch, free beer, free pizza, or a combination of!), and the LightSwitch community members that supported us through all kind of social media platforms!