In case I haven’t seen you yet this year (and chances of that are high since I spent almost all of my time in my hammock so far), happy new year to you!
Just two weeks ago, the year turned 2015, always a great opportunity to reflect upon the past, and to learn lessons for the future.
And what a harsh lesson 2014 has taught us: LightSwitch is dead.
There, it’s out, and apparently I’m the first one to publicly carve these words in cyberspace. But unfortunately, a rose by any other name is still a rose, so let’s just call it what it is: dead.
Stage 1: denial
Let me first shed some light on why I consider the lightswitch to be in eternal off-state: there have been no new substantial developments since the HTML client (you weren’t really sitting around waiting for the O365 stuff now, were you), the ‘team blog‘ hasn’t had any meaningful posts in over half a year and many of the active community bloggers have either changed blogs, or have only been writing about using LightSwitch in combination with other technologies (with most of the focus on the other technologies).
If you want to try denying a technology being dead simply due to lack of evolution, then here’s a quote from the team latest post:
we’re currently planning to actively engage with the community and start our discussions on the roadmap in the middle of next year
Our love is dead, and you have been feeling it for a while now.
Perhaps you haven’t admitted it to yourself. Perhaps you are still in denial, but in this fast-paced world of ever-evolving technologies and agile methodologies, I cannot consider the product of a team that shifts priorities for over a year as the solid foundation for my own work.
Stage 2: anger
If you want to, please do take a quick break from reading now to go to the gym, box club, or whatever else you usually do to vent your anger. If you happen to have any pitchforks and/or torches, you could even join the rest of us in our march in the MSDN forums too, there’s a lot of anger already shared over there.
Stage 3: bargaining
We’re still reflecting the pain of 2014. Those of us who were able to overcome denial and anger stages, started bargaining. End of September, I’ve personally sat down with Microsoft folks to talk about the idea of how providing limited extension points so the community would allow us to create a toolkit to address a lot of the missing features. Others have publicly pled to open-source the entire stack, which would fit in great with MSFT’s latest vision and announcements about open-sourcing parts of their stack. Some have threatened to mail Mary Jo Foley, others to mail Somasegar, in a passive-aggressive attempt to bargain or even blackmail the team into action.
Unfortunately, none of that led to change.
Stage 5: Acceptance
You skipped stage 4: depression.
You just scrolled up and noticed I did not write about stage 4: depression.
Stage 4 in the Kubler-Ross model (‘the five stages of grief’) describes the emotions of sadness, fear and uncertainty that start to develop during the earlier stages. Feeling these emotions is natural, personal, and shows that we are slowly entering the final stage: acceptance. So let’s cut to the point and discuss what acceptance could bring, for me and my relationship with you, my highly valued readers, and you’ll see there is very little sadness to be found.
- LightSwitch being dead does not mean it does not have a future. At some point, probably end 2015 or early 2016, we’ll see a next version from the same MSFT team. Personally I don’t think they’ll actually revive LightSwitch as some kind of frankenstein monster with new body parts, but instead reuse only their experience can into a new product with a new name and marketing strategy.
- LightSwitch being dead does not mean it ceases to be important in 2015. Personally I have a ton of ongoing projects and consulting opportunities, and they all still stand valid. LightSwitch has always been a tool to create CRUD-oriented, small to medium sized applications, and that is still true regardless of the evolution of the platform itself. If LightSwitch is the right answer to a particular problem, then File>New>LightSwitch Application here I come! Or as the team puts it:
If the support we have in Visual Studio 2015 meets the needs of your application, then you should feel confident in developing with LightSwitch or Cloud Business Apps as we build out the roadmap
- This implies an ongoing commitment to my own blog as well. I’ve always blogged strictly about my own professional experiences, and if I encounter anything worth sharing and I find the time to do so, I will gladly blog it! Being it about LightSwitch, or something else…
So there’s the big cliffhanger… What something else?
There’s not much presently existing that can match the development speed of LightSwitch. However, because LightSwitch does not offer modularity, has bad testability and devastating performance for medium to large applications, I’ve been looking for alternatives to answer challenges that LightSwitch can not…
And I have found it too.
I have found my sweetspot combination of a technology stack that is completely open source (no longer dependent on MSFT management decisions), highly scalable, highly modular, highly performant, fully customizable but yet offers incredible speed of development.
“No way”, I hear you say, “Such a thing does not exist! If it existed, I would have surely heard about it”.
And you are right in saying so. Such a thing does not publicly exists… Yet. But so far, I’ve been mainly writing about 2014, and 2015 is still so very young. This coming Monday, in an announcement that is not my own, the first tip of this veil of secrecy that holds my future, and perhaps yours, will be lifted…