Multiple LightSwitch Designers (Elizabeth Maher)

Gone are the days of just one LightSwitch designer opened at any given time. With the release of Visual Studio 2103 Preview, each LightSwitch related asset seen in the Solution Explorer has its own designer instance! This means that every table, query and screen will have its own designer when opened. The property pages for the root LightSwitch project also has its own tab.


Figure 1. Several open items and its corresponding tab.

One exception is screen queries. Screen queries are attached to the screen and do not have their own presence in the Solution Explorer. To edit a screen query, open the appropriate and click the appropriate ‘Edit Query’ link, as seen in Figure 2. Figure 3 shows the result of clicking the ‘Edit Query’ link.


Figure 2. Screen designer with the ‘Edit Query’ link highlighted.


Figure 3. Query designer for screen query.

Integration with Visual Studio

LightSwitch designers act as you would expect any designer to act. You can pull away a designer, dock a designer or even show to designers side by side. As you can see below in Figure 4, there is a screen designer opened on the left and the correlating screen code on the right.


Figure 4. Screen designer with code for screen in separate tab groups.

The LightSwitch designers also work with the Visual Studio commands for navigating backward and navigating forward.

LightSwitch still maintains a separate list from Visual Studio for undo and redo commands. If you want to undo a redo an action, type Ctrl+Z for undo or Ctrl+Y for redo while any LightSwitch designer is opened. The appropriate designer will be given focus.

Related Items

Many items in a LightSwitch project can be related. For example, as screen can use a query as a data source and the query is based on a table. If a change to the summary property is made to the table, the query and screen may have to be updated. If this happens, any opened designers will be updated and a dirty indicator with be seen next to the designer name to indicate the update. Figures 5 and 6 show the effect of changes to entity and a related screen.


Figure 5. Related entity and screen after the display name is changed on the entity.

If you have any feedback on this new approach for the LightSwitch designers or would like to share how this has impacted you, we’d love to hear it!  Please leave a comment below or start a conversation with us and the rest of the community in the LightSwitch forum.

-Elizabeth Maher, Tester, Lightswitch Test Team