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To LightSwitch Team: extending the Excel Importer extension RRS feed

  • Question

  • First of all thanks a lot for the great tool (Excel importer).

    Using it, almost immediatelly, was obvious to me that there was a piece of functionality that would turn this into a very powerfull business tool. Column Mapping Templates. Saving and reusing column mappings. As you can imagine in real life one will have to deal with ony a few (if not one) excel file formats per object type. So I believe it would be great if you could save the column mappings every time a new excel file format needs to be handled and then be able to reuse it.

    I want very much to contribute, as I am definetly going to implement this functionality one way or another. I would like to extend it and give it back to the community, either directly or give it to the team to integrate/improve before publishing. I only have one problem, that wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the extensibility complexity, and that is VB. Although possible, it's to hard for me read/write VB. I could easily "translate" to C# (a lot of free tools) but I am afraid I will not manage to create a proper vsix package. So my question is, is there any chance you "porting" it to C#. If it is not easy but you are still interested in my offer I am willing to do it in VB.NET, maybe I will add reference to assemblies built in C#. I will find the way.


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1
    Thursday, July 7, 2011 10:46 AM

Answers

  • Thanks Kostas,

    Feel free to flatter me any time ;) <g>

    Seriously, I'm glad you like LightSwitch! I come from a long history of building business applications for all sorts of businesses (but mostly healthcare) and have written many n-tier app frameworks in my time. I fell in love with the LightSwitch RAD development enviornment immediately myself.

    Regarding the Excel Importer, we have been working on an entire Office Integration Pack extension that will not only allow you to Import/Export to Excel (optionally with column mappings), folks will also be able to do all sorts of things with Word, Outlook and email. We will be releasing full source code as well so look for that around RTM on the Samples page of the Dev Center.

    Thanks for your passion about LightSwitch and especially for helping the community. Please keep it up!

    Cheers,
    -Beth

     


    Senior Program Manager, Visual Studio Community http://msdn.com/lightswitch http://msdn.com/vbasic http://msdn.com/vsto http://www.bethmassi.com
    Friday, July 15, 2011 4:03 PM

All replies

  • I have almost completed the Template concept integration to Excel importer. I had to write some code in C# and some in VB.NET. I believe it will be easy now that implementation and debugging is completed to port all C# into VB.NET. The thing is noone from the LS Team posted an answer and I don't know what to do. I believe it's not politically correct to post an extended version of an extension created by the team. I believe the most proper thing would be "sending in" the code somehow so the team publishes this amented/extended version. If noone answers this I will then try contacting someone from the team directly.

    P.S. I feel like Tom Hanks talking to Mr. Wilson... :-)


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1

    Friday, July 8, 2011 8:33 PM
  • Don't take it personally, I don't think they monitor this forum that much. The do monitor the other LightSwitch forum more.

    I don't see a problem with you releasing your version especially if you plan to give it away.

    We covered the original extension on the LightSwitchHelpWebsite:

    http://lightswitchhelpwebsite.com/Blog/tabid/61/EntryId/22/Using-The-LightSwitch-Filter-Extension.aspx

    and we would love to cover your version, Let me know.


    http://www.adefwebserver.com

    http://LightSwitchHelpWebsite.com

    Saturday, July 9, 2011 9:52 PM
  • Hi Michael

    Thanks for breaking the silence.

    Question: which is "the other LightSwitch forum"? Why was I left out? :-)

    Remark: Not filter extension, Excel Importer extension.

    I will drop a line in lightswitchhelpwebsite. We have been posting and replying to each other there too, but you cannot remember everyone. I also wanted to post in LightSwitchHelpWebsite this and this sample but I didn't know how. And I wanted to post there because there is were the spark started to write them.

    Best regards

    Kostas


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1
    Saturday, July 9, 2011 10:16 PM
  • Hi Michael

    Thanks for breaking the silence.

    Question: which is "the other LightSwitch forum"? Why was I left out? :-)

    Kostas


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1

    This is the other forum:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/lightswitchgeneral/threads

    You can contact me by clicking the send message button on this page next to my name:

    http://lightswitchhelpwebsite.com/Community/SocialMembers/tabid/67/query/michael/Default.aspx

    Also don't forget to post anything that you do that is LightSwitch related to:

    http://lightswitchhelpwebsite.com/Forum/tabid/63/aff/20/Default.aspx

    When you post things in the Microsoft forums the post moves off of page one and people rarely find it after a day or so. With the Community Annoucements Forum on the LightSwitch Help Website, you will get hits for weeks.

     


    http://www.adefwebserver.com

    http://LightSwitchHelpWebsite.com

    Saturday, July 9, 2011 10:34 PM
  • Hi Micael I already sent you a message in lightswitchhelpwebsite. I have a sample ready, documented and all. My issue and the reason I was looking to contact LightSwitch Team is that, not being very familiar with extensibility details, I cannot build a new vsix package with a different name and so my package (although it extends functionality) appears with the same name "LightSwitchUtilities". This could be a problem if one installed my version and try to communicate with LightSwitch Team to report a question or an issue.

    I am still a bit undecied about what is the best thing to do.

    Kostas Christodoulou


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 8:28 AM
  •  I cannot build a new vsix package with a different name and so my package (although it extends functionality) appears with the same name "LightSwitchUtilities".

    The answer should be in: Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch Extensions Cookbook.doc

    http://www.adefwebserver.com

    http://LightSwitchHelpWebsite.com

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 1:48 PM
  • I have downloaded all extensibility staff, but this copy-paste-edit approach is not very appealing to me, I hope in the upcoming release extensibility is somehow improved, although I wouldn't keep my breath...

    Thanks anyway


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 7:58 PM
  • Hi Kostas,

    We'll be releasing the LightSwitch Extensibility Toolkit when we release Visual Studio LightSwitch on the 26th. This will make it much easier to build & debug extensions so stay tuned. You will be able to download it plus samples & documentation from the Developer Center http://msdn.com/lightswitch.

    Cheers,

    -Beth


    Senior Program Manager, Visual Studio Community http://msdn.com/lightswitch http://msdn.com/vbasic http://msdn.com/vsto http://www.bethmassi.com
    Friday, July 15, 2011 2:46 AM
  • Thanks for the reply Beth.

    No intension to flatter you, but your presentation about LightSwitch extensibility in Tech-Ed (if I am not mistaken), that I watched latter over the web, made me turn into LS, which up to then I believed it was still far from being able to support LOB applications. Sure it has a long way to go but the track is really promising. We decided to plan our next generation business platform on LS and Silverlight, and we are going to need all the help we can get from LS Team and the community.

    If you have the time please take a look at this sample. It's a sample I posted which is based on LS Team's ExcelImporter (if you read the thread from the start you will understand). I would be more than glad if you (LS Team I mean) want to somehow incorporate it in the "official" version of the Excel Importer.

    Thanks again

    Kostas


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1
    Friday, July 15, 2011 12:53 PM
  • Thanks Kostas,

    Feel free to flatter me any time ;) <g>

    Seriously, I'm glad you like LightSwitch! I come from a long history of building business applications for all sorts of businesses (but mostly healthcare) and have written many n-tier app frameworks in my time. I fell in love with the LightSwitch RAD development enviornment immediately myself.

    Regarding the Excel Importer, we have been working on an entire Office Integration Pack extension that will not only allow you to Import/Export to Excel (optionally with column mappings), folks will also be able to do all sorts of things with Word, Outlook and email. We will be releasing full source code as well so look for that around RTM on the Samples page of the Dev Center.

    Thanks for your passion about LightSwitch and especially for helping the community. Please keep it up!

    Cheers,
    -Beth

     


    Senior Program Manager, Visual Studio Community http://msdn.com/lightswitch http://msdn.com/vbasic http://msdn.com/vsto http://www.bethmassi.com
    Friday, July 15, 2011 4:03 PM
  • I am eager to see the upcoming release. I also hope for an official product Roadmap at least for the next RTM version. I believe LS being a new project/product we need to have more info about what is coming, so that all of us investing in LS will be able to plan ahead along with the team. This is not nagging this is a suggestion. ;-).

    Thanks a bunch for your time

    Kostas


    1+1 = 3 for large values of 1
    Saturday, July 16, 2011 9:09 AM