The time has finally come for me to admit it. I don’t want to but it must be faced. My beautiful, homegrown CRM — including Timesheets and Invoicing modules — is no longer fit for purpose. There it is.
The reasons behind this issue are many and varied. For dull but intricate reasons the backend SQL server runs on a Win7 virtual machine — not always the best way to manage your business admin environment. The Win7/VM platform might also explain why Visual Studio isn’t too happy either and compiling upgrades to the solution is a bit flaky at times.
Primarily, however, Microsoft discontinued LightSwitch over a year ago — with the last release of Visual Studio containing the development tools being VS 2015. This was a sad development, but not entirely unexpected.
With the rise of cloud-based services, proliferation of mobile-ready solutions, and increase in data connectivity, the way we use CRM applications and what we want out of them has changed dramatically. Responsive technology-agnostic and platform-independent web portals are the new norm, and integration with existing reporting and communication tools is not just demanded, but expected — what self-respecting CRM these days can’t email, call or SMS a contact directly? And let us not forget the ubiquitous posting to social media platforms.
Of course, LightSwitch could be deployed to the cloud using MS Azure service, with a web front-end. However, much of what is expected from the desktop application simply wasn’t there: plug-n-play integration with MS Office, rich text fields not quite behaving as expected, and printing was not native — this last an absolute no-no.
Visual Studio makes coding in C# extremely enjoyable, and I have always relished programming. Nevertheless, spending valuable development time coding resolutions to these small but irritating issues did not help to make LS the fastest rapid application development solution.
So now I must devise and “implement an appropriate solution to meet requirements without overstepping budget constraints”, which is exactly what I do for others. Watch this space…