On his blog yesterday, Soma (Sr. VP of Developer Division at Microsoft), announced that Visual Studio LightSwitch Beta 2 will be coming soon. I can tell you, we are really excited about LightSwitch, and apparently you are too (you’ve downloaded over 100,000 copies of Beta 1).

One question that comes up a lot is, what can LightSwitch do versus what can Visual Studio Professional do? What’s the difference? Well, the difference is pretty clear.

Visual Studio LightSwitch is a specialist tool for building line-of-business applications for the desktop and cloud, while Visual Studio Professional is a generalist tool for building anything you can imagine for Microsoft's platforms.

Take a look at this feature matrix and you’ll see what I mean (we’ll get a formal version of this up on http://www.microsoft.com/lightswitch soon).

Visual Studio LightSwitch

Visual Studio Professional

LightSwitch Runtime

Yes

Yes1

Visual Studio Project System

Yes

Yes

IntelliSense

Yes

Yes

Team Explorer (Team Foundation Server integration)

-2, 3

Yes3

LIGHTSWITCH APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT

Predefined Screen Templates

Yes

Yes1

Application Skinning and Theming

Yes

Yes1

Data Entity Designer

Yes

Yes1

Business-oriented Data Types (e.g. EmailAddress, PhoneNumber, etc.)

Yes

Yes1

Automatic Data Input Validation

Yes

Yes1

Windows Azure Deployment

Yes

Yes1

SQL Azure Support

Yes

Yes

LANGUAGES, EDITORS & COMPILERS

Visual Basic

Yes

Yes

Visual C#

Yes

Yes

Visual C++

-

Yes

Visual F#

-

Yes

HTML/JavaScript

-

Yes

Silverlight/XAML Editor

-

Yes

PROJECT TYPES

LightSwitch Application

Yes

Yes1

ASP.NET

-

Yes

ASP.NET AJAX

-

Yes

ASP.NET MVC

-

Yes

Console Application

-

Yes

Database Projects

-

Yes

Office Applications & Add-ins

-

Yes

Setup Projects

-

Yes

SharePoint Applications & WebParts

-

Yes

Test Projects

-

Yes

Visual Studio Add-ins

-

Yes

Windows Forms

-

Yes

Windows Phone

-

Yes

WCF

-

Yes

WPF

-

Yes

XNA Games

-

Yes

1 Only available for LightSwitch applications. Requires Visual Studio LightSwitch and Visual Studio Professional to both be installed.
2 Team Explorer will integrate with LightSwitch but must be installed separately.
3 Requires a Team Foundation Server Client Access License (CAL).

I hope that helps!

D7