Friday, November 26, 2010

Migrating Microsoft Access to Visual Studio LightSwitch Projects

Mauricio Rojas described Lightswitch Experiences: Migrating Access to Microsoft Lightswitch in an 11/25/2010 post:

image22242222Microsoft Access was (and is still) very used for simple data entry applications.

But Microsoft Access (despite all its good) is kind of an old technology and there was no clear alternative for a simple mortal [modern?]  development environment… until Microsoft LightSwitch.

This series of posts illustrates the experiences of migrating Microsoft Access applications to LigthSwitch.

This post shows the result of migrating all Northwind Access example tables:

The following is Microsoft LightSwitch Solution explorer showing all Tables:


And these are some of the Northwind tables in LightSwitch







The migration process is straightforward. Text and Memo fields can be migrated to string, Numbers can be migrated to Int32 or Int64, Currency is map to Money. Yes\No can be mapped to boolean with a Value List.

There is support for specifying a caption (Display ID in Lightswitch), Description, and validation rules.

I will keep posting about Query migration, form migration and also report migration. Stay tuned.

Mauricio’s posts would be more useful if he described the migration process as well as the results. I assume he migrated the Northwind Access database to an SQL Server 2008 [R2] database with the SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access, because LightSwitch Beta 1 doesn’t support an Access *.accdb (or *.mdb) file as a data source.

I’ll add Mauricio’s future articles as he posts them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Your DSL Connection Acts Strangely, First Reboot Your Modem/Router

If you encounter unexpected behavior or inability to contact specific Internet hosts with a DSL connection, reboot your DSL modem or router before exploring other solutions.

Yesterday (Wednesday 11/17/2010) afternoon, my wife and I encountered a slowdown in connecting to certain Internet hosts, such as,,, (Windows Azure) and others with our ATT DSL connection. Other hosts, such as and, behaved as expected. I attributed the problem to temporary congestion or a routing mixup, but didn’t investigate further and turned the four computers in the house off.

This morning, I started my Windows Server 2003 R2 domain controller, as well as Windows Vista and Windows 7 clients and found none were able to connect to,,, and I didn’t receive immediate 404 errors; IE 8 remained in a “Connecting” state for several minutes. But,, and a few other hosts continued to behave as expected. Gmail and CompuServe (AOL) mail worked as usual, but Microsoft Online Services wouldn’t connect.

I believed that ATT’s DNS servers were the source of the problem because it affected only specific hosts. I contacted ATT Internet customer service, who claimed that “customers were experiencing problems with IE 8,” asked me to try Firefox (same problem), and then escalated the issue. When I describe the problem to the next-level agent at (877) 825-6033, she said it wasn’t an ATT problem and offered to connect me to a technician for a prepaid charge of US$139.00. I declined the offer.

I use Windows Server 2008 R2 Routing and Remote Access services to provide Network Address Translation (NAT) to my internal network, so I opened a command prompt and issued an ipconfig /flushdns command to make sure some rogue site hadn’t poisoned my DNS cache. That didn’t solve the problem.

Next, I checked the TCP/IP properties (settings) on the NIC connected to the router. The single DNS server address was (loopback) instead of the original (preferred) and (alternate) entered when I configured the server. I set those DNS addresses, rebooted the server, but still no luck with the affected hosts.

image Headslap! I hadn’t rebooted the old-timey Cayman 3220-H modem/router provided by Pacific Bell; rebooting usually was required to restore dropped DSL connections. I pulled the power cable, waited 15 seconds, plugged it back in, and received the expected “three green” (same as for aircraft retractable landing gear in the down and locked position.)

Eureka! The reboot solved the problem. All hosts behaved as expected. I have no idea why the router had problems with only certain hosts.

Note: I was one of Pacific Bell’s first DSL customers in the East Bay (CA) region and have a set of fixed IP addresses. I suffered through routing table hell during PacBell’s transition to Southwestern Bell and Yahoo! as the service provider (which is why I have a email alias), and then through the ATT name change.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Integrate Silverlight into an Access Project with a Web Browser Control

Chris Downs posted Power Tip: Integrate Silverlight into an Access database on 11/17/2010:

Derrick VanArnam and Russell Fox have developed a sample Access database that shows how to integrate Silverlight into an Access database. The sample demonstrates interoperability between Access and a Silverlight Treeview control, but you can also use other Silverlight controls, such as the Treeview, DataGrid, Video, and charts.

The basic method is to place an Access Web Browser Control onto a form, and then load an HTML page containing the Silverlight control. Read the full post and download the sample!

Silverlight Treeview on an Access form

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Microsoft Access 2010 Resource Center

Chris Downs reported a New Access 2010 resource center for IT professionals on TechNet! in a 11/15/2010 post to the Microsoft Access team blog:

image TechNet has just published a new Access 2010 Resources page full of information about migrating, deploying and securing Access 2010 databases. Learn how to plan and implement an Access Services site, and get links to developer resources, training, videos, and how-to articles. Definitely a good one to add to your Favorites!

Access 2010 Resources page on TechNet

Monday, November 15, 2010

Enable External Users to Connect to SharePoint Online 2010 Lists

Danny Burlage posted External users in SharePoint Online 2010 #office365 on 11/15/2010:

image SharePoint Online allows you to collaborate with users outside of your organization by giving them permission to access your internal organization resources. These users are called external users. If the site collection administrator or site owner wants to allow external users to access a site, the SharePoint Online Administrator must first enable the access in the SharePoint Administration Center this can be done when you set up a site collection or after it is set up. After the ability to invite external users is set up, the site collection administrator can invite authenticated external users to access the site via e-mail. The external user then accesses the site by using Windows Live ID user name and password.

Support partners are business and technical professionals, including Microsoft, who provide support services to Microsoft Online Services users. By default, the Microsoft Online Services administrator grants support partners access to the SharePoint Online Administrator Center from the Office 365 portal. However, if you want a partner to have access to a site collection or site, you must explicitly grant the partner access. You can do this at any time by changing the setting on the site collection in the SharePoint Online Administrator Center.

This new concept which will be launched in SharePoint Online 2010, part of Office 365, will enhance the capabilities for granular corporate governance to great extent. We are really happy with this feature because it will allow us to manage environments of our customers without them needing to worry about us getting access to all their data.

I expect customers to be really excited about this feature because it will allow them to give access to both partners and customers in a manner which is closely controllable.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Should Microsoft’s Office Group Market Visual Studio LightSwitch?

Gary Short asserts Microsoft’s Office group should market LightSwitch in his TechEd Europe Day 2 – Is LightSwitch in the Wrong Product Group? post of 11/12/2010:

image22242222I spoke to a number of attendees who had been to the Lightswitch session today. They told me that the presenter walked the audience through Lightswitch and it’s place in the Visual Studio family of products. It quickly became clear to the attendees that there was a certain amount of push back from developers in the audience, the general feeling was that Lightswitch is not a developer tool. The feeling is most certainly that Lightswitch is a power user tool and does not belong in the Visual Studio stable. I mean, what does Lightswtich do? It helps you create Silverlight applications, right? Well I’m a developer, if I want to create Silverlight apps I have ways of doing that already.

image[28] So, if Lightswitch shouldn’t be in the Visual Studio stable, where should it be? Personally, I’d like to see it in the Office stable, as that’s where the power users on the Microsoft platform hang out. People who are already creating “applications” using Excel and Access should now have the ability to create Silverlight applications using Lightswitch for Office. If it were in the Office stable, Microsoft would get a double win. Firstly, devs would get off their backs about there being a “toy” in the Visual Studio line up, and secondly, power users would win because they could stop writing mission critical software in Excel and Access and get their applications on a more “professional” footing.

So why do so many power users write so many apps in Office tools? Simple. A great many enterprises have outsourced their IT capacity. So now to get even the most simple application written someone has to fill out a form in triplicate, submit it to four different people and pay through the nose for it. Not to mention that when the application finally gets delivered, it’s “a day late and a dollar short”. And why do they go through this pain? Well they have no choice normally as the terms of the outsourcing agreement means that all development and support work on applications must be done by the outsourcing company.

However, under many such agreements, Office is deemed to be “software of personal productivity” and so falls outside of the agreement, mainly because Office is on every desktop in the enterprise and if the outsourcing company had to support it, they’d never been done fielding calls of the “how to I make titles bold?” variety. However, this loophole means that if someone want a new application, this side of Armageddon, then they can write it immediately using Excel or Access.

So what do you think, am I right, should Lightswitch be in the Office stable? Leave you comments in the… well, comments.

The session discussed is Drew RobbinsDEV206 - Building Business Applications with Visual Studio TechEd Europe 2010.

image I described LightSwitch as a potential Access 2010 competitor in my forthcoming Microsoft Access 2010 In Depth book.

Must Office 365 Enterprise Subscribers also Subscribe to Office 2010 Professional Plus to Obtain Access Services?

I posted the following question to the Microsoft Online Services TechCenter > Microsoft Online Services Forums > Transition Forum on 11/12/2010:

image The preceding thread starts here. Here’s the link to the Office 365 Fact Sheet of 10/19/2010.

I’ll update this post when I receive a response to my question.