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Walkthrough: Managing Data in a LightSwitch Application

Visual Studio 2013

By creating a database project, you can help your users view, enter, and update data as they use your LightSwitch application. For example, this walkthrough demonstrates how to create an application in which users can store customer information such as addresses. If a user provides a ZIP Code for a customer, the application automatically fills in the name of the city and the state where that customer is located. You can use the same techniques to provide data that's specific to your application.

As you follow this walkthrough, you’ll create a database project and add it to the solution for your LightSwitch application. You'll also create a post-deployment script that populates a table of ZIP Codes, and you'll add code that looks up the city and state when the user enters a ZIP Code.

This walkthrough requires the sample files in the download Managing Data in a LightSwitch Application.

To create the LightSwitch solution

  1. On the menu bar, choose File, New, Project.

  2. In the New Project dialog box, expand the Visual Basic or Visual C# node, and then choose the LightSwitch node.

  3. In the template list, choose either LightSwitch HTML Application (Visual Basic) or LightSwitch HTML Application (Visual C#).

    Note Note

    HTML applications are optimized for mobile devices, but you can use the same techniques for a desktop application.

  4. In the Name text box, enter LightSwitchData, and then choose the OK button.

To create the customer table and screens

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the Data Sources node, and then choose Add Table.

  2. In the Properties window, set the Name property to Customer.

  3. In the data designer, add the following values:

    Customer table
  4. On the Perspective bar, choose the HTML Client tab.

  5. On the toolbar, choose the Screen button.

    The Add New Screen dialog box opens.

  6. In the Screen Data list, choose Customers, and then choose the OK button.

  7. In the screen designer, choose the List | Customers node, and then change the control type to Tile List.

  8. Open the shortcut menu for the Command Bar node, and then choose Add Button.

    The Add Button dialog box opens.

  9. In the showTab list, choose addAndEditNew, and then choose the OK button.

  10. In the Add New Screen dialog box, accept the default values, and then choose the OK button.

  11. On the menu bar, choose Debug, Start Debugging.

    The application runs and displays the Browse Customers screen.

  12. Choose the Add Customer button.

    The Add Edit Customer screen appears.

To add the database project and associate it with the LightSwitch application

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the Solution node, choose Add, and then choose New Project.

  2. In the Add New Project dialog box, choose the SQL Server node.

  3. In the project list, choose SQL Server Database Project.

  4. In the Name text box, enter ZipDatabase, and then choose the OK button.

  5. In Solution Explorer, expand the LightSwitchData node, open the shortcut menu for the Properties node, and then choose Open.

  6. On the General Properties tab, in the SQL Database Project list, choose ZipDatabase.

    Note Note

    You might need to wait while LightSwitch creates the associations.

To create the zipcode table and screen

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the DataSources node, and then choose Add Table.

  2. In the Properties window, set the Name property to ZipCodes.

  3. In the data designer, add the following values:

    The fields in this table correspond to the comma-delimited fields in the ZIPCODES.txt file that you downloaded with the project. All fields except ZipCode are marked as not required (nullable), because the text file may not contain data for all fields.

    ZipCodes table
  4. On the Perspective bar, choose the HTML Client tab.

  5. On the toolbar, choose the Screen button.

    The Add New Screen dialog box opens.

  6. In the Screen Data list, choose ZipCodesSet, and then choose the OK button.

  7. In the screen designer, choose the List | Zip Codes Set node, and then change the control type to Tile List.

  8. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the BrowseZipCodesSet.lsml node, and then choose Set as Home Screen.

  9. On the menu bar, choose Debug, Start Debugging.

    The application runs and displays the Browse Zip Codes Set screen, which doesn’t contain any data yet.

To create a post-deployment script

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the ZipDatabase node, choose Add, and then choose New Item.

  2. In the Add New Item dialog box, choose the User Scripts node.

  3. In the Templates list, choose Post-Deployment Script, and then choose the Add button.

  4. In the Code Editor, add the following SQL script:

    delete from ZipCodesSet
    
    BULK INSERT ZipCodesSet
    FROM 'C:\Temp\ZIPCODES.txt'
    WITH
    (
    FIELDTERMINATOR = ',',
    ROWTERMINATOR = '\n'
    )
    GO
    
    Important noteImportant

    In the line FROM 'C:\Temp\ZIPCODES.txt', replace the placeholder path with the location of the file that you downloaded.

    The first line of the script deletes any existing data, because this script runs every time that you build the application. The remaining lines populate the ZipCodesSet table with data from the text file.

  5. On the menu bar, choose Debug, Start Debugging.

    The application runs and displays the Browse Zip Codes Set screen, which now contains data.

To modify the AddEditCustomer screen

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the AddEditCustomer.lsml node, and then choose Open.

  2. In the screen designer, open the shortcut menu for the City node, and then choose Delete.

  3. Open the shortcut menu for the State node, and then choose Delete.

  4. Move the Zip Code node so that it appears under the Address node.

  5. Open the shortcut menu for the Rows Layout | right node, and then choose Delete.

    These steps simplify the user interface for adding or editing customers. You don't need the City or State fields because you’ll add code to look up those values in the ZipCodeSet table.

To look up city and state data

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the Customers.lsml node, and then choose Open.

  2. In the data designer, on the Perspective bar, choose Server.

  3. On the toolbar, open the Write Code list, and then choose the Customers_Inserting method.

  4. In the Code Editor, add the following code to that method:

    ZipCodes zip = ZipCodesSet.Where(e => e.ZipCode == entity.ZipCode).Single();
    entity.City = zip.City;
    entity.State = zip.State;
    

    This code finds the City and State based on the ZipCode that the user entered. This method is called when the user chooses the Save button to create a customer record.

  5. Add the following code to the Customers_Updating method:

    partial void Customers_Updating(Customer entity)
    {
       ZipCodes zip = ZipCodesSet.Where(e => e.ZipCode == entity.ZipCode).Single();
       entity.City = zip.City;
       entity.State = zip.State;
    }
    

    This code is the same as the _Inserting method but handles the case where a user updates an existing record.

  6. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the BrowseCustomers.lsml node, and then choose Set as Home Screen.

  7. On the menu bar, choose Debug, Start Debugging to run the application.

  8. Add a customer, and then save the record.

    The City and State fields are updated based on the Zip Code that you entered.

You can use an integrated database project with LightSwitch in a variety of ways besides those in this topic. In addition to creating post-deployment scripts, you can also create pre-deployment scripts that handle schema changes, create build scripts that add indexes, and much more. See SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT).

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