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Working with the Person Data Type

Visual Studio 2013

You can add and manage people-related data in your LightSwitch application if you use the Person data type. Person is a business type that's based on the String type in the .NET Framework. The Person data type is designed to store people’s identities: values that uniquely identify individuals.

You can store any identity value that you want in a Person field, but LightSwitch makes some assumptions about the identity format depending on the authentication type of the application.

  • For forms authentication, LightSwitch will use the form's logon name as the identity value.

  • For Windows authentication, LightSwitch will use the Windows logon name of that user (for example, Contoso\JoeSmith)

  • For SharePoint-enabled applications, including cloud business apps, the identity is the user’s primary email address.

  • If your application doesn’t use authentication and users are anonymous, their identities are represented by empty strings.

  • You can also use a special TestUser value that represents the identity of a user who's running the application in debug (F5) mode.

The entity class that's generated from your data model includes two properties for each Person field: the property that contains the raw identity (type String) and a property that ends with an “Info” suffix of type PersonInfo (the info property). For example, the identity property “Employee” has a corresponding info property that's named “EmployeeInfo”. Similarly, the Owner identity property is paired with an OwnerInfo info property.

Info properties are read-only. The source of their data is a directory service. You can use the info property value in your code to write various kinds of business logic. For example, here’s how you can use the entity’s info property to send an email message when a user checks out a document:

Private Partial Sub Documents_Updating(entity As Document)
If entity.Details.Properties.CheckedOutTo.IsChanged AndAlso Not String.IsNullOrEmpty(entity.CheckedOutTo) Then

Dim owner As O365PersonInfo = entity.OwnerInfo
Dim currentUser As O365PersonInfo = entity.CheckedOutToInfo


If String.IsNullOrEmpty(owner.FullName) OrElse String.IsNullOrEmpty(currentUser.FullName) Then
' We could not resolve the owner or the current user of the document.
' Continue without sending email.
Return
End If
Dim emailBody As String = "Your document " & Convert.ToString(entity.AssetNumber) & " (" & Convert.ToString(entity.Description) & ") has been checked out to " & Convert.ToString(entity.CheckedOutToInfo.FullName)

SendEmail("DocumentTracker@example.com", entity.OwnerInfo.Email, "Document " & Convert.ToString(entity.AssetNumber) & " checked out", emailBody)
End If
End Sub

If the identity property contains a value that the directory doesn’t recognize, the info property returns an object that represents the unresolved, raw identity, and the full-person information isn’t available.

SharePoint-enabled LightSwitch apps (cloud business apps) use either Active Directory or Azure Active Directory (for on-premises vs. cloud-based applications, respectively) to retrieve contact, organizational, and security-related information about people. If the application uses Windows or Forms authentication, only basic, security-related information is exposed through info properties.

Information about the current user of the application is available through the User property of the global Application object (Application.User). As the following example shows, this property returns an object of PersonInfo type, so you can handle the current user and other users in the application in the same way.

Private Partial Sub Documents_Inserting(entity As Document)
' If the Owner has not been set, assume the current user is the owner
If String.IsNullOrEmpty(entity.Owner) Then
entity.Owner = Application.User.PersonId
End If
End Sub

The PersonId property retrieves the identity of the current user in a format that's appropriate for the authentication mechanism that the application uses.

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