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Step 2: Define the Data in LightSwitch

In this lesson, you'll define the data for your contact management application by creating a table, also known as a data entity. By using the LightSwitch Entity Designer, you'll specify the property fields and data types that represent a contact.

To create an entity for your application

  1. In the Start window, choose the Create new table link.

    The Entity Designer window opens.

  2. In the Properties window, in the text box for the Name property, enter Contact, and then choose the Enter key.

    The name in the title bar changes to "Contact" and the name in Solution Explorer changes to "Contacts.lsml".

  3. In the Name column, choose the <Add property> link, enter ContactName, and then choose the Enter key.

    The data type, String, appears in the Type column and the Required check box is selected. A contact must have a name that consists of a string of characters.

  4. In the Name column, choose the <Add property> link, and then enter ContactCompany.

  5. In the Name column, choose the <Add property> link, and then enter ContactPhone.

  6. In the Type column, open the list, and then choose Phone Number.

    Phone Number is a custom business type that represents a standard format for telephone numbers.

  7. In the Name column, choose the <Add property> link, and then enter ContactEmail.

  8. In the Type column, open the list, and then choose Email Address.

    Email Address is another custom business type that represents a correctly formatted e-mail address.

  9. In the Required column for the ContactEmail field, clear the check box.

    This lets you enter a contact without having to provide an e-mail address.

    At this point, your entity should look like the following illustration:

    The completed data entity

You just created a data entity that contains four fields. As you enter and save data in your contact management application, the entries in those fields are stored in an internal database.

You may have noticed that there is actually a fifth field, Id. This provides a unique value (the primary key) for each record. It’s assigned by LightSwitch and can’t be changed.

When you defined the data in your data entity, you used custom business types for the telephone number and e-mail address. Custom business types are a convenient way to specify complex data that's typically used in business applications. In addition to Phone Number and Email Address, LightSwitch includes other custom business types including Money, Percent, Person, and Web Address.

In the next step, you'll learn how to create a screen to display and edit the data.

Next lesson: Step 3: Create Screens in LightSwitch

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