Thursday, October 13, 2011

CLASS Extensions. Making of (Introduction)

Did you know that even for a simple extension there are numerous things the developer has to take into account?
I didn’t know it either until I decided to pack a few of the custom Silverlight controls and accompanying classes (like value converters) in CLASS Extensions. Many details, from very simple like setting the image of the control to be displayed in the LightSwitch designer, to more complex like automatically using one control for collections (like in a grid) and another for details and setting default settings. I must say here that if it weren’t for the community and all the members being more than willing to help, it would have been impossible to manage (what I have managed anyway, as this first attempt is far from complete).
It was the first time in my developer live I felt I really needed two screens. One for reading the proper LightSwitch extensibility How to article and one for the Visual Studio IDE to write code and XML. From these articles I managed to finally solve many of the issues reported in version 1.0 and will be included in the next version.
At the end of the day, I have to say that it was worth all the effort. Using extensions instead of custom controls and referenced libraries I had written and been using, is so much more productive that any time spent was paid back in just a few screens’ design time.
So, if you are hesitating to go through the process of learning how to write extensions, all I have to say is go for it! And this is a good tip…Winking smile
P.S. In upcoming posts I will talk  about the details of the implementation that i believe is worth sharing.

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