Making LightSpeed easier to learn

A few posts back I commented that we’re always trying to improve the ease of use of our products. I focused on LightSpeed and will do so again here because we’re rapidly approaching the 2.2 release.

Mindscape is a very developer focused company, the aim has always been to make our tools as easy as possible to pick up and learn. The learning curve of a product often can have a direct impact on if it’s worth investing in the tool at all or, worse, if it takes too long to realise the benefits of the tools then users give up in frustration (and rightly so!).

Starting in LightSpeed 2.2 we will be adding additional documentation directly inside Visual Studio to explain the next steps required to deliver solutions on LightSpeed. Here’s an early screenshot of a very unstyled but ultimately helpful guide for first time users (we will be making it more attractive):

Getting started screenshot

WOW – A text file! But seriously, what is nice about this is that the configuration and code reflects the information about your model. So copying and pasting, for example, the configuration section, will result in a block of xml that includes your connection string and database provider already configured. One less thing to worry about.

The idea here is that first time users tend to use the LightSpeed designer to create a model and then wonder what they need to do next. At the moment we’re working on how we make displaying this screen obvious in the designer without getting in the way of people who are quite experienced and don’t want to see it (although so far we have seen that even experienced users find it useful because they can copy and paste the boiler plate config without needing to check previous projects or documentation).

What else could we add to help you get started more easily?

Tagged as LightSpeed, Products

5 Responses to “Making LightSpeed easier to learn”

  • Looking good.Just the sort of thing a newbie like myself needs. Will no doubt cut down the number of times I have to bother you with basic questions as well !

  • You could come and set lightspeed up with our project for us… Take this as a compliment, you’re doing all you can :)

  • one question, Mono 2.2+ support? any timeframe or complete ignorance?

    Mono is improving extremely fast and there are some OR/M for .NET that have no problem of supporting it.

    Hope you will join the crowd, you don’t need to support designer (their winforms implementation isn’t stellar but is improving rapidly), just the deployment would be enough.

    So developing in VS.NET and later on just recompiling the project under MONO without any GUI…

    is it hard to do? thanks

  • and 1 _on_topic entry…
    I’m looking at the provided picture and guessing that if your intentions are to “generate” txt file (or some portion of it) than I would suggest removing the clutter (or mess):

    1. detect language used in project (so no snippets if I am not a coder)

    2. detect .NET 3.5 version and just display queries in LINQ, or display .NET 2.0 queries only in cases which aren’t yet implemented/possible in LINQ (for example some die hard scenario at the end)

    3. or do it like MSDN with filter and javascript ;-)

  • @Bert – thanks :-)


    Mono – We have been asked for this before but haven’t put Mono as an officially supported framework. Because the core of LightSpeed works happily with .NET 2.0, I have run the compatibility checker that is available from the Mono project over LightSpeed and only have two minor warnings. If you have Mono handy, fire up LightSpeed on it and see if it works for you.

    The generated getting started text – Thanks for the feedback. I’ve fed this back and we’ll look at making some of the changes you suggest.


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