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Microsoft's LightSwitch tool hits second beta

Microsoft is releasing the second beta of its Visual Studio LightSwitch tool. The new version adds new features like publishing to Windows Azure, a new language, and support for extensions.

Templates in LightSwitch, one of the things that users will be able to build and customize in beta 2. Microsoft

The latest member of Microsoft's Visual Studio family is one step closer to a final release.

Microsoft today is releasing the second beta of LightSwitch, a software tool aimed at developers who want to build business applications that run as both native and Web applications.


The new version, which becomes available MSDN subscribers today, and everyone else on Thursday, adds a handful of new features from the previous beta, all aimed at increasing what can be done with the software.

The first is support for publishing applications to directly to Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud services platform. This is joined by a tool for Visual Studio Professional (or higher) that lets users make LightSwitch application extensions. Examples of these include things like data sources, screen templates, and themes, all of which can be thrown in to speed up application development.

Besides the new features, Microsoft has also announced language support for German, which joins English. When the final version of the software hits later this year, Microsoft says, it will be available in an additional eight languages, matching the 10 that are supported in Visual Studio.

Since the release of the first LightSwitch beta back in August, the software had been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to Microsoft. LightSwitch continues to play a larger part in the company's initiative to let businesses and developers get a taste of the full Visual Studio experience, offering them a chance to bring projects to the more feature-fulled development platform if they outgrow the original intent. A full breakdown of the differences between LightSwitch and Visual Studio Pro can be found here.