Building a Silverlight Line-Of-Business Application – Part 6

Part 6 of my series on building a line-of-business application with Silverlight is now available on the SilverlightShow.net website here:

http://www.silverlightshow.net/items/Building-a-Silverlight-Line-Of-Business-Application-Part-6.aspx

This article is all about implementing reporting in your Silverlight application.

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13 thoughts on “Building a Silverlight Line-Of-Business Application – Part 6

  1. Chris,

    Thanks for your hard work on this LOB examples. I am really enjoying them. I am new to Silverlight (with a little previous web development) and able to follow the code pretty well. I’m pretty much a SQL Server DBA but am fascinated with Silverlight and am coming up to speed on the product.

    Pardon my trival question. I am going through LOB one and created the project, made adjustments to the web.config, etc. but then the “step by step” stopped. Do I begin pulling the login code from the downloaded source into my project? Or have I missed something on how to create the login code, navigation, etc. I am thinking I pull the code from your project into mine?

    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Sean

    You would probably be better to use my app as a starting point, allowing it to become the framework for your own application. If you start with it, then you can insert your own functionality as content pages, replacing the ones that form a part of the AdventureWorks functionality. Hope this helps.

    Chris

  3. Sounds good. Appreciate it. Do you recommend any Silverlight books? I try to find as many tutorials on-line that I can, but sometimes you can’t beat a trusted paper-based book!

  4. Hi Sean

    Sorry, I can’t recommend any Silverlight development books as I haven’t read any. With everything changing so fast as I was learning (in the beta days) I was relying on web based articles. I saw that there was a big hole in learning how to put together a real project , so that’s where my article series came in. I’ve been focusing on how to achieve commonly required functionality, so if you have any topics you’d like discussed (or think should be discussed) in relation to writing LOB applications let me know. I have been considering writing my own book, so feel free to let me know what kind of things you’d like to see or what you’re having trouble finding information on. I tend to find that most books are too simplistic, glossing over various features without actually showing you how to implement real world requirements. Silverlight (and WPF) need a whole different mindset to WinForms and ASP.NET development and there is a big learning curve – even for experienced developers. Hopefully my articles are helping people by paving the way – it’s taken a whole lot of work to get where I am with it and there’s still a lot to do.

    Chris

  5. Kudos. I fully understand your approach and am looking forward to purchase one of your books. I believe many seasoned developers have one thing in common….logic, logic, and logic. Usually the toughest language is a person’s first language, after that it is a matter of syntax. You have gone above and beyond the call to duty and your hard work is much appreciated. Let me give you an idea that I think would make a great book. Take it for what it is worth. I would buy this type of book in a heart beat. Maybe something like “Step By Step on Displaying Data to Users with Silverlight”. Example table of conents:
    1. Creating headers, content, and footer panes.
    2. Creating navigation (rollover, drop downs, etc.) a couple various looks to top navigation in header pane.
    3. Creating “Search User Control” passing parameters to SQL Server stored procedure
    4. Displaying Search Results to user
    5. Creating Drill Down User Control – once user select record from search results.
    6. Creating “Left, Center, Right Panes” in Content area (you have touched on this with Dashboards.

    I guess my point is a “Step by Step” book using Silverlight to execute stored procs in SQL Server, use LINQ, etc. I have personnally, I like code examples, codes examples, oh did I mention, I like code examples. Applications are pretty easy… there is data stored in a database, I want to display to users and give them the ability to either READ, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE. Most developers are pretty savvy, so if there is a step by step guide, they can take the concept and run with it. Sorry for the long reply. Thanks again for your hard work.

    Sean

  6. Thanks for the excellent feedback Sean. I’ve had similar comments previously (not in detail like yours though, so appreciate the effort) and am now thinking of writing an article like “The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started Building Your Own Silverlight Applications” (or writing it as one or more chapters in a book if I’m lucky enough to get a book deal). I know getting started in both Silverlight and WPF it’s really hard to know where to start since the development model has been changed so drastically. All the articles I’ve seen are focused on specific new functionality (XAML, databinding, styles, control templates, etc), but don’t really show how to bring it all together to build an application and the steps required to do so. I was hoping to fill this void with my articles but there is room to improve and this is all good feedback that will really help me focus my efforts. I understand from personal experience with the difficulty I faced getting started myself. My initial aim with these articles was to demonstrate what it takes to build an application in Silverlight, less so on the how. In the more recent articles I’ve focused more on the how, but it might be time to revisit the first one. Thanks again for your feedback and I will see what I can do to help sometime in a future article.

    You might like to try this video from Tim Heuer – I haven’t watched it but it sounds a bit like the sort of thing you’re looking for. Hope this helps!

    http://silverlight.net/learn/appcorner/adventureworkspt1.aspx?pt=1

    Chris

  7. Hi Chris,

    I was wondering how you made ProductDictionaries serializable? I see the member variables are [Serializable] but what about the class itself?

    Thanks

    Dave

  8. Hi Dave

    I’m a bit confused about your question – can you provide me with some more details please? My guess is you’re asking about how I don’t require [DataContract] and [DataMember] attributes on my class and properties? (This is because of the new POCO support in .NET 3.5 SP1). If so, this article might shine a bit of light on things – otherwise can you fill me in a bit further please?

    http://www.pluralsight.com/community/blogs/aaron/archive/2008/05/13/50934.aspx

    Hope this helps

    Chris

  9. Chris,

    Just came across your 6 part series and judging by the comments it’s just what the doctor ordered. I’ll have to hide from my
    wife this weekend.

    I just downloaded the source for only Part 6 and quickly looked at its contents. It appears to contain your entire app ? Is this correct ?

    Thanks

  10. Chris,

    Will you be incorporating a workflow solution in part 7? I would like to implement something like snapflow but wanted to know how you would tackle form routing and authorisation?

    Thanks, Sarah

  11. Hi Sarah

    The upcoming parts are about styling – which grew from 1 article into 7 different ones due to the huge amount of information in them. So these will be coming over the coming weeks (publishing has been postponed a week due to the huge amount of information coming out of Mix this week). My plans for workflow therefore have been pushed back as I still had some things to cover between styling and workflow. My plans were to have workflow on the server rather than the client (using Windows Workflow) and let the server guide the client (if required), as it seemed a more straightforward way of managing it. While I have read about Snapflow I haven’t tried it to give you any feedback – it looks good for designing/modifying workflow via a Silverlight application, though I’m not sure where it manages the runtime workflow process. Personally I think a lot of workflow is better managed on the server rather than the client (including enforcing security on actions with a public web service) which makes Windows Workflow a good option, but I guess it depends on your scenario too. I’d be interested in hearing more about your particular scenario and what you’re trying to achieve. I have to admit not using packaged workflow solutions as I don’t believe they provide benefits for my type of projects. However if you work for an organisation where workflow is changed regularly then they definitely have their place. I can’t admit to being an expert on this topic as yet and still need to research further, though I have investigated it and decided against it on recent projects, preferring to define workflow using alternate means. From some people I’ve talked to they really like it (Windows Workflow), but it has also caused them considerable pain. Without having implemented workflow using a packaged solution I can only give you limited advice, but I’d be interested in what you’re trying to achieve in order to guide my future article on the subject.

    Chris

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