eXpressApp Framework: the noob demo edition

03 November 2010

Here’s a hint if you ever have to work an exhibitor booth: if you specialize in a particular portion of your main product, it’s a guaranteed certainty that someone will walk up and ask you about another part. Some feature or functionality that you are somewhat hazy about. So, this morning…

…enter the customer who wanted to know about eXpressApp Framework and my number was up.

Let me emphasize that I can talk about the features of XAF until the cows come home, but this customer wanted a full demo with a start-from-scratch solution. I have not done this demo for a full year, possibly more. Gary is not part of this trip, so the heat was most assuredly on.

File New Project: easy. I selected the full application option. I was going to do Oliver’s old demo staple of books and authors. First problem: my SQL Server Express installation is named and so doesn’t respond to “(local)” as the name. Where do I change that again? (Answer: app.config and web.config; two places and I forgot the second.) Second problem: I couldn’t for the life of me remember the XAF/XPO templates in CodeRush and there was no way I could remember enough to type a new domain object property from zero.

This necessitated a trip into the CodeRush Options page. Which is, as I’m sure you know, big. As in BIG. And I’d got the “noob” setting at the bottom so I couldn’t see the templates. Mark wasn’t around either so I had to work it all out from scratch. I finally found that the relevant templates are: xc for a new domain object (actually you shouldn’t need this particularly since you generally use Add New Item for the module and you get the right code as part of the Visual Studio template); xp<type> for a new property of a domain object; xpa for a new one-to-one or one-to-many association between two classes; and xpcl for a many-to-one association.

Once I had all that refreshed in my memory, the demo went very well.

Nevertheless, learn from my mistakes and revise enough before your trip to your company’s booth that you can provide a ‘light’ demo at a moment’s notice on any subject. You may find your expert on a feature has mysteriously disappeared.

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