Microsoft Project Siena (beta)

In December 2013, Microsoft released a new beta tool code-named “Project Siena.” Here is what Microsoft has to say about this tool.

“Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for business experts, business analysts, consultants, and other app imagineers. Now, without any programming, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.”

Unlike LightSwitch, Siena does not support any traditional code-behind programming. Instead, it supports Excel-like expressions and functions. Behind the scenes it builds Windows 8 applications using HTML5 and JavaScript.

Data sources currently include:

  • Excel
  • Azure Mobile Services
  • REST services
  • RSS Feeds
  • SharePoint.

I suspect that this list will expand as the product evolves.

It is important to emphasize that Project Siena is currently in beta. Things will change as the product evolves and it is also possible that the product will never see a public final release.

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In this tutorial we look at creating two applications. One uses the RSS feed to make a very rudimentary blog reader. The second creates an application that presents manufacturing instructions for the hypothetical AdventureWorks company. Data from an OData service is imported into Excel and then the Excel workbook is used as the data source for the application.


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