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The CodeFluent Entities Portable Modeler

CodeFluent Entities has always included out-of-the-box a nifty little tool called the “Portable Modeler”. It’s a standalone CodeFluent Entities modeler application, not dependent on anything but the CodeFluent Entities product binaries. It means it’s not dependent on Visual Studio, but still allows to create, modify and save a CodeFluent Entities model:

It exists as an .exe file located in the installation directory, appropriately named “CodeFluent.Modeler.Portable.exe”. Note the product setup does not install a shortcut on it so you’ll have to create one by yourself, and point to it:

When you run it, it will just display a standard windowed application with Open, Save, etc. menu:

You can start a New CodeFluent Entities project from scratch (“New”), you can import an existing database (“Import”), or open an existing model (“Open”). Note the “Open” command also supports Visual Studio .cfxproj  (the file type of a CodeFluent Entities Model when integrated Visual Studio). If you open an existing CodeFluent Entities model and just see a white panel like this…:

… don’t panic 🙂 It just means there is no design surface defined for this model, and we don’t do this automatically for you (it requires a model change as a design surface is also a CodeFluent Entities model concept, just like the others), so you can add one like this:

Give this new design surface a name (here I chose ‘def’), press ok on the New Surface dialog box, and then you should this something like this (depending on your surface rendering settings, here I’m using the ‘metro’ style):

That’s it! Now you have access to the modeler ribbon we all love (it’s – almost – the same as the one in Visual Studio), there is also a right-click menu, and a property grid. Design surfaces are displayed as a list of Tabs (we can see the ‘Def’ tab above).

Note this tool is not officially supported – beyond a best effort move as usual :-), but very practical for example if you want to give non-developer users the ability to open, view, and possibly change a model, as it does not requires Visual Studio to run. Of course, it lacks some features, notably source control, the cool solution wizards, and a solution explorer-like tree view.

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