3/06/2009

ASP.NET MVC RC2

“Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.” -- Unknown

ASP.NET MVC Release Candidate 2 is out; it has no major identifiable changes in  features or in Visual Studio 2008 tooling from RC1.  That’s a good thing – it means it’s pretty much “baked”.

There are changes to the installer in that it doesn't ship the System.Web.Routing.dll and System.Web.Abstractions.dll assemblies now since they are a part of  .NET 3.5 SP1. Consequently, set-up requires  .NET 3.5 SP1 to be installed.

There is also a "server-only" install mode to install the MVC Framework. This is useful for hosted installations which install the MVC Framework on servers that do not have Visual Studio 2008 installed. There are also some deployment techniques that do not require the MVC assemblies in the GAC, making it easier to deploy an MVC application to a remote machine.

Phil Haack has a good post on the release. You can download the installer here. Be sure to uninstall any previous installations first. There is also a growing number of Codeplex.com contributions for ASP.NET MVC. In addition, they’ve managed to include JQuery 1.3.1 in this install.

The ASP.NET MVC framework defines a specific pattern to the Web Application folder structure and provides a controller base-class to handle and process requests for “actions”. Developers can take advantage of the specific Visual Studio 2008 MVC templates within this release to create their Web applications, which includes the ability to select a specific Unit Test structure to accompany their Web Application development.

The MVC framework is fully extensible at all points, allowing developers to create sophisticated structures that meet their needs, including Dependency Injection (DI) techniques, new view rendering engines or specialized controllers. You can freely use StructureMap, Castle.Validation, MOQ and much more.

As the ASP.NET MVC framework is built on ASP.NET 3.5, developers can take advantage of many existing ASP.NET 3.5 features, such as localization, authorization, Profile etc.

I’m currently working on a Mobile web extension to a client’s MVC web application so I’m gradually getting into the paradigm shift for ASP.NET MVC. There are a lot of things I like about it; and there are some things (like the “learning curve” for classic WebForms developers) that I’m not particularly enthused about. 

However, I’m getting a lot of positive  peer pressure from my Twitter MVP and developer friends, so it looks like I’ve officially gotten the ASP.NET MVC “throw him in the pool and say ‘swim’” directive.  The folks I follow are mostly pretty smart people, so if they tell me it’s good, I have a high degree of trust that they are right!

Full source code for ASP.NET MVC RC2 along with source for the Futures is available at Codeplex.com here. Don’t complain about lack of documentation because all the XML documentation comments are in the source and you’re welcome to do a build and compile your own help file in your desired format. If you don’t have the time or don’t know how, here is a standard CHM format help file I’ve created.

Item of Note

IttyUrl.net, my “social tagging and short urls” web site, has just passed the 1500 link mark for Silverlight links. More searchable Silverlight links than anywhere on earth!