Visual Studio 2012 and MVC 4

By Tim Daniels
In my previous post, I laid out a set of objectives for pursuing the ASP.net Web API technology, for developing RESTful web servies. I quickly discovered that the Web API technology is actually a subset of the MVC 4 design pattern, which is available as a project template in Visual Studio 2012.

I decided to take a detour of my objectives and explore the MVC 4 design pattern in more detail. I must say, the detour has taken more time than I anticipated, but it has proven to be well worth the extra time. The MVC 4 template in Visual Studio 2012 automatically generates a fully functional website solution. The template contains all of the required components of the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern. The Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern separates the modeling of the domain, the presentation, and the actions based on user input into three separate classes:

  • Model. The model manages the behavior and data of the application domain, responds to requests for information about its state (usually from the view), and responds to instructions to change state (usually from the controller).
  • View. The view manages the display of information.
  • Controller. The controller interprets the mouse and keyboard inputs from the user, informing the model and/or the view to change as appropriate.

Here is the structural relationship between the three objects.

Model-View-Controller design pattern

The MVC 4 template in Visual Studio 2012 effectively addresses the architectural concerns covered in this blog throughout the development life cycle of the World Of Art Web App;

  • Separation of concerns between database access, user interface and business logic
  • Incorporates the Entity Framework in a code first process, where the developer can code plain old classes to define the domain in the model, and then generate the database through the entity framework
  • The controller object automatically adheres to best practices when handling http request and response actions

The MVC 4 template automates and streamlines much of the development life cycle, by not only generating code, but also providing a well structured scaffolding approach, which causes architectural and design concerns to fade to the background, allowing the developer to focusing more attention on satisfying the functional requirements of the application.

The ASP.Net Web site has an entire section devoted to the MVC 4 template. There is a complete set of tutorials to help you become familiar with all the components and features of MVC 4. I will continue following the MVC 4 tutorial all the way through deployment of sample movie application. After completing the tutorials, I plan to develop an MVC 4 version of the World of Art Web app, and report on how this template improves application design and development inefficiencies.

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