ASP.NET to Follow Ruby on Rails Lead

Microsoft is adding MVC support to the Web development platform.

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Microsoft is implementing the model-view-controller architecture in its ASP.NET Web application development system.

The software giant released an initial version of ASP.NET with MVC (model-view-controller) support in December and is working on delivering a more mature CTP (Community Technology Preview) release of the technology at its upcoming MIX 08 conference in March in Las Vegas.

MVC is an architectural pattern used primarily in the Java world, and perhaps used most famously in the Ruby on Rails framework. MVC decouples data access and business logic from data presentation and user interaction, by introducing a "controller" as an intermediate component.

"One of the things we're thinking about is how Web developers out there seem to be doing more modeling or model-driven development," said Brad Abrams, program manager on the Microsoft .NET Framework team.

Abrams said Microsoft's foray into the MVC world came out of a prototype that Scott Guthrie, general manager in the Microsoft Developer Division, created while on a long plane ride.

"We said, how could we bring that kind of model-driven development to ASP.NET and so we did our first release in December?" Abrams said. The technology is known as ASP.NET MVC.

Yet, although MVC has been around as a development pattern for years, Microsoft plans to deliver a "greatly simplified" version of the pattern for ASP.NET users, he said.

Abrams said that in Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft introduces some new project templates, including a new MVC project and an MVC test project. Meanwhile, Microsoft hired Phil Haack, formerly a prominent developer in open-source .Net-based projects, to be senior product manager for ASP.NET.

"Phil is holding us accountable and making sure everything is easy to test," Abrams said. Haack said he comes from the TDD (test-driven development) school of programming.

"I was on a lot of open-source projects in the .Net space and we brought in a lot of the TDD mentality," Haack said, adding he was visiting Microsoft when Guthrie showed Haack what he was working on. Guthrie then invited him to join Microsoft in its efforts.