A recap on MV? pattern

I have my ever growing pet project that I have been playing about with for the last year. Its main purpose is a learning tool where I can try a few things out etc. I have been dabbling with the following view technologies.

  • WPF
  • Silverlight
  • Winforms
  • MonoRail
  • ASP.NET MVC

A common saying I here a lot is ” One Architecture can not fit them all”, this is very true. I learnt a long time ago, that development is not about technology, its about principles and practices. I follow guidance from the OO and agile worlds. In these worlds, we have design patterns. The granddaddy pattern of them all is MVC. I have used MVC for years with varying technologies but mainly with winforms.

Although MVC as pattern is not technology driven, its fare to say that you would want to get the best out of the view technology that you are using. To do this, you have to use an MVC variation/implementation that suits that technology. For example, the best technology on the list above for data binding is WPF, so if you want to lever the data binding in WPF then implement either the MVVM / Presenter Model, Supervising controller patterns.

I started using WPF at first, and I admit, I got caught up in an implementation that brought the best out of WPF. I was quite pleased with myself. I used the MVVM pattern, used XAML throughout my views had no code behind (apart from implementing an interface so I could pull it from my IoC container).

Then along come silverlight 2.0 and I thought I would have a play. In was not nice, downsizing the data-binding, lack of commands etc. Bottom line, its  another technology, I had to implement another variation of MVC to get the best out of silverlight. This was of course was not desirable.

Although my project is purely for play time, I have no deadlines to meet, but I was getting frustrated with the little progress I have made over a number of weeks plus adding  up the learning time I was burning up with WPF and Silverlight. So I decided to help me bash some more code out and flush out my UI requirements I started to create my views in winforms. The tactic was to build a working prototype in winforms  and then revisit either silverlight or WPF at a later date and swap the views out.

Now by this time, I did not want to use the data binding in winforms (another story). So crack open another MVC implementation, this time I favoured Passive view (MVP). I wanted to keep my views as dumb as possible (which is good goal to have) and drive my views and presenter logic out using TDD. I found this to be the quickest pattern to code. In this pattern, the presenter tells the view what to do via an interface that the view implements. Although this means putting code in the code behind, I found that I was only using one line of code in each method and using simple property getters and setters.

On reflection of putting in winforms, I found that I was still getting the best from the technology and it felt cleaner. I am in good position now to plug in WPF again and keeping my presenters the same. But I have parked that idea for the time being while I build up some knowledge about ASP.NET MVC. I have been doing MonoRail development for the last 6 months so its not that strange to me.

Question: Do I want to develop new controllers and actions in ASP.NET MVC or reuse my existing presenters? Answer: its worth a go, and see if I integrated them to work with each other 😉

To conclude. The big thing that I have learned from this effort is to use the right patterns where needed and don’t be driven by technology, stick to patterns and concepts instead, because they last longer then any technology.

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One response to “A recap on MV? pattern

  1. Hiya
    i think your view point is correct , stick to patterns and practises this gives you a good footing. Remember though even patterns should be griven form requirements and test , do nothing unless a test dictates you should.
    bex’s

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