MVC, Webforms & being pragmatic

It was interesting to see the announcement from dotnetnuke that they would not be migrating to MVC.

I’m familiar with dotnetnuke from a few years back when I was running The Website Shop and looking for a .net alternative to Joomla. It was awesome then and it still seems to be a strong option for those seeking an open source Cms platform.

The subsequent heated debate on Twitter and the blogosphere was amusing, as all such discussions are. I love the passion amongst the developer community.

Scott Guthrie provided some interesting insights, but what rang in my ears at the end of the article was the following:

“Syntax and APIs are rarely the most important thing anyway when it comes to development – problem solving, customer empathy/engagement, and the ability to stay focused and disciplined on a project are much more valuable.”

This is interesting, I’ve always felt that besides technical nous being pragmatic and resourceful are essential skills for a developer to have. Most of us work for businesses where we have to be sensitive and diplomatic to the needs of the business and such skills can really help with this.

As much as we strive to craft beautiful code and at times often sit in a near sublime trance, as our code becomes art and takes on a life and beauty of it’s own, the day to day practicalities are that we often have to leave technical debt or implement things in ways that we might not be completely comfortable with because of pressure from the business to get things done as quickly as possible.

We are in the process of creating a new “Experts” Q&A section for in MVC and we are already seeing enormous gains even whilst in development, as we refactor some of the common functionality to MVC. We’re quite sure that eventually we will build out the whole public facing site in MVC.

However, we also have a bespoke Cms that services the front end and is used internally by the editors and business administrators. The Cms has a whole bunch of ASP.NET web form controls and uses ASP.NET Ajax and the Ajax Control Toolkit. Since SEO and performance is not a priority on the backend, like the dotnetnuke team we’ve also decided to stick with web forms on the Cms, not because we believe one technology is better than the other but simply that at this point in time in the life of ASP.NET MVC is the better technology for the front end and ASP.NET web forms is more suited to the back end.

This is the best of both worlds for us, we get to improve our skill sets by using MVC whilst maintaining our existing ASP.NET Web Forms knowledge.

So ultimately being pragmatic about your choice of technology allows you to add value at many levels, and satisfy the priorities of others as well as yourselves.


1 comment so far

  1. […] to VoteMVC, Webforms & being pragmatic (1/27/2010)Wednesday, January 27, 2010 from notjustanotherdeveloperIt was interesting to see the announcement […]

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