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Friday, June 12, 2009

Using WebForms Controls in ASP.NET MVC: The Unholy (and Cost-Effective!) Union

My buddy and fellow Infragisticsian, Craig Shoemaker, posted a blog post and a video on our Community site showing how you can use the current Infragistics Web controls in ASP.NET MVC.  Craig’s posts are invaluable because he shows you how you can leverage your current investment in the WebForms controls you’ve already purchased by using them in your ASP.NET MVC applications.

I worked with Craig on some parts of the sample he’s discussing (which is to say that I wrote about a dozen lines of code and then sat back while he did the rest…) and I can say that we’re not trying to play any tricks here – we’re not trying to sell you snake oil.  In fact, in his post, he admits almost immediately that mixing WebForms server controls and MVC is an “unholy union” – something I (and I’m sure most other MVC-ers) whole-heartedly agree with.

We all know that WebForms controls are not "MVC controls" (a concept which has yet to be clearly defined) and vice-versa.  However, that’s not to say that the product offerings available today can’t offer you a good of value if applied deliberately and judiciously.  That subjective phrase, “deliberately and judiciously”, is exactly what Craig does a great job of addressing with these posts by offering guidance on when, where, and how you might use these existing controls.  Hopefully, this guidance can help get you through until there are true “MVC controls” available for you to use.  After all, you may need to make some compromises and sacrifices along the way, but it still beats writing this stuff from scratch!

But hey - don’t let me jam my opinions down your throat.  What do you think?  Is this “unholy union” so unholy that it’s actually blasphemous?  Do you like this approach?  Are there any ways it could be better?  The only way the situation can improve is if we developers all constructively contribute to the larger discussion about what we want to see happen in this space… so let’s get it started!