ASP.NET Web Forms, MVC, WebMatrix … what’s the story?

The reality of choices ASP.NET developers have today can be daunting:

  • ASP.NET Web Forms
    • Web Forms view engine vs. Razor view engine
  • WebMatrix / Web Pages (.cshtml / razor)

With all the noise around ASP.NET MVC and WebMatrix lately, there’s been an unfortunate side effect that creates a perception that Web Forms is passé and not getting investment from the ASP.NET team.  I’m still very surprised when I talk to ASP.NET Web Forms developers who don’t know about what’s new in ASP.NET 4.0 for them.  I think it has to do with some of the overshadowing / attention from other two, newer, choices.  The podcast below is really worth listening to if you are still scratching your head about Web Forms as it relates to these newer options.

“Damain is a Program Manager Microsoft’s ASP.NET team and is responsible for WebForms and the WebForms Developer Experience

In this episode I talk with Damain about the future of WebForms and its evolution, the influence of DynamicData on WebForms, code generation for ASP.NET WebForms and more.”

In addition to talking about futures, they also spend some time in the beginning talking about ASP.NET 4.0 Web Forms  and some other interesting topics.  They really do a good job of addressing some of the FUD around Web Forms as well as the pros/cons of our various ASP.NET based choices.  Here are a couple of my favorite quotes in the beginning:

We are focusing on making more developers happy.  Not every developer wants the same thing out of a web development programming framework (paraphrase)

Each of the frameworks has its strengths and weaknesses.  Each has its own independent model for approach how to go about doing web development.  Some people like one model over the other. (paraphrase)

Yes, there are some cooler / newer things to Web Forms, but there are also some real advantages to working in a technology that has the benefit of a decade of evolution. (paraphrase)

There are all sorts of good, rational comments about Web Forms vs. MVC vs. WebMatrix.  Whether we like the choices or not, there are real reasons for having them.  Even if you disagree with some of the comments, I think they are worth listening to and reflecting upon.  It’s an hour long podcast, but worth listening to in the background as you are working on something else.  The podcast really does put Web Forms into perspective, reminds people that the majority of ASP.NET developers are still Web Forms developers, and then helps us understand what’s coming in the future.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am a HUGE ASP.NET MVC fan, but that doesn’t mean that it is always the right choice.

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