Hartmut's BoxHartmut Wilms’s Weblog

« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »


Improved URL Mapping for Castle MonoRail

Hammett announced a new MonoRail Routing Engine on his blog. The Routing Engine is responsible for mapping URL patterns to Controller actions, which has been a weakness of MonoRail so far. As Hammett stated on his blog, the need for an improvement has mainly been triggered by the announcement (and features) of the ASP.NET MVC Framework.

The basic idea is to map (friendly) URLs to the actions of your controllers:

Suppose you want to offer listing of say, cars. You want that the urls show the data that is being queries on the resource identifier, not through the query string (have you read about REST?).

Something like: -> can list all or show a search page, up to you -> shows a nationwide list of new cars -> shows a nationwide list of second hand cars -> new ford cars -> new toyota cars

In order to allow for friendly URLs you’ll have to remove all script mappings from your web site and route all requests to the ASP.NET ISAPI extension. Many people don’t like the idea, stating that “no one would do or want to do such a  thing”. What’s the problem with this approach? I’ve been developing web applications for several years (as part of enterprise applications) and I’ve never experienced the need to serve static content. What’s the use of databases then? However, if you want to serve static content as well, you might follow David Moore’s suggestion to “have the web site and a separate web site to handle static content (images/css/js)”.

The Routing Engine is configured in the Application Start event:

    PatternRule.Build(“bycondition”, “listings/<cond:new|old>”, typeof(SearchController), “View”));

This piece of code tells the engine to route URL-requests such as “/listings/new” or “listings/old” to the SearchController’s View action/method, which expects a parameter called “cond”. The parameter values might be “new” or “old”. The StandardUrlRules utility class allows to easily define generic patterns for all actions/methods of a controller.

The code is available from the MonoRail SVN repository.

Posted by Hartmut Wilms at 20:45 | Comments (2)


ASP.NET MVC Framework

[Update]: Scott Hanselman has posted the videos of the ASP.NET MVC Framework talks.

Scott Guthrie announces ASP.NET MVC Framework at ALT.NET conference. There have been rumors about an MVC Framework for ASP.NET in March 2007, already.   Jeffrey Palermo  wrote about a special meeting with Scott Guthrie on the MVP Summit. Now Scott officially announces the framework and claims that we might expect a first CTP within the next two months and a V1 in Spring 2008. Jeffrey has the details.

He names some of the goals:

Nima Dilmaghani provides further details on Scott’s talk and the integration points for existing ASP.NET technology and other frameworks such as Castle’s MonoRail and Windsor. Even Roy Osherove praises the new MVP Framework for ASP.NET:

My take away - finally they get it. I wish there were more guthries out there in the b0rg.

Regarding the impact on MonoRail Jeffrey says:

MonoRail is MVC.  This is MVC, so yes, it’s very similar but different.  This gives us a controller that executes before a view ever comes into play, and it simplifies ASPX as a view engine by getting rid of viewstate and server-side postbacks with the event lifecycle.  That’s about it.  MonoRail is much more.  MonoRail has tight integration with Windsor, ActiveRecord and several view engines.  MonoRail is more than just the MVC part.  I wouldn’t be surprised if MonoRail were refactored to take advantage of the ASP.NET MVC HttpHandler just as a means to reduce the codebase a bit.  I think it would be a very easy move, and it would probably encourage MonoRail adoption (even beyond its current popularity).

The Castle PMC has a similar take on the issue:

We also believe that MonoRail has been providing the same thing for the past two and half years, and will continue to do so. We’re grateful that MS has chosen to offer integration points for Monorail and the Castle stack and as soon as it’s available we will be working to integrate it with the rest of our projects.

Is MS’ MVC better? Worse? Only once we have used both will we be able to tell.

I would like to agree with Jeffrey that this might encourage MonoRail adoption. At least both frameworks would share some common concepts and the programming models won’t differ that much anymore. But common sense tells me that MSFT might try to do business as usual, i.e. make a (bad) copy of a good concept and get rid of the competing framework/tool along the way. I’ll have to put my faith in Scott ;-) (who’s proven to deserve as much several times).

Posted by Hartmut Wilms at 21:27


Microsoft Releases Source Code for the .NET Framework

Scott Guthrie announces today that Microsoft will offer “the ability for .NET developers to download and browse the source code of the .NET Framework libraries, and to easily enable debugging support in them” later this year.

According to Daniel Moth

The cool bit is not that you can just read the framework code in your favourite text editor once you download and accept the license; no, the real goodness is that when you debug your applications with Visual Studio 2008 you will have the option to debug right down into the Framework code (with an autodownload feature from an MSDN server)!

Scott Hanselman has a Podcast on the topic and Channel9 will be publishing a video at the end of the week.

Posted by Hartmut Wilms at 21:42