MVC guru == PhD wannabe?

This is a plea to anyone who blogs, writes or talks about ASP.Net MVC. This stuff is pretty simple, let’s not scare people away.

In the last four weeks of learning MVC I have:

  • Read the book ASP.Net MVC in Action (Work in Progress via MEAP)
  • Attended Microsoft’s Firestarter in NYC
  • Read a raft of blog posts
  • Used the Northwind and other code samples

All are guilty of requiring niche knowledge in some or all of:

  • Domain Drive Design
  • The Repository Pattern
  • JSON, REST etc
  • Automated Developer Testing
  • Mocking Frameworks
  • Active Record, NHibernate, LINQ to SQL – insert any other non mainstream data access technique here
  • Differences between MVC, MVP, Front Controller etc
  • Lamda expressions

Apparently every educator is trying to showcase their knowledge in a manner that is inaccessible to 95% of developers.  The presenters I saw at NYC are great guys, but almost all the faces in the audience soon were blank as decks became PhD thesis material. We soon dwindled down to ~50% attendance. I chatted with several ‘regular guys’ over lunch and they were pretty annoyed – what they need to see are simple samples.

Missing Samples: Hopefully the Manning book will improve before publication – the first chapter got me going with the framework, but the rest was almost useless to me. People who care about DDD, MVC details etc already know about them. What we need to see is samples of Grid controls, binding data to controls, how we get data back from a postback etc. At work we soon had screens working with jQuery and ext; perhaps because we do not worry about DDD, strict patterns etc?

Of course there is the argument that MVC is not targeted to all developers and only super-intelligent ones will understand MVC. Poppycock, RoR has been a huge success due to its simplicity – how many RoR developers know they are using Active Record? Not many I would gamble; most RoR people just want to build something quick and don’t have a CS background. MVC is not that hard, let’s present it clearly and simply guys.
Oh yes, and I do think the ASP.Net Framework is heading in the right direction. There again I love NUnit and wrote my own MVC framework for WebForms back in 2003 as I did not know how else to test my ASP.Net screens.

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