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TechnologyJan 19, 2012

ASP.NET MVC vs. Web Forms – Part 2: The Advantages of Web Forms

Credera Team

This is part 2 of a 3-part series comparing ASP.NET MVC and Web Forms as a paradigm for ASP.NET websites. If you missed the first part of the series, you can find it here. The purpose of this series is not to choose one technology over the other, but rather to point out each of their strong points and equip the reader with enough information to make the appropriate decision when selecting which tool to use for their next web application project.

Recent experience shows that enterprises are interested in MVC, but still leaning towards Web Forms. Familiarity is the most likely reason for the slow transition to MVC. The stateful mechanisms utilized in Web Forms present a programming model that is more consistent with desktop and non-user-interface based application development, providing more familiarity for windows application developers and developers from other paradigms and platforms. The bottom line is that Web Forms provide a smaller learning curve for developers from diverse backgrounds. While this isn’t necessarily a great reason for using Web Forms, it is a clear advantage when starting a project.

Web forms are also great for rapid application development. This can be good for prototypes or smaller applications. Testable, maintainable solutions can be implemented with proper technical leadership when working on larger applications, while MVC provides for these mechanisms by enforcing a separation of concerns. Keep in mind that some of the larger enterprise eCommerce and employee portal solutions are built on web forms.

The architecture and environment provided by Web Forms also enables developers with less Javascript, HTML and CSS background to develop applications more quickly. Server side access for manipulating HTML markup and drag and drop functionality of controls for creating page layouts can also lend itself to faster user interface development as server controls will generate all necessary HTML/CSS markup. And don’t forget that major off the shelf solutions use web forms, including Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Commerce Server. Even while custom development projects transition to MVC, certain solutions will always require expertise in web forms.

Here at Credera, our staff has extensive experience in both Web Forms and MVC development. We have also implemented solutions in may off the shelf technologies. If you have questions about which technology makes the most sense for you project or have other questions about Microsoft Development, please contact us for more information.

Look for a side by side breakdown of MVC and Web Form technologies in our next installment of this blog series.