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Hey .NET Developers! Its Christmas All Over Again!

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Hey .NET Developers! Its Christmas All Over Again!

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Today was a great day to be a .NET developer. I felt like a five year old on Christmas morning. I had that feeling you get when you just finished opening all your gifts and you are not sure what you want to play with first. Just in case you are living under a rock, here is a quick summary of what I found under the Christmas tree today.

MVC 3 – Its Finally Here

Today MVC3 with Razor was released. This means that we can finally avoid paying the angle bracket tax. The new razor syntax will make writing HTML a much more pleasant experience. Here are some of the highlights. For full details read the release notes:

  • Razor – Razor is a new concise syntax that is clean, fast and easy to use. The best part is that you can mix Razor and WebForm pages. This gives you the ability to gradually upgrade your existing MVC apps. Microsoft hit a homerun on this one. 
  • Improved View Scaffolding
  • Unobtrusive jQuery support for validation and AJAX calls
  • New HTML Helper methods
    • Chart – renders a chart within a view.
    • Crypto – Creates salted and hashed passwords
    • WebGrid – Renders a collection of objects as a grid. Supports paging and sorting. I have been waiting for this one for quite some time.
    • WebImage – Um….renders a web image
    • WebMail – Sends an email message.

MVC3 can be installed here.

The NuGet Package Manager

An integrated package manager that makes installing and configuring packages a breeze. Although NuGet ships with ASP.NET MVC it does support all the .NET project types.

If you read my blog, then you may remember my 10 step post on how to install ELMAH into an MVC application. Now, with the help of NuGet, you can run a single command and ELMAH is ready to go. Packages are already available for popular open source projects like Ninject, Moq, NHibernate, NUnit, and RhinoMocks. For a full list, visit the NuGet Gallery.

WebMatrix & IIS Express

WebMatrix is a lightweight IDE for developing  ASP.NET websites using the Razor syntax. WebMatrix contains the NuGet package manager and also runs IIS Express.

In case you didn’t know, IIS Express is a replacement for Cassini and has already found a happy home in my Visual Studio 2010 IDE. IIS Express is based on the IIS 7 so you get all the features of IIS7 from within your development environment.  This means you get SSL support, the ability to use the IIS 7.x URL Rewriter module, Media Extensions, Dynamic Compression, Advanced Logging, Custom Security and etcetera.


SQL Compact Edition is a small in-process database that is x-copy deployable. Its perfect for blogs, and other small sites that really do not require a full-fledged SQL Server. Not too mention the fact that a SQL Server license does not come cheap. SQL CE 4 also runs in medium trust which means that no elevated privileges are required. Since CE runs in medium trust and no install is required to use it, hosting companies such as GoDaddy will support it. Finally, a SQL CE  database can easily upgrade to SQL Express, SQL Azure or SQL Server.


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