Model-View-Controller Design Pattern Part 2

In Part 1 of the series I explained the concept of the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern.  This final part shows you how to create an ASP.NET MVC application in Visual Studio.

In this walkthrough, you will create and run the sample MVC application. Then you will customize the application by adding a controller and a view.


In order to complete this walkthrough, you will need:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1.
  • ASP.NET MVC 1.0.

You can download and install the ASP.NET MVC framework in the following ways:

  • Install the framework using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. You can download the installer from the installation page on the Microsoft Web gallery site.
  • Download the framework from the ASP.NET MVC 1.0 page on the Microsoft Download Center.

Creating a New MVC Project

  1. On the File menu, click New Project.
    The New Project dialog box is displayed.
  2. In the upper-right corner, make sure that .NET Framework 3.5 is selected.
  3. Under Project types, expand Visual Basic and then click Web.
  4. Under Visual Studio installed templates, select ASP.NET MVC Web Application.
  5. In the Name box, enter MvcBasicWalkthrough.
  6. In the Location box, enter a name for the project folder.
  7. If you want the name of the solution to differ from the project name, enter a name in the Solution Name box.
  8. Select Create directory for solution.
  9. Click OK.
    The Create Unit Test Project dialog box is displayed.
  10. Select No, do not create a unit test project.
  11. Click OK.
    The new MVC application project and a test project are generated.

Examining the MVC Project

The following illustration shows the folder structure of a newly created MVC solution. 

The folder structure of an MVC project differs from that of an ASP.NET Web site project. The MVC project contains the following folders:

  • Content, which is for content support files. This folder contains the cascading style sheet (.css file) for the application.

  • Controllers, which is for controller files. This folder contains the application’s sample controllers, which are named AccountController and HomeController. The AccountController class contains login logic for the application. The HomeController class contains logic that is called by default when the application starts.

  • Models, which is for data-model files such as LINQ-to-SQL .dbml files or data-entity files.

  • Scripts, which is for script files, such as those that support ASP.NET AJAX and jQuery.

  • Views, which is for view page files. This folder contains three subfolders: Account, Home, and Shared. The Account folder contains views that are used as UI for logging in and changing passwords. The Home folder contains an Index view (the default starting page for the application) and an About page view. The Shared folder contains the master-page view for the application.

The newly generated MVC project is a complete application that you can compile and run without change. The following illustration shows what the application looks like when it runs in a browser.mvc004The unit-test project is also ready to compile and run. For this walkthrough, you will add a controller with an action method and a view.

Adding a Controller

You will now add a controller that contains logic for downloading city maps from the Microsoft Virtual Earth Web service.

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the Controllers folder, click Add, and then click Controller.
    The Add Controller dialog box is displayed.mvc005
  2. In the Name box, type MapsController.
    The ASP.NET MVC framework requires controller names to end with "Controller", such as HomeController, GameController, or MapsController.
  3. Clear the Add action methods for Create, Update, and Details scenarios check box.
  4. Click Add.
    Visual Studio adds the MapsController class to the project and opens it in the editor.

Adding Code to the Action Method

You will now add code to the MapsController class for the ViewMaps action method in order to render the Maps view.

  1. Open the MapsController class and replace the ViewMaps action-method stub with the following code in order to render the Maps view.
    Function ViewMaps() As ActionResult
        Return View()
    End Function
  2. Save and close the file.

Adding a View

Next, you will add a Maps view. To keep the views organized, you will first add a Maps folder under the Views folder.

  1. Open the MapsController class, right-click inside the ViewMaps action method, and then click Add View.

    The Add View dialog box is displayed.


  2. In the View name box, enter ViewMaps.aspx.
  3. Clear the Create a partial view (.ascx) check box and the Create a strongly-typed view check box.
  4. Select the Select master page check box and set the master page to ~/Views/Shared/Site.Master.
  5. Set ContentPlaceHolder ID to "MainContent".
  6. Click Add.

    The new view is added to the project in the Maps folder

Adding Content to the View

Next, you will add content to the new view.

  1. Open ViewMaps.aspx and add the following content inside the Content element:
    <h2>My City Maps</h2>
    Select map:
    <select onclick="GetMap(value);">
        <option value="Seattle">Seattle, WA</option>
        <option value="LasVegas">Las Vegas, NV</option>
        <option value="SaltLake">Salt Lake City, UT</option>
        <option value="Dallas">Dallas, TX</option>
        <option value="Chicago">Chicago, IL</option>
        <option value="NewYork">New York, NY</option>
        <option value="Rio">Rio de Janeiro, Brazil</option>
        <option value="Paris">Paris, France</option>
        <option value="Naples">Naples, Italy</option>
        <option value="Keta">Keta, Ghana</option>
        <option value="Beijing">Beijing, China</option>
        <option value="Sydney">Sydney, Australia</option>
    <br />
    <br />
    <div id='earthMap' style="position:relative; width:400px; height:400px;">
    <script charset="UTF-8" type="text/javascript"
    <script type="text/javascript">
        var map = null;
        var mapID = '';
        function GetMap(mapID)
            switch (mapID)
                case 'Seattle':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(47.6, -122.33), 10 ,'i', true);
                case 'LasVegas':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(36.17, -115.14), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'SaltLake':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(40.75, -111.89), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Dallas':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(32.78, -96.8), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Chicago':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(41.88, -87.62), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'NewYork':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(40.7, -74), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Rio':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(-22.91, -43.18), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Paris':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(48.87, 2.33), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Naples':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(40.83, 14.25), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Keta':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(5.92, 0.983), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Beijing':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(39.91, 116.39), 10 ,'i' ,true);
                case 'Sydney':
                    map = new VEMap('earthMap');
                    map.LoadMap(new VELatLong(-33.86, 151.21), 10 ,'i' ,true);

    This markup defines a drop-down list for selecting a map and the JavaScript logic for retrieving the selected map from the Microsoft Virtual Earth Web service.

  2. Save and close the file.

Adding a Tab to the Master-Page Menu

You will now add an item to the master-page menu that calls the ViewMaps action method.

  1. In the Shared folder, open the Site.master file and locate the unordered list (ul element) in the div element whose ID is "menucontainer".
  2. Add the following code to the list between the Index and About Us tabs:
    <li><%= Html.ActionLink("My City Maps", "ViewMaps", "Maps")%></li>

    The ActionLink method is a helper method that links to an action method. It takes the following parameters: the text for the link, the name of the action method, and the name of the controller.

  3. Save and close the file.

Testing the MVC Application

You can now test the application.

  1. In Solution Explorer, select the walkthrough project and press CTRL+F5 to run the application.

    The Index.aspx page is displayed, which includes the tabs that are defined in the master page.

  2. Click the My City Maps tab.

    The My City Maps page is displayed. Select any map to see it displayed.


Next Steps

This walkthrough gives you a first look at creating an MVC application and working with unit tests in ASP.NET MVC. From here, you might want to learn more about the ASP.NET MVC framework. The following list suggests topics for additional learning.

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