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RC2 of ASP.NET MVC Released

Microsoft this week unexpectedly issued a second release candidate (RC) of its ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC), the company's a design pattern for test-driven development of enterprise-scale Web applications.

The release comes just over a month after Microsoft posted RC1, at the time describing it as feature-complete and likely to ship by March. But based on feedback from the RC1 beta, the company decided some key fixes were needed, according to Phil Haack, senior program manager on Microsoft's ASP.NET team, who is working on the ASP.NET MVC Framework.

"We realized it would be prudent to have one more public release candidate," Haack said in a blog posting Tuesday. Most of the changes are in the installer and few alterations were made to the runtime and tooling, he noted.

One of the changes is that the new installer will require developers to install the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. Microsoft is also recommending developers install Visual Studio 2008 SP1, though it is not required.

"The reason we made this change is that we were including the System.Web.Routing.dll and System.Web.Abstractions.dll assemblies with the MVC installer," Haack said. "However, it does not make sense for us to co-ship assemblies which are part of the Framework as this would negatively affect our ability to service these two assemblies."

RC2 also offers a new server-only install mode to the installer that does not have Visual Studio on production systems. "The installer will no longer block on a machine that does not have Visual Studio installed," Haack said. "Instead, it will continue the standard MVC installation without installing the Visual Studio templates. The assemblies will still be installed into the GAC and native images will also be generated."

Microsoft removed some other requirements, as well. For instance, if an installation has Visual Web Developer Express Edition 2008 without SP1, the installation will still proceed, though the developer will receive a warning, Haack said.

Also added was an upgrade to jQuery 1.3.1, noted Steve Michelotti, principal software engineer at Applied Information Sciences, who wrote a cover story on ASP.NET MVC in the January issue of Visual Studio Magazine.

"I was very happy to see that they also included the upgrade to jQuery 1.3.1." Michelotti said in an e-mail.

Though the need for an RC2 was a surprise to Michelotti, he welcomed the changes. "Better to do more RCs and get it right with the support of the developer community than to rush something out the door," he said. "They're proactively making these changes while still being sensitive to not make drastic API changes this late in the game as the product moves towards a mature RTM."

The source code can be downloaded on Microsoft's CodePlex site here.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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