One of the new features in
SharpDevelop 4.2 is better support for ASP.NET MVC 3
applications. Previous versions contained project templates for
ASP.NET MVC but not much more. With SharpDevelop 4.2 the following
features have been added:
- Razor project and file templates for C# and Visual Basic
- Razor syntax highlighting
- Add Controller dialog using T4 templates
- Add View dialog using T4 templates
- HTML folding
Now let us take at these new features.
Before using SharpDevelop you should install ASP.NET MVC 3 and
IIS, either IIS Express or full IIS. You can get MVC 3 and IIS
Microsoft's Web Platform installer or download them
directly from the following pages:
After installing IIS Express make sure that you run
IISExpress.exe once so it can generate its configuration files for
your user profile. If you do not then SharpDevelop will fail to
configure IIS Express.
Creating an ASP.NET MVC Application
Now we shall create a new C# ASP.NET MVC application that uses
the Razor view engine. First run SharpDevelop and then from the
File menu select New Solution to open the New Project
On the left in Categories select ASP.NET MVC under
C#. On the right you will see three project templates.
- Empty MVC Application - creates an MVC application with a
minimal set of files.
- MVC Application - creates an MVC application that uses the
Web Forms view engine (.aspx).
- Razor MVC Application - creates an MVC application that uses
the Razor view engine.
Select the Razor MVC Application project template. Enter a name
for the project and select a location where the project will be
created. Click Create to create the MVC project.
If you open the Projects window by selecting
Projects from the View menu you will see that the
project template created a Home Controller, two Razor view
pages - Index and Contact, as well as installing the
jQuery and Modernizer NuGet packages.
Syntax Highlighting and Folding
If you open the a Razor file (.cshtml) you will see that there
is html folding and Razor syntax highlighting.
The Razor syntax highlighting is still under development and
does not work in all cases since it is not using Microsoft's
Razor parser and uses a basic syntax definition file. In the
screenshot above, for example, the Razor @ symbol is not correctly
highlighted in the script and link tags.
Running an ASP.NET MVC Application
In order to be able to run your application first you will need
to configure the project to use IIS Express or IIS. From the
Project menu select Project Options. Select the
Debug tab. At the bottom of this tab you will see options
for IIS Express and IIS.
For this walkthrough we will use IIS Express. Select IIS Express
and enter a port number. Then click the Create
Applicaton/Virtual Directory button. A message will then be
displayed telling you that the application/virtual directory was
created successfully. Now we can run the application.
To run the application select Run from the Debug
menu. IIS Express will then be launched and your application will
be loaded into your default web browser.
You can set breakpoints in your application and debug your code
in the standard way. For example, set a breakpoint in the
HomeController's Contact method and then click Contacts in
your browser and you will see SharpDevelop stop at the
To stop debugging select Stop process from the
Debug menu. You will then see a prompt asking you to detach
or terminate the process being debugged, in this case IIS Express.
Detaching will leave IIS Express running.
SharpDevelop includes a set of file templates for ASP.NET MVC
applications. You can create a new file using these templates by
selecting the project or a folder in the Projects window,
right clicking and select Add New Item.
Select the appropriate template, give the file a name and click
Create to add a new file to your project.
Add Controller Dialog
You can add a new controller to your project using a file
template as described in the previous section or you can use the
Add Controller dialog.
Select the Controllers folder in the Projects
window, right click and select Add Controller to show the
Add Controller dialog.
In the dialog you specify the controller's name and select
one of the templates that will be used to generate the controller
class. These templates are defined by a single T4 template that you
can edit if you want to customise it. The T4 template exists in the
following subfolder where SharpDevelop was installed:
Click the Add button to create a new controller from the
Add View Dialog
A new view can be created by using a file template or by using
the Add View dialog. Select one of the Views folders,
right click and select Add New View to show the Add View
In the dialog you can specify the following items:
- View Name - specifies the name of the view
- View Engine - selects either web forms (ASPX) or Razor
view engine. The options displayed in the dialog will change
based on this selection.
- Strongly Typed - allows you to generate a view based
on a type in your project.
- Model - a list of types in your project. You may have
to compile your project for a class to be displayed in this drop
- Template - specifies which of the T4 templates will be
used when generating the view. Templates available are - Empty,
Create, Delete, Details, Edit, List.
- Use Layout (Razor) - specifies whether the view will
use a layout.
- Layout (Razor) - specifies the path to the layout
page. The browse button allows you to select a layout page from
those in your project.
- User Master Page (ASPX) - specifies whether the view
will use a master page.
- Master Page (ASPX) - specifies the path to the master
page. The browse button allows you to select a master page from
those in your project.
- Main Content ID (ASPX) - specifies the main content
- Partial View - used to generate a partial view.
Views generated from this dialog use T4 templates which exist in
the following folder if you need to customise them:
That concludes the walkthrough of the new ASP.NET MVC 3 support
in SharpDevelop. Further information on ASP.NET MVC 3 can be found
at the Getting Started with
ASP.NET MVC page.