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Mehul Harry is the DevExpress Web Program Manager. Follow him on twitter: @Mehulharry

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October 2012 - Posts

  • DevExpress MVC Extensions support ASP.NET MVC 4

    DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions have supported ASP.NET MVC 4 since we released DXperience v2012.1 in June 2012. Here's short background:

    - v2011.2:  Initial support for MVC 4
    - v2011.2 minor updates:  we polished this functionality
    - v2012.1: provides true MVC 4 support

    New MVC 4 Projects

    To make it easier for you to use DevExpress MVC extensions with ASP.NET MVC 4, you can use the following two methods:

    1. Create a new MVC 4 project using Microsoft file templates then add and enable DevExpress MVC extensions to this project.

    2. Or you can use the DevExpress File Templates (for mobile tablets too):

    DevExpress ASP.NET MVC File Template

    When you select the "DXperience ASP.NET MVC Web Application" template, it will bring up this wizard which allows to choose your MVC version:

    DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Project Wizard

     

    Read the "MVC Web Application Template" help topic which describes the MVC file template, wizard, and project structure.

     

    Converting MVC 3 to MVC 4

    If you have an existing ASP.NET MVC 3 project that uses DevExpress MVC extensions and would like to upgrade it to use ASP.NET MVC 4 then please take a look at the following links:

    - Microsoft Whitepaper: http://www.asp.net/whitepapers/mvc4-release-notes#_Toc303253806
    - DevExpress knowledgebase article: http://www.devexpress.com/Support/Center/Question/Details/KA18612

     

    If you face any issues in upgrading, then please contact the excellent DevExpress support team and they can help you. Thanks!

     

    Build Your Best - Without Limits or Compromise

    Try the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions online now: http://mvc.devexpress.com

    Read the latest news about DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions: http://dxpr.es/ov1tQa

    Download a free and fully-functional version of DXperience now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

  • A Powerful ASP.NET MVC Web Application - DevExpress Clinical Study Demo

    The new DevExpress "Clinical Trial" demo app is simply loaded with functionality. And it's beautiful too, take a look at this screenshot:

    DevExpress 'Clinical Trial' Demo - ASP.NET MVC

     

    What is it?

    The new DevExpress Clinical Study Demo is a role-based web application that is designed to manage clinical trials. It demonstrates how the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC extensions can be used efficiently to build easy-to-use solutions.

     

    Why I love this demo

    The DevExpress Clinical Study Demo provides some great features and benefits and here's a few reasons why I love it:

    - Great user interface (UI)
    - Simple design
    - Beautiful custom theme
    - Powerful architecture
    - Well thought out in its functionality
    - Incorporates business logic into design

     

    Watch the Video

    I recommend watching the "How to Create a Powerful ASP.NET MVC Web Application" webinar video:

    Mehul Harry presents the 'DevExpress Clinical Study Demo'

    The video covers the demo's architecture, MVC extensions, theme, and much more.

     

    Try online demo

    Test drive the online demo here and then come back to read more about how this website was built:

    http://demos.devexpress.com/RWA/ClinicalStudy/

     

    Understanding Clinical Trials

    We chose to do a demo on Clinical Trials because a couple of our developers had worked on a massive clinical trial website before and felt that it would be good example to show how to create a powerful and complex website with DevExpress MVC extensions. And they were right!

    But what is a 'Clinical Trial'? Wikipedia has a great article on the history and definition of 'Clinical trials' and I recommend reading it.

    Clinical trials are sets of tests in medical research and drug development that generate safety and efficacy data (or more specifically, information about adverse drug reactions and adverse effects of other treatments) for health interventions (e.g., drugs, diagnostics, devices, therapy protocols). - Wikipedia

    Most 'Clinical trials' usually take a long time to conduct, with many variables and inputs determining the overall outcome. So, in our demo we decided to include a small set of functionality of a typical 'Clinical Trial' program. The basis of our demo revolves around two main roles:

    1. Doctors (who collect and input the data for a clinical trial)
    2. Supervisors (who view data to manage the clinical trial)

    And you'll see these roles on the very first screen because you'll choose to login as one or the other. These roles also allowed us to design the website so that the doctors, would do all the data editing and the supervisors would do the analysis. This is a great way to show the different capabilities of the DevExpress MVC extensions.

     

    Custom Theme

    A new custom theme was developed just for this demo. We call it "Clinical Study Theme" and it has a beautiful style to it. The colors are soft and the overall look is professional, clean, and light.

    We created the “Clinical Study Theme” to show that DevExpress MVC extensions can be successfully tuned to fit any custom design. We also used DevExpress Theme Builder tool to customize it.

    However, this theme was designed only for the Clinical Study demo and therefore, it is not a full DevExpress theme that supports all DevExpress ASP.NET products.

    In a separate blog post, I'll outline what controls this theme supports and how to use it with other web projects that use DevExpress ASP.NET.

     

    Architecture

    Here's how we built this demo.

     

    MVC Areas:

    Because this demo is divided by two major roles, we use the ASP.NET MVC features called 'Areas' to make it easier to organize the project. Therefore, you'll find that there are two main Areas that functionally divide and separate the two major roles of this demo. This helps keep the application design clean and easier to manage as it grows in complexity.

    Learn more about ASP.NET MVC Areas here.

     

    Dependencies:

    - ASP.NET MVC 3 - When this demo was created, ASP.NET MVC 4 was not released but it is possible to upgrade and use ASP.NET MVC 4
    - SQL Express - SQL Server Express is a free edition of SQL Server ideal for developing and powering desktop, web and small server applications
    - Entity Framework - Microsoft's object-relational mapper (O/RM)
    - Castle Windsor (Castle Project) - An Inversion of Control container for .NET
    - Moq - A simple mocking library for .NET
    - NUnit - An unit testing framework that is open source written in C#
    - Modernizr - an open-source JavaScript library that helps you build the next generation of HTML5 and CSS3-powered websites

    Don't worry if you haven't downloaded many of those libraries because Nuget in Visual Studio 2012 can download them for you. You'll still need to install ASP.NET MVC and SQL Express yourself though.

    CS_Dependices

     

    Project Structure:

    The Visual Studio solution for the Clinical Study demo consists several projects that represent the different layers of a typical and well architected complex web project:

    HelpResource.ashx

    Here what each project is meant for:

    DevExpress Help Documentation: Clinical Study Specifics

    DevExpress Help Documentation: Clinica Study Specifics

     

    Data Access: Entity Framework

    The developers decided to use the Repository pattern because of it's simplicity. And they also chose Entity Framework from Microsoft because of it's features and popularity. They decided to use a Code First approach with Entity Framework to show that you can take nearly any approach with DevExpress MVC extensions.

     

    Dependency Injection / Inversion of Control (IoC)

    We decided to use a Inversion of control container and a mocking framework because it provides:

    1. Good Unit Testing coverage - We wanted the ability to test without touching the database
    2. Better design - Because of the separation of concerns, we're able to keep most of the classes smaller. And it also follow the SOLID principles
    3. Two sets of repositories - Because this demo runs locally and online, we needed two different repositories. The online version does not allow persistent editing so we created an "In Memory" version that allows changes only during the ASP.NET session. Then each new user gets to experience the demo with the default data.
    The local version of the demo uses SQL Express because it can allow for persistent editing.

    Why did we choose to use Castle Windsor? Simply to show you that you can use just about any 3rd party IoC Container with DevExpress MVC extensions.

     

    NUnit

    One of the most popular unit testing frameworks, NUnit was an easy choice because our developers had some experience with it. However, you can use just about any testing framework with DevExpress MVC extensions.

     

    Overview

    With the DevExpress Clinical Study Demo, our goal was to show that DevExpress MVC Extensions fit well with the MVC approach and that real world applications can be made easily with DevExpress MVC extensions.

    The demo shows that DevExpress MVC extensions can be used with Test-Driven Development (TDD) approach and are not a roadblock in any way.

    The roles in the demo show you:

    - Supervisor Role: Analytics dashboard (with Pivots, Reports, Charts)
    - Doctor Role: Data entry (GridView, Editors, HTML Editor, etc.)

    The custom theme shows the DevExpress MVC extensions themes and styling capabilities.

    The architecture shows you that DevExpress MVC extensions are compatible with any of the major patterns and frameworks available today. And they also show you how use them in your own projects.

    The data access shows you how to work with Entity Framework using Code First and the repository pattern.

    Overall, this demo packs a lot. It's powerful, well architected, created using TDD approaches, beautiful, and provides a great user experience too.

     

    Build Your Best - Without Limits or Compromise

    Try the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions online now: http://mvc.devexpress.com

    Read the latest news about DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions: http://dxpr.es/ov1tQa

    Download a free and fully-functional version of DXperience now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

  • Register now for: 'How to Create a Powerful ASP.NET MVC Web Application' webinar

    Join me this Thursday, October 4th, at 10am PST for the '' webinar. You'll learn about how we built the new "Clinical Trial" demo app using ASP.NET MVC and DevExpress MVC extensions:

    Register Now:

    Register for this GotoMeeting webinar here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/591947726

    Level: Beginner (100)

    Platform: ASP.NET Controls

    Description

    The new DevExpress "Clinical Trial" demo app is simply loaded with functionality. In this webinar, DevExpress ASP.NET Product Manager, Mehul Harry will show you how it was built using the ASP.NET MVC framework and DevExpress MVC extensions. You will learn about the specific DevExpress MVC extensions used to build the user interface and how they fit into the MVC framework. We’ll also dive deep into test-driven development and web architecture.

    Don't miss this opportunity to learn how a powerful and rich ASP.NET MVC website can be created by using DevExpress MVC.  MVC beginners are encouraged to attend!

    Clinical Trial Demo

    DevExpress MVC Clinical Trial Demo

    Test drive the demo online now to see a powerful application that leverages many of the DevExpress MVC extensions.

    DevExpress MVC Clinical Trial Demo

     

    Register and then join the webinar. Hope to see you there, thanks!

     

    Build Your Best - Without Limits or Compromise

    Try the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions online now: http://mvc.devexpress.com

    Read the latest news about DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions: http://dxpr.es/ov1tQa

    Download a free and fully-functional version of DXperience now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

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