Farewell, ASP.NET Web Forms, We Hardly Knew Ye

ASP.NET Web Forms, the venerable web framework that Microsoft shipped with the .NET framework almost 15 years ago and we all hate love, is going away. Yes, it’s official: ASP.NET 5 will not include Web Forms, only MVC 6. ASP.NET 4.6, however, will still include Web Forms, including some updates, but the future appears to be all MVC (and OWIN, for that matter). Having spend a lot of my professional life working with Web Forms, I feel kind of sad. Yes, I do acknowledge event-hell, viewstate-hell, etc, but I find it easy to get around this once you know a thing or two. But what I really like about Web Forms is the reuse capacity that server-side controls offer: just add a reference to an assembly containing controls, register them in Web.config or in the page, and you’re done. A control encapsulates both client and server-side logic, so it is the perfect reusability mechanism for the web, in my opinion, and I wrote tens of posts on it. MVC now offers somewhat similar mechanisms, in the form of view components and tag helpers, but before that, there was really no reuse mechanism – partial views cannot be referenced from an assembly and helper methods cannot be extended. Don’t get me wrong: I like MVC, but I think that Web Forms was complementary. Taking in consideration the extensibility mechanisms offered by MVC, I can imagine that someone will even implement Web Forms on top of it! Winking smile

Apart from Web Forms, ASP.NET 5 seems promising! I published recently an article on it for the portuguese magazine Programar, which you can find here. I may translate it to english and add a thing or two in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

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Ricardo Peres

Technical Evangelist at Simplifydigital. Microsoft MVP.

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