MVC, a Developer’s Dream? An Interview with MVP, Michael Kinkaid – Part Two

MVC, a Developer’s Dream? An Interview with MVP, Michael Kinkaid – Part Two

Nov 13, 2018
MVC, a Developer’s Dream? An Interview with MVP, Michael Kinkaid – Part Two

The dangers of not being able to recruit and retain the great talent for your agency can have drastic effects on your company’s lifespan and profitability. To overcome this, it is essential to consider the latest trends in development as their impact extends well beyond just the coding team. In this final part of our short blog series, read about just that.

What should developers who are not using MVC be aware of before transitioning?

If you’re new to MVC, then your starting point should be to take some professional development and get yourself up to speed. MVC has been around for a long time, so there’s lots of great resources out there—especially online—such as video courses from Microsoft, Pluralsight, Udemy, and so on. If you have MVC developers in your company, then ask them what they used, better yet—ask them if you can pair program on some work.

When it comes to MVC and Kentico, then there are a few key resources that developers should be aware of. The first will be the Kentico documentation that I know you folks are rewriting to be MVC first. This will help to explain how to bring the MVC approach and Kentico’s API together. Next, there’s the developer training which is also being reworked to MVC. Even if you’ve had Kentico training before, MVC is a completely different approach than Portal Engine, so re-training with Kentico would be a good idea. Finally, from Kentico, there’s the community itself over on GitHub. You can go download an MVC version of the Dancing Goat sample site today, and walk yourself through the code to see how that site has handled such things as routing, multiple languages, and Kentico API calls.

If you’re a Kentico Portal Engine developer, then get ready for some exciting changes, such as separation of the admin and website projects, finally being able to test effectively, and having a much easier time following best practices with such things as dependency injection. I think there’s a lot of cool things developers are going to get when they transition to MVC.

Is coming late to MVC a danger for digital agencies, and why should they make the leap?

If you’re just using ASP.Net Web Forms in your agency, then it is going to be a risk. If you’re in that particular situation then there are a couple of compelling reasons to “make the leap” as you put it.

I think the first, which has certainly been discussed quite a lot at this stage, is support for ASP.Net Web Forms from Microsoft. Long story short—its days are numbered. It’s time to move on.

The second is your agency’s ability to attract and hire developers—especially relatively young ones. I say “relative” here because ASP.Net MVC has been around since 2007. There are senior .Net developers on the market today who have never even worked with Web Forms professionally. That should give you an idea of the challenge of trying to hire Web Forms developers. It’s increasingly more and more difficult in a world now dominated by JavaScript-centric stacks. It’s hard enough finding .Net developers, never mind those who have the skills and want to work with Web Forms. If you want to continue to attract talent entering the market, then you have to stay current.

What excites you about the Kentico EMS roadmap leading up to 2020?

I’m excited about the destination. The promise of a future where both our solutions and Kentico EMS are fully built on .Net Core. I appreciate just how much work it is going to be for Kentico, so it’s great to see how well considered the strategy is, and that you are keeping partners and customers fully informed on the roadmap.

You have created a manual on how your agency could start transitioning to MVC, etc. What best practices have you identified while compiling that manual?

Well, the overriding best practice I can suggest is to actually make a plan for the transition! Our adoption plan is intended to help the entire agency support our position of being MVC first with regards to our Kentico EMS solutions—once version 12 is released. The plan covers several key areas such as hiring, communication (both externally with clients and internally at the agency), training, and finally code reuse—which I feel there is more opportunity with MVC solutions. We have an MVC adoption team currently pushing through a lot of initiatives across these areas—including a starter project template and reusable components that will help roll out our best practices.

To share a best practice, I think one that relates to what all agencies are going through right now is how to communicate the move to MVC with clients. For me, I think the communication approach needs to take into consideration where the client is with Kentico EMS. If this is their first project, then MVC doesn’t have to be a large talking point outside of the usual information that would be provided to stakeholders on the technology front, for example—“your site will be responsive, accessible, built on Kentico MVC” et cetera, et cetera. With clients already on Kentico EMS—and specifically the Portal Engine version— then the given MVC adoption isn’t an upgrade, but rather a full rebuild, you need to evaluate the extent to which you communicate this based on that client’s specific roadmap. Yes, there is a general message that can be delivered to all clients with Kentico EMS Portal Engine solutions. However, if they’re considering a major update to their solution, then now is the time to speak in detail about moving to MVC. If they aren’t, then make sure they are informed while reassuring them that Portal Engine will continue to be supported. Between now and the right opportunity to re-platform, you can take steps when developing new initiatives on the Portal Engine site to make them easier to port over to an MVC site—such as building out clearly separated services and staying well away from having business logic anywhere near Web Forms code (something you should be doing anyway).

Thanks to Michael Kinkaid for focusing on some of the key considerations about shifting to MVC, as well as the pitfalls reticence might create.

Please share your views and opinions on the advantages MVC brings to developers and marketers alike in the comments section below. We would also like to invite you to our webinar on December 4, 2018, “Kentico 12 Has Landed – What MVC-first Brings to Your Business.”

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