A Few Notes About The MVC CodePlex Source Code Release

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Whew! I’ve held off writing about MVC until I could write a non-MVC post in response to some constructive criticism (It’s not just Sean, Jeff mentioned something to me as well). Now that I’ve posted that, perhaps I’ve bought myself a few MVC related posts in a row before the goodwill runs dry and I have to write something decidedly not MVC related again. ;)

As ScottGu recently posted, the ASP.NET MVC source code is now available via CodePlex. A move like this isn’t as simple as flipping a switch and *boom* it happens. No, it takes a lot of effort behind the scene. On the one hand is all the planning involved, and Bertrand Le Roy and my boss Simon played a big part in that.

Along with planning is the execution of the plan which requires coordination among different groups such as the Devs, PMs, QA and the legal team. For that, we have our newest PM Scott Galloway to thank for that effort. I helped a little bit with the planning and writing the extremely short readme (I didn’t know what to say) and roadmap. One part of this experience that went surprisingly well was the person from our legal department we worked with. I was expecting a battle but this guy just got it and really understood what we were trying to do and was easy to work with.

With that said, I’ve seen a lot of questions about this so I thought I would answer a few here.

Is this the live source repository?

No, the MVC dev team is not committing directly into the CodePlex source code repository for many reasons. One practical reason is that we are trying to reduce interruptions to our progress as much as possible. Changing source code repositories midstream is a big disruption. For now, we’ll periodically ship code to CodePlex when we feel we have something worth putting out there.

Where is the source for Routing?

As I mentioned before, routing is not actually a feature of MVC which is why it is not included. It will be part of the .NET Framework and thus its source will eventually be available much like the rest of the .NET Framework source. It’d be nice to include it in CodePlex, but as I like to say, baby steps.

Where are the unit tests?

Waitaminute! You mean they’re not there?! I better have a talk with Scott. I kid. I kid.  We plan to put the unit tests out there, but the current tests have some dependencies on internal tools which we don’t want to distribute. We’re hoping to rewrite these tests using something we feel comfortable distributing.

When’s the next update to CodePlex?

As I mentioned, we’ll update the source when we have something to show. Hopefully pretty often and soon. We’ll see how it goes.

As a team, we’re pretty excited about this. I wondered if the devs would feel a bit antsy about this level of transparency. Sure, anyone can see the source code for the larger .NET Framework, but that code has already shipped. This is all early work in progress. Can you imagine at your work place if your boss told you to publish all your work in progress for all the world to critique (if you’re a full time OSS developer, don’t answer that). ;) I’m not sure I’d want anyone to see some of my early code using .NET.

Fortunately, the devs on my team buy into the larger benefit of this transparency. It leads to a closer collaboration with our customers and creates a tighter feedback cycle. I am confident it will pay off in the end product. Of course they do have their limits when it comes to transparency. I tried suggesting we take it one step further and publish our credit card numbers in there, but that was a no go.

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