For the past two years I don’t think anyone can argue that Microsoft’s been pushing the envelope with the .NET Framework, particularly in the areas of web development. Most recently, they’ve been touting the new ASP.NET Web API as part of MVC4. The Web API is yet another framework working through Model-View-Controller (MVC) applications for interchange of HTTP services across multiple browser and mobile clients. In the last few years Microsoft has been chipping away at the development community at large to get developers to embrace MVC and now the ASP.NET Web API. But it’s important to understand MVC is not a new concept and neither is it the creation of Microsoft. In fact, a quick search and you’ll discover that MVC was actually a software design pattern created by Trygve Reenskaug for Smalltalk way back in 1978!
Is ASP.NET Web API Worth Learning?
So is this kind of push too much? Can they go so far and release too many new tools, too soon, so as to actually turn off developers? I guess that depends on your project, your experience and what type of problem you’re trying to solve. No matter what your level of experience with web development utilizing Microsoft technologies, if your gut’s telling you to be a bit skeptical you should probably listen. I’ve been a professional web developer of ASP.NET applications since 2005. I’ve worked with form-based (*.aspx, *.ascx) development for years because that’s all Microsoft provided. I’ve dabbled with MVC, watched videos and read books, but at the end I’ve felt much like I’m kicking the proverbial can up the road. First, there are two different “view engines” you can utilize: C# or Razor. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, we now have the ASP.NET Web API coming in. However, I commend Microsoft in that they have provided a good number of articles and videos on the ASP.NET Web API site.
This Isn’t the First Time
Things like this have come before at Microsoft. Remember the rather anti-climactic release of Silverlight? And not too many people seemed to clambor to utilize LINQ when it first entered the standard of C# 3.0, or to embrace Entity Framework in 3.5 .NET Framework. The list goes on. But like MVC, this profusion of new technologies that shift the development paradigm isn’t unique to Microsoft (think Oracle with Java and MySQL) so I don’t want it to seem as if I’m picking on them; quite the contrary, I take great pride in being an ASP.NET developer. My advice is to approach the ASP.NET Web API with slow, purposeful steps—particularly if you’ve never done any development with ASP.NET MVC implementations. You can obtain the Release to Community version at http://www.asp.net/vnext/overview/downloads. The install requires version 4.0 of the Web Platform Installer but my experience was it was a snap in two simple steps as demonstrated below: