MIX11 – A tribute to Microsoft’s Web Stack of Love!

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A few weeks ago I attended MIX11 in Las Vegas. MIX is an annual event where Microsoft showcase their new web technologies. This year it was all about new versions of existing products, such as Windows Phone 7, Entity Framework, Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, IIS, etc… Below is a summary of what was shared on both keynotes:

  • Mango: code name for coming version of Windows Phone 7 (WP7).
  • ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools update
  • Entity Framework 4.1
  • Silverlight 5 Beta
  • NuGet
  • IIS Express
  • SQL Compact Edition 4
  • Internet Explorer 10 Preview
There were many sessions available, some of them really good and some others were not. One thing that I did appreciate was the endless supply of coffee, water and other drinks. Snacks were available as well between breakfast and lunch which were also provided by Microsoft.
All sessions are now available online as well as both keynotes, check them out!
As a software developer, the most interesting for me was the ASP.NET MVC 3 tools update, EF 4.1.
ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools Update
It includes many interesting updates but it doesn’t change the System.Web.Mvc.dll or any of its other assemblies that ship as part of the ASP.NET MVC 3 Framework. Below is a list of the updates included in this Tools Update:
  • New Intranet Project Template, which enables Windows Authentication and it does not include AccountController.
  • A new checkbox to enable HTML 5 versions of project templates.

New Add Controller dialog now supports full automatic scaffolding for Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) controller actions and corresponding views. It scaffolds data access using EF Code First by default.

  • Add Controller dialog also supports extensible scaffolds using NuGet packages such as MvcScaffolding. This allows you to add custom scaffolds into the dialog which will then allow you to create scaffolds for other data access technologies such as NHibernate, etc…
  • Ability to update JavaScript libraries within a project template via NuGet. JavaScript libraries are included as pre-installed NuGet packages.
  • Includes Modernizr 1.7 which provides compatibility support for HTML 5 and CSS 3 in older browsers.
  • Includes EF Code First 4.1 as a pre-installed NuGet package.
Other updates and bug fixes include the following:
  • Cleaner AccountController in the Internet project template.
  • Addition of “sticky” options that remember their settings even if Visual Studio is restarted.
  • Better filtering of model types in the Add View and Add Controller dialogs.
Click here to learn more about NuGet.

Entity Framework 4.1

Entity Framework 4.1 is now available for download, the release of this   It’s cool that they are able to do out-of-band releases for things like this, so we don’t have to wait a year or more for new functionality.

Note that while CodeFirst is awesome, EF4.1 is not just about Code First, the DbContext API is equally applicable to Database First and Model First and EF 4.1 includes new code generation item templates for customers working with the EDM designer.

This Code First feature works on all ASP.NET projects, including MVC, Webforms, Windows Forms, WPF, etc… and you can use NuGet to install it!

The DbContext API is a simplified abstraction over ObjectContext and a number of other types that were included in previous releases of the ADO.NET Entity Framework. The DbContext API surface is optimized for common tasks and coding patterns. DbContext can be used with Database First, Model First and Code First development.

Click here to lean more about Entity Framework 4.1

What do you think? I think Microsoft is taking the right steps with these type of releases, while small, doing often releases such as the above are really useful and even fun! I do like the NuGet idea and the name.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below, cheers.

2 responses to “MIX11 – A tribute to Microsoft’s Web Stack of Love!”

  1. Steve A. Avatar
    Steve A.

    I think the code-first feature of EF 4.1 is only useful for development purposes… I see this feature as a great risk using it in production, I mean, the code basically has access to drop and recreate a database, and this could happen in production 😦

    I am yet to see any examples on how and what the best use of code-first is in a production environment.


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