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Getting Started With MonoRail and VisualStudio 2008

MonoRail from Castle Project is easily the most mature MVC Framework for the .NET platform.  Much attention has been directed toward the MVC pattern since Microsoft's entry into the MVC space with the MVC Framework.  I was encouraged this weekend at Codeapalooza in Chicago when a fellow developer expressed interest in MonoRail as part of his explorations into MVC.  I've blogged about Monorail in the past and would encourage anyone looking into transitioning to MVC for you web applications that you don't dismiss MonoRail too quickly when selecting a framework.

The developer expressed that he was having a hard time getting started with MonoRail.  He didn't know where to begin and he felt that some of the documentation was out of date on the site.  I've found the easiest way to get started with MonoRail is to created a new project with their project template, which comes with the MSI installer.  The problem that currently the MSI installer/project template is incompatible with Visual Studio 2008.  If I knew a lick about that kind of thing I'd attempt to go in and fix it.  Since I don't here's the workaround I do know works (since I've had to do this myself).

These steps will get you up and running with the initial Monorail web application project template (with proper references, views, controller, layouts, rescues, ect):

  1. Run the Castle MSI installer.
  2. Open Visual Studio 2005 and select to create a new MonoRail application. The template still works in the 2005 version.
  3. Close the solution and open in 2008.  You'll be asked to upgrade the solution and project files, which you'll want to do.

That's all there is to it.  It's kind of a pain to open in 2005 and the upgrade the project file, but it's the quickest way I've found around so far.  This method presumes you have Visual Studio 2005 installed and if you don't the method above won't work.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Update

I've done the steps above an re-based all references and provided the project for you to download.  The project is updated to work with Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5.

You can download the zip file:  MonoRail Starter Kit for Visual Studio 2008


Posted 09-07-2008 10:19 PM by Tim Barcz

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Comments

Brian Mavity wrote re: Getting Started With MonoRail and VisualStudio 2008
on 09-09-2008 12:24 AM

I think I was part of this conversation. ;) Thanks a bunch, Tim, now I won't have to install vs 05 when I get home from my business trip.

Brian Johnston wrote re: Getting Started With MonoRail and VisualStudio 2008
on 09-09-2008 6:40 AM

Tim - are you aware of an MVC framework that isn't web specific?  We use UIP <shudder>, but despite the many problems with it, it's nice in the fact that it really doesn't care about the view - web page or win form - doesn't matter - works for both.

Does MonoRail or some other framework you're aware of out there provide this ability?  All these MVC frameworks are great if all you do is web applications, but they don't do a lick of good for people who don't and it doesn't make sense to call yourself MVC if your coupled to a specific type of view/technology (web page/ASP.NET).

Thanks for any links/references you might have.

Tim Barcz wrote re: Getting Started With MonoRail and VisualStudio 2008
on 09-09-2008 7:48 AM

@Brian

I am aware that the MVC, the pattern, can be used for more than just web applications.  However both MonoRail and MVC Framework are heavily geared toward web applications.  In fact I've not heard or read of any instances where either MonoRail or MVC Framework was used anywhere but the web.

From (asp.net/mvc): ASP.NET MVC is an alternative, not a replacement, for ASP.NET Web Forms that offers the following benefits:

- Fine-grained control over HTML and JavaScript

- Intuitive URLs

Clearly aiming towards web folk

From castles website: "MonoRail is a MVC Web Framework"

Li wrote re: Getting Started With MonoRail and VisualStudio 2008
on 09-22-2008 12:11 PM

Tim - we are one of sponsors of Codeapalooza and our template-based RAD tool LatticeFramework Studio can generate ExtJS + MonoRail + ActiveRecord application right from your database.

Here is the screencast how to do it:

www.latticesoft.com/.../video.aspx

and screenshot:

www.latticesoft.com/.../ExtJSMonoRail.JPG

DotNetKicks.com wrote MonoRail with VS 2008
on 09-29-2008 4:43 PM

You've been kicked (a good thing) - Trackback from DotNetKicks.com

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