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Coordinate User Interface Development with VB.NET and the MVC Pattern

Use VB.NET and the MVC pattern to create a user interface framework for collaborative development. By cleanly isolating display elements from data, the MVC pattern lets multiple programmers develop and modify UI functionality at the same time without problems.


hen building complex desktop applications, different individuals or groups of developers often need to collaborate. On some projects, you can separate the layers of the system and assign different individuals to develop each layer. For example, programmer A builds the user interface, programmer B and C build the business logic layer, and programmer D is responsible for the database. In the real world however, work is more often split along functional lines where a single developer is responsible for the user interface, usiness logic, and database layer of a specific application module. Under these conditions, different programmers cooperate to develop components in each layer concurrently. Their components are then integrated during the build process.

This cooperative approach is well suited to the business logic layer. The COM and .NET framework both allow independently developed component to be easily integrated and to function seamlessly together as an application. The same is not true of elements in the User Interface and Data layers. While one can develop using component technology and techniques in both these layers, there are no pre-existing frameworks that allow the independently developed pieces to be easily integrated into a seamless application. This article will explore a solution to this problem in the User Interface layer.

When the application development tasks are cut along functional lines, developers are independently building dialogs for the same application. The problem lies in the integration of these screens and dialogs to produce a final consistent application. In this article I will demonstrate a basic user interface framework that uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern to leverage Visual Studio.NET's capabilities.

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