Using Razor with ASP.NET: Brian Cole

Brian Cole presented after Jico Baligod’s presentation on jQuery. He showed the power of Razor, a view engine for ASP.NET that allows the developer to use a template approach to HTML page generation. Brian demonstrated the usefulness of Razor with an empty MVC application, and was able to begin showing the usefulness of the technology within minutes.

There are several benefits to using Razor, most of which were laid out in the design goals:

Design Goals

We had several design goals in mind as we prototyped and evaluated “Razor”:

  • Compact, Expressive, and Fluid: Razor minimizes the number of characters and keystrokes required in a file, and enables a fast, fluid coding workflow. Unlike most template syntaxes, you do not need to interrupt your coding to explicitly denote server blocks within your HTML. The parser is smart enough to infer this from your code. This enables a really compact and expressive syntax which is clean, fast and fun to type.
  • Easy to Learn: Razor is easy to learn and enables you to quickly be productive with a minimum of concepts. You use all your existing language and HTML skills.
  • Is not a new language: We consciously chose not to create a new imperative language with Razor. Instead we wanted to enable developers to use their existing C#/VB (or other) language skills with Razor, and deliver a template markup syntax that enables an awesome HTML construction workflow with your language of choice.
  • Works with any Text Editor: Razor doesn’t require a specific tool and enables you to be productive in any plain old text editor (notepad works great).
  • Has great Intellisense: While Razor has been designed to not require a specific tool or code editor, it will have awesome statement completion support within Visual Studio. We’ll be updating Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 to have full editor intellisense for it.
  • Unit Testable: The new view engine implementation will support the ability to unit test views (without requiring a controller or web-server, and can be hosted in any unit test project – no special app-domain required).

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