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Model View Controller 101 — Why your web project may need MVC

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Trying to understand a piece of software or creating one can be daunting. Where do you start? Well, first you should make sure that your web project will be developed properly. MVC is an architectural approach that ensures that your application, custom web portal or a website will be programmed in the correct way. The “correct” in this case means you’ll make your life a lot easier. Let’s start at the beginning!

What is MVC?

The MVC stands for Model, View, and Controller. MVC defines how the app is done and how it will interact with the user. Model, View, and Controller are three separate components, which allows the modification of each component independently.

  • Model – Interacts with database, gest and sends data and runs logic commands within the database. Communicates with the controller.
  • View – Is the component that deploys content that the end user sees. It is responsible for showing content to the end user. It just listening to the instruction of the controller.
  • Controller – The controller acts as a middleman. It gets requests from View and sends them to the Model. It gets appropriate responses from Model and sends them to the View. Actually, it is the controller that interacts with the user. View only shows things, but this is the controller who listens to all your requests.

MVC is a concept or an architecture, or a design pattern. It’s not a magical program or app, it’s rather a development approach. The concepts on which the MVC definition situates is rather practical than theoretical.  Here’s a simple diagram that will help us define MVC.

MCV diagram example1

  1. The user sees the view of the app in the browser;
  2. He makes some kind of request, meaning uses the app;
  3. Controller receives this request and then transcripts it to the model;
  4. Model is a brain of the app, it interacts with the database using logic developers have put into it;
  5. Model returns the value to the controller;
  6. Controller passes this information back to the view updating it;
  7. Controller usually fetch the data to the template engine which reorganizes the view in a proper way;
  8. Once the template engine updated the view according to the new “data conditions” the controller sends the view to the user to see.

Hopefully, this explanation wasn’t too complicated and you have managed to grasp the basic concept of what the MVC is. In practice you may even encounter three folders inside your web app called just like that: model, view, and controller.

Popular Web Development Frameworks that Apply MVC Concept

Most of the popular web frameworks use at least some parts of MVC. Now, there are numerous google queries like “MVC framework comparison” or “which is the best MVC framework”. But if you carefully read the previous part, you’ve already understood that MVC can’t be compared, it’s just a theoretical entity.

The best answer we can give to such a question is just a list of existing web development frameworks that borrow some of the MVC’s concepts.

  • Laravel (PHP)
  • Codeigniter (PHP)
  • Zend (PHP)
  • Express (JavaScript)
  • Backbone (JavaScript)
  • Angular (JavaScript)
  • Django (Python)
  • Flask (Python)
  • Ruby on Rails (Ruby)

If you still want to compare these frameworks, we recommend you to make it by examining more relevant attributes like framework’s popularity; community; code base; knowledge base; proliferation of a framework in particular industry; examples of apps that were created with the use of a particular framework.

The purpose of MVC in Website Development

Because of its versatility, MVC is one of the most frequently used design patterns. It finds its most popular use in web development, where you have a clear understanding of where, when and what you want your end users to see and interact with.

Advantages of using MVC for a Business Owner

The general purpose of MVC is to separate the business logic (model) from the interface (visual part – view) in the application. As a result, you get a bunch of handful advantages:

  • Quick deployment of new functionality. With the power of separation of model and view part, you can develop new modules in the background without harming the working environment of your web app;
  • Saves time and money for a redesign. You can just change the view part of the website or web app;
  • Multiple views without duplication of code. You can create multiple user roles and various user privileges just by defining access restrictions to certain models or databases. This is how you can easily close business logic to a privileged group of managers and curate application access control;
  • Return the data without formatting. While you giving access to your database you can still protect it from formatting by just allowing users to modify it with HTML on the front-end side.

Advantages of using MVC for a developer

In addition, MVC as an architectural approach brings order into the development process and allows multiple developers to work on the same project.

  • You can connect several views to one model without interfering model itself. Thus you can have several developers working with the same business logic without altering it. For example, you can make your app simultaneously display data as a spreadsheet, histogram and a pie chart;
  • Better division of labor and specialization inside development team. You can scale team by increasing the number of developers that specialize only in one area (e.g. business logic, UX optimization, security);
  • Asynchronous technique. MVC also supports asynchronous technique, which helps developers to create fast-loading apps.

Considering all aforementioned the MVC promotes organized programming and brings a clear structure to the web project allowing new developers to get into the project without long orientation. As of the business owner point of view, MVC approach will make your app more flexible in terms of updates and save you a lot of time on upgrades and changes.

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