A Look at Azure and MVC 4

ASP.Net MVC 4 is amazing. There I said it! I know I’m supposed to be the ‘Mac guy’ or ‘Linux guy’ or possibly even the ‘Ruby / Rails guy’ depending on where you know me from but the truth is that I love all technology and often find myself trying out new platforms or playing with some shiny tech toy. For the last month or so ASP.Net MVC 4 has been that new toy along with Windows Azure.

The Good

Azure provides easy to use web-based GUI’s for basically everything you’d want to do to configure, administer, and monitor your app. If you’re not a fan of GUI’s, there are also commandline tools for Windows and Mac.

For you Heroku lovers out there, the MVC / Azure development and deployment experience is very similar to the Rails / Heroku experience. In fact, Microsoft has gone so far as to build in Git deployment to Azure and has even provided an easy to use web-based GUI tool for setting it up. Overall, I was really impressed with what I saw.

Visual Studio still rocks. I’ve been working with Visual Studio 2012 and have been loving the code generation and debugging tools it includes. It simply is one of the most advanced IDE’s on the market today.

Microsoft has come along way since the days of IE 6. .Net’s Razor View Engine provides full support for HTML5. Not only was I happy to see this, but I was also a little surprised to see how far they’ve come in the area of web standards.

The Bad

MVC 4 has one achilles heel: price. Azure itself, like Heroku is expensive, but with Heroku you can, though with a bit of effort, migrate to a generic Linux server. The issue with Azure is that you’d have to pay for a Windows server license and other licensing fees if and when you want to migrate off of Azure. However, the costs can really start to pile on when you factor in Microsoft SQL Server.

The Ugly

There’s not much ugly in the Microsoft web development stack these days.

The Bottom Line

Overall I am very impressed with what I saw and will be keeping a close eye on ASP.Net and Azure. If you’ve been a Rails or Django developer and have never taken a look at the Microsoft stack, Azure and MVC 4 are definitely the place to start.

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