Wednesday, February 9, 2011

River City Givecamp - Our ASP.NET MVC, Entity Framework, jQuery success story

I recently participated in the River City Give Camp, a great weekend event that gave IT professionals an opportunity to build applications for non-profits and charities. I was fortunate to work with some really great folks and even more fortunate to be placed on an all .NET team...w00t! We built an internal web based application for a the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association. This application allowed them to track patient visits, providing reporting, logging, and a whole bunch of goodness. Here is what we used:

ASP.NET MVC - MVC offered us a latest and greatest environment to work in. The base web application comes right out of the box with Forms Authentication incorporated, login pages, MasterPage, etc. The ease of building MVC applications was essential for this quick project.

MS SQL Server 2008/Entity Framework 4 - SQL Server and EF gave us the two punch combo to quickly get the site up and running. Using the Aspnet_regsql and the ASP.NET configuration tool, we had our users and roles setup in 15 minutes, and BAM, the MVC app was authenticating users in no time. Once the tables were built, we used a basic EF context and we had data access. The whole process took about an 1.5 hours, most of which was just making sure our table structure was correct (we didn't have that many tables, but you need to get that right).

jQuery/jQuery UI - Once the basic site and data access was done, we imported jQuery UI to add tabs, accordians, and date pickers. This gave us a great looking well laid out UI with the bells and whistles most users are accustomed to.

jQuery DataTables/TableTools - We needed to display information in some grids, so DataTables was the easy choice. This plugin gives you awesome grids with built in sorting and paging. No brainer given the timeline. The last piece was TableTools, a plugin for DataTables. This allows the user to save the grid as an XLS, PDF, etc. Awesome plugin!

And there you go. Using all these awesome tools, we created a highly functional site in a weekend.


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