SignalR is Really Cool

Posted on 9/29/2014 6:37:34 PM


At my previous job, I worked on my school’s web team working on wcupa.edu.

Everything was great; I loved the atmosphere, the people working there, the hours, etc., but I knew that there was one thing that felt just wrong about it. I didn’t know what it was at first, but eventually I figured it out:

I really don’t like ASP.NET WebForms.

WebForms has a place and time, of course, and for what the school’s website was doing it was more than applicable. In fact, I would reluctantly suggest that it would be the best .NET solution for the job. It’s a file-based site that needs the ability for a bunch of people to be able to edit their pages without .NET experience. What bothers me, though, is the feel of WebForms. It’s trying to make you think you’re just coding a regular piece of software when you’re really working on the web. While this sounds nice in theory, I don’t think the current model does a good job of hiding the fact that it’s on the web. Instead, the abstractions always hurt me. I remember the days of trying to figure out how to deal with ‘state’ in a WebForms project. It’s disgusting.

Then I met ASP.NET MVC.

After work and in between classes, I watched probably five hours of Pluralsight before I typed anything relevant to it. I was stuck. Many of those projects where I thought “enh, this would be horrible to implement” suddenly made sense in an MVC world. I became energized with the taste of MVC, and my love of web development doubled over the course of a week.

I quickly rewrote stachu.net from scratch in MVC, just to play. It was a good start, but not enough. I then played around with a few CRUD applications, following along with a few PluralSight courses and read through a few chapters of the ASP.NET MVC Apress book (perfect book, by the way!).

I kept studying and learning until I got my current job as an MVC developer, in fact!

Obviously, none of this has had anything to do with SignalR. My point, though, is that by discovering MVC, so many things started making sense to me. I had lots of new ideas for projects and I became totally reenergized to work on personal projects.

This past weekend at a PhillyDotNet CodeCamp, I attended Chris Gomez‘ SignalR talk. I’ve looked briefly into SignalR before, and even attended an introductory lecture on the subject, but for some reason this session hit me pretty hard. Just like when I first got into MVC, I started thinking of so many ideas. Most of them were dumb, but I got a few pretty cool ideas down.

I’m looking forward to January when I can explore some of these ideas. Maybe once I get a bit more experience I can throw SignalR around at work, if it becomes applicable.

Thanks, Chris! Great session, definitely made things click for me!