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I'm looking for advice from people who have actually migrated a large system from WebForms to MVC.

What are the things to watch out for? The literature says that both can co-exist for the same system but was it really that easy? Was managing authentication between the two seamless?

Was maintenance easier/tougher after that?


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do you mean MFC instead of MVC? – stijn Apr 5 '11 at 7:07
Why on earth would he mean MFC? – Carson63000 Apr 5 '11 at 9:23
I'm definitely missing something, because to me MVC means the ModelViewController pattern, while afaik Asp.NET WebForms is a framework. Framework to Pattern, that's like comparing apples and oranges, so I thought, hmm, maybe he meant MFC which is also a framework. Although indeed that still sounds strange to me since they don't have much in common. Please go ahead and enlighten me. – stijn Apr 5 '11 at 11:08
@stijn - while you are correct that "MVC" is a pattern, "MVC for ASP.NET" is a framework and the name is a bit of a mouthful, so most .NETters call it MVC for short. – pdr Apr 5 '11 at 11:43
that explains a lot ;] – stijn Apr 6 '11 at 6:47

It wasn't a large project migration, but I do have experience of a small/medium sized project that was started using both WebForms and MVC - the WebForms part from an existing CMS, and MVC for new bespoke development.

I didn't see very many problems. The main problem that I remember was keeping track of pages and routes - adding a SomethingController would cause all the WebForms pages in the Something directory to become inaccessible, for example. So it's definitely worth planning out in advance all of your URLs and partitioning them between WebForms and MVC. Having overlaps isn't impossible, but it does need some care, and proper testing.

It was in my last job that I did this, so my memory might be a bit hazy on the details. Authentication wasn't a part of this particular project so I'm not sure how that would work, although I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't. So, sorry I can't give a definitive answer to your question, but I hope this helps.

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My advice is not to migrate at all. Keep your legacy WebForms stuff and see if you can get buy-in to do all new projects in MVC (that aren't already a part of the existing app, of course). If you only use one app and that is the WebForms one.. you might be out of luck. It's my experience that very few times can you redo the app even when it would save a lot of time and effort down the road, because it's very rare that management cares about longterm versus short-term.

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If you have a large system that work fine with webforms now, you should not change to mvc if not necessary.

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Sadly this is true, as much as I loathe WebForms and would recommend MVC to any serious developer for any project moving forward. You're in for a world of hurt if you try to convert a system from one to the other; it almost certainly has to be a rewrite. – Wayne M Apr 7 '11 at 15:59
But why? I'm interested in the why. Thanks. – Fung Apr 12 '11 at 11:09

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