Pylons, the latest MVC, and Entity Framework

One of my goals over the summer was to push hard on Pylons and get the iOS (iPhone) client out.  Right now its looking like that isn’t going to happen – at least not during the summer.  The reason for this is that there have been some very substantial updates to the underlying frameworks that Pylons uses. 

Pylons is built on the ASP.Net MVC framework.  Last summer, when I was creating the first version of Pylons, MVC 3 was the latest version.  MVC 4 came out just at the end of the summer.  Between it, and MVC 5, there have been some pretty substantial changes.  One of these changes makes it potentially a lot easier to use OAuth authentication.  Currently, Pylons does this through a third-party plugin.  It’s rough, but it works.  Because of the way things work with MVC 5, it doesn’t make sense to keep using our third-party plugin. Ideally, we want everything to be as secure as possible – which means using the latest version of the MVC framework and not relying on third-party plugins.

Unfortunately, this also means that there’s some other big changes that need to happen.  The underlying mechanisms of MVC are built using something called the Entity Framework.  The Entity Framework provides a way of automatically generating all the boilerplate code – the stuff that creates, reads, updates, and deletes things in the database.  I’m currently quite happy with how Pylons does this, but in order to use MVC 5 and the new authentication bits, it makes sense to at least looking into using the Entity Framework as well.  

So far it seems to be working out well, but it still means that I’m spending all my time reworking the back-end, rather than adding new clients.  Hopefully there won’t be too many other major changes to the underlying frameworks, and I can get on with putting out a better product. 

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