Software engineers like to come up with ways to organize code. The more organized a codebase is, the easier it will be to navigate. Having an organized codebase will make it easy to identify and fix bugs quickly and implement new features when you’re ready.
One of the most popular ways of organizing code is by using the Model, View and Controller (MVC) framework. In this guide, we’re going to discuss how the MVC pattern is used and why you should use it in your code.
What is the MVC Framework?
The Model, View and Controller framework states that different sections of your code have different applications within a project. Some of your code outlines how your app appears, whereas other parts of your code control how the app works.
MVC divides these different applications into three components. Using the MVC framework, it is easy for you to organize your code into these three sections.
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Revising your code and making changes is therefore easier because you’ll know where to look when you need to make a change. MVC can be applied to software, mobile and web development projects, but is especially common in web projects.
Let’s discuss each of the three parts of the MVC framework individually below.
The model represents the data in your application and how it is structured. The model can hold data and it can outline the ways in which data can be accessed. The model is typically on the server-side of an application.
Suppose you are building a calendar app. Your model may define an “event” type which is used to keep track of all your meetings. It may also define a “user” type so that you can log in to your calendar and see your events.
The view is all the code that makes up the part of an application that powers user interaction. In other words, the view is the user interface.
The controller is like a bridge between the view and the model. This part of the MVC framework receives user input and processes it.
Let’s go back to the calendar application example. The controller would connect the data types that you defined – like “event” or “user” – and the user interface to make your application functional. For instance, the controller may ensure that a user has filled out all the fields on a “create event” form, then add that event to the database.
How MVC is Implemented
MVC is a model you can use to decide how your application is structured. MVC is not just used to make your code look pretty; it is a way to help you speed up the development process.
Suppose you’re building a calendar application. A user reports to you that there is a bug on the user interface when they submit a form. Because this bug appears on the user interface, you know that you’ll need to go to the view code in your application.
You don’t need to worry about reading through data structures or controller files. You can go straight to the source of the problem – the view – and make the requisite changes to the code.
In practice, the MVC architecture may mean that you have separate folders to store different parts of your application. For instance, in a web application, you may use this structure for each webpage:
page_name.html styles.css controller.js
The HTML and CSS file in the above list both refer to the view. That’s because HTML and CSS are client-side technologies used to define the structure and style of an app. The JS file refers to the controller because it contains code that reads data from the application and decides how it should be used.
MVC is a better way to organize your code. Using MVC, you should split up your code into three components: a model, a view and a controller.
This framework is useful for all software development projects, no matter what the size may be. It’s especially important for large-scale projects to use a framework like MVC because it ensures that every developer understands how an application is structured. Without a clear application structure, a large project could quickly get out of hand. Code could get lost or it may be really difficult to find what files need to be changed when a new feature is requested.
When you’re building your next web application, ask yourself: is my code organized using MVC? If you don’t use the framework, think about what parts of your application are models, views and controllers. Then, move your code around so that it is divided into these groups. This will help you keep track of your code and showcase your professional development skills.
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