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Model–view–controller (MVC) is a software design pattern for implementing user interfaces on computers. It divides a given software application into three interconnected parts, so as to separate internal representations of information from the ways that information is presented to or accepted from the user.
As with other software patterns, MVC expresses the "core of the solution" to a problem while allowing it to be adapted for each system. Particular MVC architectures can vary significantly from the traditional description here.
- The model directly manages the data, logic, and rules of the application.
- A view can be any output representation of information, such as a chart or a diagram. Multiple views of the same information are possible, such as a bar chart for management and a tabular view for accountants.
- The third part, the controller, accepts input and converts it to commands for the model or view.
In addition to dividing the application into three kinds of components, the model–view–controller design defines the interactions between them.
- A model stores data that is retrieved according to commands from the controller and displayed in the view.
- A view generates new output to the user based on changes in the model.
- A controller can send commands to the model to update the model's state (e.g., editing a document). It can also send commands to its associated view to change the view's presentation of the model (e.g., by scrolling through a document).
One of the seminal insights in the early development of graphical user interfaces, MVC became one of the first approaches to describe and implement software constructs in terms of their responsibilities.
Trygve Reenskaug introduced MVC into Smalltalk-76 while visiting the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Jim Althoff and others implemented a version of MVC for the Smalltalk-80 class library. Only later did a 1988 article in The Journal of Object Technology (JOT) express MVC as a general concept.
The MVC pattern has subsequently evolved, giving rise to variants such as hierarchical model–view–controller (HMVC), model–view–adapter (MVA), model–view–presenter (MVP), model–view–viewmodel (MVVM), and others that adapted MVC to different contexts.
The use of the MVC pattern in web applications exploded in popularity after the introduction of Apple's WebObjects in 1996, which was originally written in Objective-C (that borrowed heavily from Smalltalk) and helped enforce MVC principles. Later, the MVC pattern became popular with Java developers when WebObjects was ported to Java. Later frameworks for Java, such as Spring (released in 2002), continued the strong bond between Java and MVC. The introduction of the frameworks Rails (December 2005, for Ruby) and Django (July 2005, for Python), both of which had a strong emphasis on rapid deployment, increased MVC's popularity outside the traditional enterprise environment in which it has long been popular. MVC web frameworks now hold large market-shares relative to non-MVC web toolkits.
Use in web applications
Although originally developed for desktop computing, model–view–controller has been widely adopted as an architecture for World Wide Web applications in major programming languages. Several commercial and noncommercial web frameworks have been created that enforce the pattern. These software frameworks vary in their interpretations, mainly in the way that the MVC responsibilities are divided between the client and server.
- Hierarchical model–view–controller
- Naked objects
- Observer pattern
- "More deeply, the framework exists to separate the representation of information from user interaction." The DCI Architecture: A New Vision of Object-Oriented Programming - Trygve Reenskaug and James Coplien - March 20, 2009.
- Burbeck (1992): "... the user input, the modeling of the external world, and the visual feedback to the user are explicitly separated and handled by three types of object."
- Gamma, Erich et al. (1994) Design Patterns
- Moore, Dana et al. (2007) Professional Rich Internet Applications: Ajax and Beyond: "Since the origin of MVC, there have been many interpretations of the pattern. The concept has been adapted and applied in very different ways to a wide variety of systems and architectures."
- Burbeck, Steve (1992) Applications Programming in Smalltalk-80:How to use Model–View–Controller (MVC)
- Simple Example of MVC (Model–View–Controller) Design Pattern for Abstraction
- Buschmann, Frank (1996) Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture.
- Model–View–Controller History. C2.com (2012-05-11). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
- Notes and Historical documents from Trygve Reenskaug, inventor of MVC.
- "A note on DynaBook requirements", Trygve Reenskaug, 22 March 1979, SysReq.pdf.
- Krasner, Glenn E.; Pope, Stephen T. (Aug–Sep 1988). "A cookbook for using the model–view controller user interface paradigm in Smalltalk-80". The Journal of Object Technology. SIGS Publications. Also published as "A Description of the Model–View–Controller User Interface Paradigm in the Smalltalk-80 System" (Report), ParcPlace Systems; Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- The evolution of MVC and other UI architectures from Martin Fowler.
- Hot Frameworks
- Leff, Avraham; Rayfield, James T. (September 2001). Web-Application Development Using the Model/View/Controller Design Pattern. IEEE Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference. pp. 118–127.
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