T4MVC 2.6: MVC 2 Areas support

To get the latest build of T4MVC:

Go to T4MVC page on CodePlex

One of MVC 2’s major new features is the support for breaking up a large application into “Areas”. This works by following a structure that looks like:

  • Root folder

    • Models

    • Views

    • Controllers

    • Areas

      • NerdDinner

        • Models

        • Views

        • Controllers

      • Blog

        • Models

        • Views

        • Controllers

So basically you still have your top level Models/Views/Controllers folders, and in addition to that you can have an arbitrary number of “Areas”, each having their own set of Models/Views/Controllers folders.

Starting with MVC 2.6, T4MVC lets you use areas in much the same way it lets you access top level items.  e.g. you can now write:

<%= Html.ActionLink(“Delete Dinner”, MVC.NerdDinner.Dinners.Delete(Model.DinnerID))%>

Note how we referred to the controller as MVC.NerdDinner.Dinners.

Optionally, if you set IncludeAreasToken to true in the settings file, this becomes:

<%= Html.ActionLink(“Delete Dinner”, MVC.Areas.NerdDinner.Dinners.Delete(Model.DinnerID))%>

Lots of headaches to find a good naming pattern for Areas in T4MVC

Surprisingly, one of the things that caused the most headaches in getting this working was finding a well working naming pattern.

Here are the patterns that were on the table:

  1. MVC.NerdDinner.Dinners

  2. MVC.NerdDinnerArea.Dinners

  3. MVC.Areas.NerdDinner.Dinners

#1 is the simplest and most concise, but breaks if you have a top level controller that has the same name as the area.

#2 appends ‘Area’ to the area name to solve the conflict we caused by #1.  But while it solves the conflict, you end up with a slightly quirky naming scheme.

#3 uses an extra Areas token before the area name to avoid the conflict.  The drawback here is that you end up with one more token, meaning one more thing to type through in intellisense.

I then polled twitter to see whether people preferred #2 or #3, and most went with the cleaner and more wordy #3.

Then Nikhil suggested using a hybrid of #1 and #2, where we only append ‘Area’ to the area name if we detect a conflict with a top level controller name.  Let’s call this #4!

So I ended up supporting both #3 and #4, based on the IncludeAreasToken switch in the settings file.

But frankly, I’m considering getting rid of #3.  In the twitter poll, people didn’t like #2 mostly because it’s weird to have that extra ‘Area’ suffix.  But with the hybrid #4 solution, this funky name only occurs exceptionally, making it much less of an issue.

To end this post, I’d like to thank Nathan Roe for helping out putting together this change!

Comments (14)

  1. Tom says:

    In my opinion,the #3 is the best solution.

  2. Jim Geurts says:

    Why not MVC.NerdDinner.Areas.Dinners?

  3. David Ebbo says:

    @Tom: can you explain why you like #3 more than #4?  Is it because it matches the physical folder structure?

    @Jim: I don’t understand this suggestion, as it doesn’t avoid the conflict, and is as long as #3.  To be clear, in this example NerdDinners is the area name and Dinners is the controller name.

  4. Hi,

    Why don’t have each one as a separate project ?



  5. David Ebbo says:

    @Thanigainathan: the MVC 2 Areas feature works in a single project, and our goal here is to make T4MVC work with that feature rather than create a different model.

  6. Jinal says:


    I tried this before with ASP.net MVC beta but i get error when i have two controller with same name present.

    For Example : if top level controller contain HomeController and in areas also i have homecontroller then it create problem.

    Do you know how can i overcome this issue ?

  7. David Ebbo says:

    @Jinal: could you include the full error that you are getting? Thanks!

  8. Paul says:

    I like number 2. Seems to stick with naming convention of Controllers. Maybe also something like MVC.ANerdDinner.Dinners

  9. yasir miraj says:

    I like #3 for best recognition.

  10. Jinal says:


    i get this type of error.

    The controller name ‘Home’ is ambiguous between the following types:



    I created homecontroller in areas of blog too but it is for blog home.

  11. David Ebbo says:

    @Jinal: what you’re seeing is unrelated to T4MVC, and you should get the same error without it.  It has to do with the way MVC looks for controller classes by default.  This is not the best place to discuss general MVC issue, but if you start a thread on the MVC forum (http://forums.asp.net/1146.aspx), I’m sure the experts will jump in with a lot of info about how this works and what you can do about it.

  12. nick4eva says:

    Can you add support for nested folders in StaticFilesFolders array (i. e. "Assets/Javascripts")?

  13. David Ebbo says:

    @nick4eva: I thought nested folders were already supported.  Let’s follow up on the forum (http://forums.asp.net/1215.aspx) to discuss further. Thanks!

  14. Chris Arnold says:

    I took a different approach to Areas which works in MVC v1…