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Dynamic v. Strongly Typed Views

By Rick Anderson|

There are three ways to pass information from a controller to a view in ASP.NET MVC 3:

  1. As a strongly typed model object.
  2. As a dynamic type (using @model dynamic)
  3. Using the ViewBag

I’ve written a simple MVC 3 Top Blog application to compare and contrast dynamic and strongly typed views. The controller starts out with a simple list of blogs:

using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Web.Mvc;

namespace Mvc3ViewDemo.Controllers {

    public class Blog {
        public string Name;
        public string URL;
    }

    public class HomeController : Controller {

        List<Blog> topBlogs = new List<Blog>
      { 
          new Blog { Name = "ScottGu", URL = "http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/"},
          new Blog { Name = "Scott Hanselman", URL = "http://www.hanselman.com/blog/"},
          new Blog { Name = "Jon Galloway", URL = "http://www.asp.net/mvc"}
      };

        public ActionResult IndexNotStonglyTyped() {
            return View(topBlogs);
        }

        public ActionResult About() {
            ViewBag.Message = "Welcome to ASP.NET MVC!";
            return View();
        }
    }
}

Right click in the IndexNotStonglyTyped() method and add a Razor view.

8475.NotStronglyTypedView[1]

Make sure the Create a strongly-typed view box is not checked. The resulting view doesn’t contain much:

@{
    ViewBag.Title = "IndexNotStonglyTyped";
}

<h2>IndexNotStonglyTyped</h2>


On the first line of the Views\Home\IndexNotStonglyTyped.cshtml file, add the model directive and the dynamic keyword.
@model dynamic

Because we’re using a dynamic and not a strongly typed view, intellisense doesn’t help us. The completed code is shown below:

@model dynamic
           
@{
    ViewBag.Title = "IndexNotStonglyTyped";
}

<h2>Index Not Stongly Typed</h2>

<p>
 <ul>
@foreach (var blog in Model) {
   <li>
    <a href="@blog.URL">@blog.Name</a>
   </li>   
}
 </ul>
</p>

6646.NotStronglyTypedView_5F00_IE[1]

Now we’ll add a strongly typed view. Add the following code to the controller:

public ActionResult StonglyTypedIndex() {
    return View(topBlogs);
}

Notice it’s exactly the same return View(topBlogs); call as the non-strongly typed view. Right click inside of StonglyTypedIndex() and select Add View. This time select the Blog Model class and select List as the Scaffold template.

5658.StrongView[1] 

Inside the new view template we get intellisense support.

7002.intellesince[1]

The c# project can be downloaded here.

This article was originally created on January 27, 2011

Author Information

Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson – Rick Anderson works as a programmer writer for Microsoft, focusing on ASP.NET MVC, Windows Azure and Entity Framework. You can follow him on twitter via @RickAndMSFT.