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Free Tools: ASP to Razor Converter

Somehow, in the course of our June Toolapalooza feature (17 Free Tools for Visual Studio), I missed a bunch of freebies from Telerik. Telerik has made well over a dozen free tools available -- I lost count -- and they all look pretty cool. It's worth noting, these are not limited-period trials or significantly crippled software. If you're willing to forego support, for instance, you can apparently get Telerik's ASP.NET MVC extensions for free.

I must have been in an ASP.NET MVC frame of mind when I was looking at the page because the tool that caught my eye is the Razor Convertor. This is a command line tool that, when passed a file spec (e.g. *.aspx) and (optionally) a path to a folder to hold the converted cshtml files, rewrites your Views to the new Razor syntax.

This is a big deal. Whenever you move to a new technology (like the Razor engine for creating Views in ASP.NET MVC) there's always the problem of what do you do with the old $#*! (sorry: "legacy code"). You could upgrade that old code, but it would take time away from other projects that will deliver new functionality and benefits. Besides, while the "legacy" code is in an old technology, it does have that whole "working" thing going for it.

But if you hang onto that old technology, you're effectively making your toolkit larger. Ideally, you want a toolkit that's as small (and as homogenous) as is compatible with meeting the demands of your organization. So it would be nice to clear out any old technology that you don't to use any more.

Razor Convertor lets you do that when you upgrade to ASP.NET MVC 3 and switch over to Razor (and you will want to switch over). Razor makes it reasonable for you to convert all the Views in an application that you're going to be working on for some other reason than bringing it up to date. Use the tool to convert the application's Views over to Razor, add any new pages using the Razor engine, make the rest of your modifications and you've got a site upgraded to the latest and greatest!

Telerik doesn't claim that the tool can convert all of your MVC Views with 100 percent reliability (it doesn't deal with Master Page Views, for instance). But, based on what I've seen so far, it will get you very, very close. My biggest issue, for instance, was going back in and converting any expressions in my code.

Now: After you bring a whole application up to date, do you tell your boss that you used a tool to do the conversion? Or just take the credit?

Posted by Peter Vogel on 07/26/2011

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