Getting Sitecore up and Running with MVC 4

ASP.NET MVC is everywhere, and if you judge from the the job adverts ASP.NET Web Forms is rapidly being consigned to the “legacy” category. So where does that leave developers like me, currently using Sitecore?
Although it seems to me that Sitecore is Web Forms to it’s back teeth, there are nevertheless some signs that it too is going MVC.

From Sitecore version 6.6 there is support for MVC straight out of the tin (or the installer, at least). This is great but how do you get from that install to not just an MVC project, but MVC 4 (.NET 4.5) using Visual Studio 2012?
The steps are available around and about, but this post seeks to update the process to the latest version of Sitecore and pull it all together.

If you are really new to Sitecore MVC, probably the best place to start is here.

Part 1: Create a Visual Studio Project from the install

a.) Using the latest version of Sitecore (Sitecore 6.6.0 rev. 130214), create a new instance
b.) Create a new Empty Website with Visual Studio 2012 using .NET 4 (but NOT MVC)
c.) Copy the Sitecore instance into your Empty Project Directory, and include the files (and Assembly References) into it. I found that the best way to get the Assemblies in was to copy them to a third directory (not the bin directory), then browse to that and Visual Studio will add them, nice and cleanly.
d.) Take the global.asax from the Sitecore Instance, pull out the inline code and paste it into a new global.asax.cs
e.) Publish the Site

Part 2: Make the project MVC3

a.) Unload the project, then right-mouse click to edit the project file
In the project file you will find an element


add this GUID to it at the front of the list, separated by a semi-colon:
b.) Reload the project you now have an MVC3 Sitecore project.

c.) You should now confirm that MVC3 is working:

(this taken from John West’s blog)

Create a the subdirectory /Views containing a nested subdirectory named Sitecore.
Create the /Views/Sitecore/index.cshtml file containing some Razor code (note that the @inherits directive is not necessary if the /Views subdirectory contains the proper web.config file, such as that installed when you create an MVC project in Visual Studio):

@inherits System.Web.Mvc.WebViewPage
  Layout = null;
  if (Model == null)

In the Sitecore Content Editor user interface, navigate to the /sitecore/layout/Layouts/Sample Layout item that defines the default layout.
Click the Content Tab.

In the Path field, enter /Views/Sitecore/index.cshtml, and save.

Either publish the layout definition item and view the home page of the published site (http://playground – not http://playground/default.aspx), or use the Page Editor. You should see content such as the following:


Model: Sitecore.Mvc.Presentation.RenderingModel

Part 3: Make the project MVC4

a.) In the project Website Properties change the Target Framework to .NET 4.5
b.) Update the references from MVC3 to MVC4

all references in .config files need to reflect these versions:
System.Web.Mvc, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35″
System.Web.WebPages, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35
System.Web.Helpers, Version=, Culture=neutral, publicKeyToken=”31bf3856ad364e35″
System.Web.WebPages.Razor, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31BF3856AD364E35

these appSettings need to be added to the web.config:

  <add key="webpages:Version" value="" />
  <add key="PreserveLoginUrl" value="true" />

further details here:

c.) In Solution Explorer, right-click on the References and select Manage NuGet Packages. In the left pane, select OnlineNuGet official package source, then update the following:
(Optional) jQuery, jQuery Validation and jQuery UI
(Optional) Entity Framework
(Optonal) Modernizr
d.) Update ProjectTypeGuids element and replace {E53F8FEA-EAE0-44A6-8774-FFD645390401} with {E3E379DF-F4C6-4180-9B81-6769533ABE47}.
e.) If the project references any third-party libraries that are compiled using previous versions of ASP.NET MVC, open the root Web.config file and add the following three bindingRedirect elements under the configuration section:

    <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
        <assemblyIdentity name="System.Web.Helpers"
             publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" />
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="" newVersion=""/>
        <assemblyIdentity name="System.Web.Mvc"
             publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" />
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="" newVersion=""/>
        <assemblyIdentity name="System.Web.WebPages"
             publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" />
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="" newVersion=""/>

f.) Finally, there is an incompatability with the Sitecore login page under .NET 4.5, to do with the use of an iframe. The file sitecore/login/default.aspx contains an iframe to the SDN that .NET 4.5 doesn’t like. Replace it with a div:

<iframe id="SDN">
  <div id="StartPage" runat="server" allowtransparency="true"
 frameborder="0" scrolling="auto" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0"
 style="display: none"></div>

<div id="SDN">
  <div id="StartPage" runat="server" allowtransparency="true"
 frameborder="0" scrolling="auto" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0"
 style="display: none"></div>

and you’re off to the races. More detail here.

I should point out, of course that .NET 4.5 is not supported as yet by Sitecore, but with this you can play with 4.5… until Sitecore 7 arrives.

Good Luck.