Understanding MVVM: Model-View-ViewModel Architecture Explained
MVVM is a popular design pattern used in modern software development. This article explains what MVVM is, how it works, and its benefits.
Written by RamotionMay 1, 202310 min read
Last updated: Aug 22, 2023
Web development experts are always seeking ways to improve their development process and build more robust and scalable applications. One of the design patterns that has gained popularity in recent years is MVVM, which stands for Model-View-ViewModel. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of MVVM architecture, explain what it is, how it works, and why it has become a favourite of web development experts. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just starting, this article will provide you with valuable insights into how MVVM can help you build better software.
What is MVVM?
Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) is a design pattern that helps you separate your application logic from the user interface. It's a different way to think about your code, but it can make your applications easier to build and test. The Model-View-ViewModel pattern is an architectural software design pattern in which the model represents the data, the view is what the user sees and interacts with, and the viewmodel acts as a mediator between the model and view.
Importance of understanding MVVM
- MVVM is a great pattern to use when building applications. It helps to separate the business logic from the UI, which makes it much easier to test your application. With MVVM, you can write unit tests for your view models and models without having to worry about mocking out the UI components or testing every button click in your application.
- MVVM is useful because it makes your application code easier to test and reuse. It allows you to separate the different aspects of your application so that they can be developed independently, which makes testing easier, since you don't have to worry about testing the user interface code along with the business logic.
- You can also use MVVM to build applications that have a modular architecture, which makes it much easier to add new features or change existing ones. With this approach, you only need to make changes in one place rather than throughout your application's code.
- MVVM makes it easier to build applications that are suitable for cross-platform development. You can write code using this approach in such a way that it works equally well on different types of platforms, including mobile devices and web applications.
- MVVM helps you to write code that's more reusable. You can use it to build applications with a modular architecture, which makes it much easier to add new features or change existing ones.
- MVVM simplifies the process of upgrading your application's code. You can make changes to your application's view model and its data binding without worrying about breaking other parts of it.
Key MVVM Components
The MVVM pattern is a great way to develop applications. It separates the UI from the business logic, making it easier to test and maintain. The Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern is a separation of concerns that helps you cleanly separate your application into three main components: Model, View, and ViewModel.
The model represents the data in your application. The model is generally a domain model, which can be an object oriented representation of your business domain. This would normally be a collection of objects, properties and methods.
The view represents what the user sees on the screen. View controls and implements visual behaviour of application. It takes keyboard input from the user and provides feedback to them. This could be a simple text field or button that displays data, or it could be an entire page with multiple views displayed in different sections of that page.
The viewmodel is responsible for providing data from the model to the view (the user interface). It may also be responsible for handling any interactions between controls on different pages of your application.
The viewmodel is the brain of your application. It’s responsible for providing data from the model (a collection of objects, properties and methods) to the view (the user interface). This can be as simple as a text field displaying data or it may involve some complex application logic being performed on both sides.
How Does MVVM Architecture Work
Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) is a design pattern for developing applications. It's a variation of the Model View Controller (MVC) pattern.
The MVVM pattern separates the user interface from the underlying data model. In this way, changes to the underlying data model can be made without affecting the user interface. This makes testing much simpler and also allows for creating simpler user interfaces.
Let's take a look at how MVVM works in practice.
What is the difference between MVVM and MVC?
The Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) architectural pattern is an extension of Model-View-Controller (MVC). The MVC pattern separates an application into three parts: models, views and controllers. MVVM adds a layer called the view model between the view and the model. The view model acts as a communication mediator between the view and the model. The view model is responsible for handling user interactions with the application and updating the model accordingly. The MVVM pattern allows for the separation of concerns within an application. It also makes it easier to test and maintain your code base.
Flow of data in MVVM
The flow of data in MVVM is one of the key principles that help to keep your application organised and maintainable. The data source flows from the view model, which updates the model, back to the view. It is important to note that this pattern does not allow for direct user interaction with models.
The data flow is as follows:
- User interaction with the view (e.g. a button click)
- The view fires an event and passes it to the view model
- The view model processes this event and updates the model accordingly.
The model is responsible for handling data persistence and business logic. The view model is responsible for handling user interactions with the application and updating the model accordingly.
This pattern can be useful when you want to decouple your application from its data store, or if you want to hide business and validation logic from the view layer.
Interaction between Model, View, and ViewModel
There are three main actors in this pattern: the model, view, and view model. The model is responsible for handling data persistence and business logic. It is updated by the view model via commands from user’s interactions with the application. The view model handles user interactions with the application and updates the model accordingly.
The view is responsible for displaying data in a way that is usable by the user. The view model generally does not contain any UI logic, but instead provides data to the view so that it can render accordingly.
The view model is an intermediary between the view and the model. It handles all user interactions in a way that does not break the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture.
Advantages of MVVM
What is MVVM good for?
MVVM is an excellent pattern for developing software with a complex UI. It allows you to separate the view from its data model, which enables you to use one-way databinding to keep the two in sync. MVVM makes it easier to test your code because it’s modular and loosely-coupled.
Separation of concerns
Separation of concerns is an important principle of software development. It allows you to focus on one aspect of a problem at a time, which makes it easier to reason about complex systems. MVVM helps you separate concerns by keeping your UI code separate from your business logic code.
MVVM allows you to separate the view from its data model. In other words, you can use one-way data binding to keep the two in sync. It makes it easier to test your code because it’s modular and loosely-coupled.
Easy to maintain and test
The separation of concerns that MVVM provides makes your code simpler to maintain and test. You can replace one piece of code without affecting another. For example, if you want to update the logic for calculating a user’s score in a game, you don’t need to worry about breaking the way that data is displayed on screen.
MVVM makes it easy to write unit tests because you can test each component separately. You can use dependency injection to inject mock objects into your code so that you don’t have to rely on external dependencies like the network or database when testing.
Increased code reusability
MVVM helps you write reusable code because you can break down your app into smaller chunks that are easier to maintain. You can also create templates for these chunks and use them in other projects. MVVM makes it easy to write code that is reusable. You can write your view models and presenters in such a way that they can be used in multiple applications without much modification. For example, if you need to display a list of items on screen and then allow users to select one of them for more information, you can reuse the same view model and presenter code across multiple projects.
Improved collaboration among team members
MVVM makes it easier for developers to work together on the same project. Because view models and presenters are written in code, they can be easily shared among developers who need access to the same data. This helps eliminate some of the confusion that might occur if team members were working with different types of files (such as XML or JSON).
Disadvantages of MVVM
Steep learning curve
MVVM has a steep learning curve, especially for developers who are new to the pattern. Although it’s possible to learn MVVM by watching online videos or reading blog posts, it can be challenging at first. It’s also important to remember that MVVM isn’t a silver bullet—if your application has poor design and structure, adding MVVM won’t fix those problems.
The complexity of using MVVM can be one of its biggest drawbacks. It’s important to understand how the pattern works, and this takes time. In addition, there are many software libraries available for MVVM (such as Caliburn Micro) that add extra features and functionality to your application. This can make it difficult to know which features you need or don’t need.
MVVM adds complexity to your application because it introduces a new layer of abstraction. The view model layer can also get complicated if you need to implement advanced features such as undo/redo or asynchronous loading of data. In addition, there’s always the possibility that developers will make mistakes when using MVVM—and those mistakes could be difficult to spot because they might occur outside of the UI.
Over-engineering is a common problem in software development. It happens when developers add features or functionality to their applications that are unnecessary or don’t meet user needs. This can lead to applications that are bloated, slow and difficult to use.
Another problem with over-engineering is that it can lead to “technical debt.” This is when a developer adds features or functionality that are not used by the application, but which still need to be maintained and updated with each new release. As the application grows, technical debt can become very difficult to manage.
Here are some examples where MVVM implemented in various frameworks and programming languages:
- Angular: Angular is a popular front-end framework that implements MVVM architecture. It uses components to represent the View and the ViewModel, and services to represent the Model.
- Xamarin: Xamarin is a cross-platform app development framework that implements MVVM architecture using the Xamarin.Forms platform. It uses data binding capabilities to connect the View and ViewModel layers.
- WPF: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is a framework for building desktop applications on Windows, and it also implements MVVM architecture. It support data binding to connect the View and ViewModel layers, and commands to handle user interactions.
- Kotlin: Kotlin is a programming language that can be used for both front-end and back-end development, and it also supports MVVM architecture. It uses data binding and the Observer pattern to connect the View and ViewModel layers.
MVVM architecture is a powerful design pattern that has become increasingly popular among web development experts. We've explored its key concepts, benefits, and various examples of its implementation in popular frameworks and programming languages. By separating the concerns of the Model, View, and ViewModel layers, MVVM can help developers build more maintainable, scalable, and testable applications.
Looking ahead, the future of MVVM in software development looks bright. As software continues to grow in complexity, MVVM provides a clear and structured approach to managing application architecture. Furthermore, the trend towards cross-platform development and the need for more robust and scalable applications will only further fuel the adoption of MVVM architecture. As such, it's important for developers to familiarise themselves with MVVM and continue to learn and grow with this design pattern.