The application development process has become significantly vast and complex due to a variety of features that are now required in modern applications. To cater to that, there are multiple options available in the tech industry for architecture design patterns. The three most prominent ones are Model View View-Model (MVVM), Model View Presenter (MVP), and Model View Controller (MVC). All three of them being very popular and their remarkable design patterns often spark the debate of MVC vs MVP vs MVVM.
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This article will provide you with a complete outline for MVC vs MVP vs MVVM and the top 10 differences between them that you should know. It would be an ideal opportunity for new Java developers to find out which design pattern they should go with if they are planning to start developing applications professionally.
Before diving into their differences, let’s have a brief introduction to MVC, MVP, and MVVM architectures. Learning about the fundamentals is helpful, especially for new developers who do not know much about them.
These design patterns or architectures were introduced to make the application development process more manageable by separating the responsibilities of visualization (how the application will look like), processing (how it will work on different devices), and data management (how data will be processed). The primary goal is to attain more modularity, testability, flexibility and maintainability. It enables the software engineers to follow convenient practices and allows them to design cleaner and more manageable code to reduce the complexity of the application.
The center of the MVC vs MVP vs MVVM debate is the components or layers used in these architectures. The MVC is expanded as model, view, and controller, whereas MVP is used as model, view, and presenter. The MVVM is abbreviated as a model, view and view model. Few of them are common as view and model components but some are exclusive to just one design pattern, making them unique and differentiable.
Following are all the components that are part of these design patterns:
Model is the component responsible for the business logic of the application. It manages the state of the application which includes reading and writing of data and data management tasks like networking and data validation. It also defines business rules for data which means how the data can be changed or manipulated within the application.
It manages how data will be presented in the application as well as the user interaction which includes the GUI, menus designs and everything that a user will encounter.
The controller layer integrates the view layer and the model layer. It is just limited to MVC, the oldest pattern of all three.
It is only present in the MVP model. It gets the input from the View component and processes the data with the help of the Model layer. The process is similar in all three models and after the result has been processed, it is sent back to the View component.
It is exclusive to the MVVM pattern. There is a vast difference between MVC and MVVM as MVVM was built upon the older MVC and MVP models. As an improvement, it is an abstraction of the View layer and also acts as a wrapper of sorts for the Model data to be linked. It is an amalgamation of the Model layer and the View, as it contains commands that can be used in the View layer to influence the Model component.
After covering the components used in all three design patterns, the following are the top 10 differences between MVC Vs MVP Vs MVVM:
All three models are built differently. In MVC, the view is the topmost layer of architecture, it is integrated with the controller and the model layer is placed below it. Similar is the case with the MVP model. It gives the view layer direct access to models. This exposure to the entire model view could result in security issues, but MVVM is attempted to overcome these issues, as It is built differently and limits the exposure between each layer.
During the testing of the UI performance, MVP resulted to be the best one with the highest reliability. Its highlighted feature would be to causing the least hindrance while rendering frames of the application. On the contrary, MVVM is a bit behind in performance due to more processing. For instance, data binding creates an additional overload that can drastically affect the performance when performing complex tasks. On the other hand, MVC has presented some mixed performance as compared to both of them, securing the middle position in performance evaluation.
When it comes to compatibility, MVVM takes the lead. It offers the best compatibility especially when it comes to data processing. Although data binding is not good for performance, it does have a positive impact on compatibility. After MVVP, MVP is still a better option as compared to MVC, which comes last due to limited compatibility and numerous restating issues.
When it comes to design patterns, it is evident that they should be customizable to be able to strategize and add features to your application. In MVC vs MVP vs MVVM, MVP offers way fewer options to make changes than other patterns. Although MVVM contributes a lot more towards customization, MVC offers the greatest number of changes in the majority of the scenarios, being the most mature design pattern.
MVMM is the clear winner in performing unit testing from all three models. It shows great performance and features for unit testing. Whereas Unit testing performance is average using the MVP pattern, MVC is not a good choice for it as it is relatively difficult to properly perform unit testing using the MVC model.
In MVC, the View layer does not have any reference to the Controller unlike in MVP and MVVM. In MVP, the View has reference to the presenter layer and in MVVM, the View has reference to the View-Model. It is not a disadvantage but a bit of a limitation as referencing can be useful in certain cases.
XML is commonly used with all three models in view layers. It is used for designing and implementing the user interface of applications. Although it is essential for any application, its implementation is not that easy in all three patterns. In MVC vs MVP vs MVVM, it has very low complexity while working with XML in MVC. MVP also has noticeably minimum complexity with XML. That is the reason why MVC and MVP model is very commonly used in android application development as it involves heavy work with the user interface. On the other hand, it gets complex while working with XML on the MVVM model.
MVP does a great job in breaking down the application in the modules. The same is the case with MVVM as it is based on attempts to separate the development of UI from the business logic of an application. MVC model has some limitations in modularization unlike both of them.
MVC and MVP are primarily used for mobile applications. Android applications are the best example of it. They both are also suitable for web applications, however for extremely interactive applications or games that require complex user-interface code to be added and a lot of custom behaviors, it is better to use MVVM as it is more data-centric and provides more control. It certainly does not mean that between MVC vs MVP vs MVVM, it would be a tie in this case because all three of them offer different usability based on the requirements of the application to be developed.
Being a relatively older design pattern, it works well with standard GUI but it is quite difficult to use it with modern user interfaces. MVP is a bit of an improvement but MVVM is the best option among all when it comes to integrating with new user interfaces.
See Also: Modularization in Java: What Is It?
Despite these notable differences, we cannot decide on which pattern wins this battle. All three offer some unique and exclusive advantages that can be very useful in different situations. Ultimately, it is up to the user to make the right decision in selecting the best option based on their requirements.
Shaharyar Lalani is a developer with a strong interest in business analysis, project management, and UX design. He writes and teaches extensively on themes current in the world of web and app development, especially in Java technology.
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