If you want to change the location of the shared folder in your MVC 3 App, then this is a must read.

When you create a new MVC 3 Web Application Project, a default folder structure is created for you that looks something like this:

To change the shared folder location you must do the following steps.

1. Move the Shared Folder to the Root

Just drag the shared folder out of the views folder to the root of your app, like so:


2. Copy the web.config

In order for the shared folder to work outside the views folder, it has to have a special web.config file within it. Just copy the one inside the views folder and paste it into the shared folder.

3. Edit the _ViewStart.vbhtml Page

Now that the _layout
page has changed its locations, we have to modify the _ViewStart.vbhtml page located in the Views folder, and edit the following:



Remove the “/Views” so now it directs to the _layout
page located in the new shared folder location.


4. Code a Custom View Engine

If you tried to browse the site, now you will get an error like this one:



That is happening because MVC is using the default locations for the partial views, so it's still looking for the _LogOnPartial.vbhtml in its old location, but you moved that file to a new location in the root of your app.

To change the default file location for the whole site, we need to create a new class that inherits from
RazorViewEngine
.

Public Class MyCustomViewEngine
    Inherits RazorViewEngine

    Sub New()

        MasterLocationFormats = New String() {"~/Shared/{0}.vbhtml"}

        ViewLocationFormats = New String() {"~/Views/{1}/{0}.vbhtml", _
                        "~/Shared/{0}.vbhtml"}

        PartialViewLocationFormats = New String() _
            {"~/Views/{1}/{0}.vbhtml", "~/Shared/{0}.vbhtml"}

    End Sub

End
Class

Here, we set new locations for the Master, Views, and PartialViews.

5. Replace the Default View Engine and Test

All we have to do now is plugin this new custom engine, go to the Global.asax file and add the following to the Application_Start():

  Sub Application_Start()
        AreaRegistration.RegisterAllAreas()

        ViewEngines.Engines.Clear()
        ViewEngines.Engines.Add(New MyCustomViewEngine)

        RegisterGlobalFilters(GlobalFilters.Filters)
        RegisterRoutes(RouteTable.Routes)
    End Sub

Now if you run the app, you will notice that it all works with the shared folder new location.

Summary

We managed to change the shared folder location and replace the default razor view engine with our own implementation that changes the locations of the master, views, and partial views of the app.

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