What Exactly is ASP.NET and Why Should You Use it For Your Business Software?
ASP.NET is a Microsoft Tool With All the Backing of This Tech Giant
Using tools built by smaller companies often comes with a certain amount of risk. This is because smaller businesses may not have the resources to provide adequate customer service or to maintain the quality of their product. Although the popularity of ASP.NET is mainly due to its capabilities, the fact that it's a Microsoft tool is very beneficial as well.
Benefits of Using a Tool Backed by Microsoft
The following are just a few of the advantages of using a Microsoft product:
- Constant quality testing - Microsoft has a reputation to maintain, which is why they put an enormous amount of their resources into quality testing to make sure there are no vulnerabilities. For example, they will constantly provide patches for any bugs or vulnerabilities they find in their software. To assist this, they tend to pay attention to any feedback they receive from their users.
- Strong support - In order to maintain their reputation as a tech giant that cares about their customers, they provide excellent support to users of any of their tools. If you are having issues with something or need assistance figuring something out, you'll be able to talk to a Microsoft representative who will help you find a solution or provide guidance with what you're trying to do.
- Regular updates - When you're a tech company the size of Microsoft, you need to stay at the forefront of the tech industry by keeping up with any advancements being made. As a result, they regularly update their tools, adding newer features that provide users with even more capabilities.
ASP.NET is Also Open Source and Therefore Reaps Additional Benefits
Many of the best web frameworks out there are open source, and ASP.NET is no exception. Essentially, it means it's free. Even though you might assume that a free version of anything means it's stripped down, requiring you to invest in a premium version for access to additional features, this isn't necessarily true of ASP.NET.
What Does Being Open Source Mean?
Essentially, open source means that something is free to use, free to distribute, and free to modify. There are absolutely no costs associated with downloading or using tools that are open source. And there's no added fee to unlock certain features. The entire framework is completely open source.
The Benefits of Using Open Source Systems in Building Your Software
The following are some of the reasons why you should use an open source framework to build your software:
- It's cost-effective - As previously stated, you won't have to allocate funds from your budget to invest in a web framework.
- It's non-restrictive - No contract is involved, which means you're not restricted to using certain vendors or switching to a different framework.
- It's more secure - Because it's open source, more people will be using it, which means any flaws in the framework will be found and fixed quicker.
- It's customizable - Tools that are open source can be modified by anyone, meaning you can modify or tweak it to better fit your needs.
- There's more community support - Since open source tools are available for free, there's more of a community built around their use. This means that finding community support is relatively easily.
A Brief History of ASP.NET
ASP.NET was designed to be the successor of Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages) technology. The first version of ASP.NET was released in January 2002. It was built using CLR (Common Language Runtime), which allowed users to write ASP.NET code using any .NET language that was supported. It was updated the next year, although version 2.0 came out at the end of 2005. Version 4.0 came out in 2010 and was last updated at the end of 2017.
The successor to ASP.NET is the ASP.NET Core, which is the re-implementation of ASP.NET as a modular web framework. It's a cross-platform framework that uses the open-source .NET Compiler Platform. Essentially, its framework is a full rewrite that combines ASP.NET web API and ASP.NET MVC into a single model. The first version of the ASP.NET Core was released in June of 2016.
The newest version, ASP.NET Core 2.1.0 was made available in May of 2018. It contains a bevy of new features, including the default use of HTTPS, Razor class libraries, the ability to add real-time web capabilities to your Core apps, new template additions that will help meet some of the GDPR requirements, and more.
Why do Developers Choose to use ASP.NET?
Developers who are looking to build their own applications will want a framework that's easy to use, but that offers extensive flexibility. Microsoft's ASP.NET framework allows just that. The following are a few of the specific reasons why developers tend to favor ASP.NET over other web frameworks, including both open source and proprietary solutions.
Compiled Coding Makes Everything Load Faster
ASP.NET code can be written in numerous languages, including Visual Basic. Once it's written, the code will be compiled into one or more assemblies. These will then be translated into MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language). When code is compiled in this manner, it is able to run much faster than other types of scripting languages (such as VBScript or ECMAScript) because it becomes a closer representation to machine code.
Benefits of Using Object Oriented Programing Languages
ASP.NET allows developers to write code in several languages, including C#, F#, and Visual Basic, all of which support object oriented programming. Some of the benefits of object oriented programming include the following:
- Easy troubleshooting - When programming in a more traditional top-down approach, you'll find that it can take a long time to identify the source of any issues that come up. When using object oriented programming, you'll know exactly where to look since objects are self-contained.
- More efficient workflow - The modality of object oriented programming doesn't just make it easy to troubleshoot, it also allows multiple developers to work on several objects at the same time while reducing the odds that one developer might accidentally duplicate another developer's functionality.
- Ability to reuse code - If your team of developers is building different objects that have some commonalities between them, they can use the inheritance technique to save time. To do this, a single class can be created, from which several subclasses are built. The objects in these subclasses may have their own unique functions and attributes; however, they'll share the existing code from the single class. Essentially, it means you don't have to keep rewriting the same code for different classes since you'll be able to reuse existing code using object oriented programming.
- More flexibility - Object oriented programming allows you to create functions that can be used multiple times for different classes.
Capabilities of Scaling for Enterprise or Large Solutions
As your business grows, you'll get more users. Your web framework needs to be scalable in order to handle increased user loads. Fortunately, ASP.NET has impressive scaling capabilities for enterprises and large solutions. For example, it has its own built-in caching features, which helps prevent slowdown as a result of a high user load by storing data for users who have visited your site or used your applications before.
Assessing Business Use Cases and ASP.NET for Your Project
Although many developers tend to favor ASP.NET over other types of web frameworks, it's important that you evaluate whether the use of ASP.NET will be beneficial to your specific business.
Business Use Cases ASP.NET Would Suit
The functionality and flexibility that the ASP.NET framework provides makes it very useful for businesses that need that functionality and flexibility. However, this is not the case for all companies. If you don't need it, you can use something a bit more simple to build your website. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few business use cases that are ideal for ASP.NET.
Any Internal Software Required to Deal with Data
If you're using existing software programs to collect, track and analyze data, whether it's employee data within your HR systems, time management systems, and accounting systems, or customer data within your sales and marketing systems, ASP.NET is one of the best options available to you. It allows you to display the most important of your data seamlessly within a web app. If you don't make use of your data to that great of a degree, the ASP.NET framework may not be necessary. Its ability to deal with complex and large data sets in a user-friendly way makes it particularly useful for companies.
Any Web Applications Which Must Generate Dynamic Content
A dynamic web page is a page on which different types of content is displayed every time it's browsed. The content changes based on the user's behavior, preferences, and interests. Take for example Facebook's news feed. This is a form of dynamic content. If you need to create web applications that generate dynamic content, the ASP.NET framework is the best option due to its dynamic data scaffolding and page templates features.
Practically any Custom Software You Could Need
ASP.NET allows for the creation of almost any type of software solution you need, whether you're building it from the ground up or you're modifying or upgrading an existing software application.
Assessing Whether ASP.NET is Right for Your Project
ASP.NET isn't the only open source web framework available, so carefully consider if it's the right solution for your project. The following are a few things to consider before deciding to use ASP.NET:
If you just need a static website, you don't necessarily need to use ASP.NET although it's perfectly fine for that purpose. However, the ASP.NET framework allows for much more functionality. This means if you need to develop mobile apps, create dynamic web page content, or set up an e-commerce page, ASP.NET is one of the best solutions available.
ASP.NET comes with many security features built in and includes several authentication modes (passport-based authentication and window-based authentication) as well as authorization and code access security (which can restrict what your code can do and restrict what code you can call your code).
Upkeep and Maintenance Considerations
If you're developing web applications that will need to be updated with new features and functionality, whether it's on a constant or semi-regular basis, ASP.NET makes it much easier to do so. The more upkeep and maintenance you expect to do, the more likely ASP.NET is the perfect solution for you.
All in All, We Love ASP.NET and Think You Should Too!
ASP.NET is one of the most popular web frameworks among developers and one that your business should strongly consider, depending on your specific needs. The ability to use multiple scripting languages to create feature-rich websites and applications can be hugely beneficial, especially when considering the flexibility and functionality of the framework. And it’s best benefit? It's free to use!