ASP.NET is a web application framework, developed and marketed by Microsoft, that programmers can use to build dynamic websites, web applications, and web services. However, some people question whether ASP.NET is still a relevant technology, especially given Microsoft's focus on its newest framework version – ASP.NET Core.
With that in mind, the following is a breakdown of ASP.NET, how it has changed over time, and whether it is still useful today.
An Overview Of ASP.NET
ASP.NET is an open-source web app framework that enables developers to create dynamic websites, web applications, and web services. ASP.NET was created for the web back-end in order to make .NET more suitable for web app development.
When Microsoft released its first version of ASP.NET in 2002, it was a game-changer as it made web development much easier and more efficient.
ASP.NET is often confused with Microsoft's .NET Framework. However, they are two different things: the .NET Framework is a software framework, while ASP.NET is a web application framework. Basically, you can use the .NET Framework to build any type of application, whereas ASP.NET can only be used for web-based applications.
ASP.NET Versus ASP.NET Core
When discussing ASP.NET, you must understand the difference between it and ASP.NET Core.
ASP.NET Core is a continuation of ASP.NET that was rebuilt from the ground up to be an open-source, cross-platform framework. It can run on Windows, Linux, and macOS, whereas ASP.NET can only run on Windows.
Like ASP.NET, the more advanced ASP.NET Core is based on the Model-View-Controller framework. However, ASP.NET Core supports modular architecture much better than ASP.NET, which means that developers can select only the ASP.NET Core modules they need for their project.
As a result, ASP.NET Core lets developers build a leaner and more efficient web app. This is because unneeded code isn't included, which can sometimes be the case with ASP.NET.
When it comes down to it, ASP.NET Core is a newer and better version of ASP.NET. However, that doesn't mean that ASP.NET is obsolete. On the contrary, it can still be quite valuable for developers.
The Top 6 Reasons Why ASP.NET Remains Useful For Developers
While ASP.NET Core is the evolved version of ASP.NET, launched as ASP.NET 5 before being renamed ASP.NET Core, it doesn't mean that ASP.NET is no longer useful or relevant.
Although ASP.NET has some limitations, especially compared to ASP.NET Core, it still provides value as a web application framework. Here are six key reasons why ASP.NET is still useful for developers:
1. It’s The Top Open-Source Server-Side Web Application Framework
ASP.NET (including all its versions) remains one of the internet's most searched server-side web application frameworks. It is still widely used by developers and remains a top open-source framework on GitHub.
In fact, according to the Stack Overflow 2021 developer survey, more than 15% of developers still prefer ASP.NET over other frameworks for their web development needs.
2. It Requires Less Setup And Configuration
ASP.NET is built into the familiar Windows server environment, so it's easy to use, configure, and develop websites and web applications. This contrasts with other frameworks that require a lot of setup and configuration.
For example, with the PHP framework Laravel, you need to set up a development environment with the correct versions of PHP, a web server, and a database. These requirements can be pretty time-consuming and complicated for newcomers. If you're using windows, it's much easier to develop in ASP.NET as you don't need to worry about configuring everything correctly.
3. It Integrates Industry-Standard Authentication Protocols
Despite being an older version, ASP.NET still uses the latest and most secure protocols for authentication.
For example, it integrates industry-standard authentication protocols such as Windows Authentication, Forms Authentication, and Passport Authentication. As a result, your web applications will be secure and able to authenticate users without issues. In addition, it's worth noting that these features are built-in, so you don't need to configure or set anything up.
4. Microsoft Actively Offers And Develops Incredible Support
Microsoft actively offers and develops support for ASP.NET, which is evidenced by the number of resources available online. For example, there are loads of essential and valuable resources on the ASP.NET website, including documentation, guides, tutorials, and more.
Additionally, because it's open source, a massive community of developers is still contributing to the development of ASP.NET.
As a result, as long as you're using a supported version of ASP.NET, you won't have to worry when you come across any problems or issues as Microsoft is there to support you.
5. It Has The Ability To Run Directly In Web Browsers
ASP.NET is Microsoft's native web-development platform. As such, it can run .NET applications directly in web browsers. This feature is a significant advantage as it means you don't have to rely on third-party plugins or frameworks to run your ASP.NET applications. It also means that your applications will be more compatible with a wider range of browsers.
Blazor For Web Development
Blazor also allows you to share code between the server and the client. This makes web development more efficient as you don't have to write duplicate code for both the server and the client.
6. It Has Vast Language Support
ASP.NET supports multiple programming languages, including Visual Basic, C#, and J#. This support is a significant advantage as it means you are not limited to a single language. Additionally, it also means that you can choose the language that is best suited for your needs.
For example, if you're more familiar with Visual Basic, then you can use that to develop your ASP.NET applications.
Harness The Features Of ASP.NET To Your Advantage
Although ASP.NET Core is the latest version of ASP.NET, many developers still use the original ASP.NET because it has many features that are still relevant today. Additionally, it's also well supported by Microsoft, so users don't have to worry about it becoming outdated.
By using ASP.NET, you can develop web applications quickly and efficiently without having to set up a development environment. Additionally, continued support for the platform means that you can be confident your applications will be secure and won't become outdated.
If you're looking for a web development platform that is both powerful and easy to use, then ASP.NET remains a great option.