We live in an era marked by dynamic environmental shifts, so businesses must evolve swiftly to not be left behind. A pivotal avenue for such progress lies in investments in IT systems, which have a major impact on business operations. Dedicated software entails substantial financial outlay; hence, when planning a project, it is worth taking care of the right choice of tools and technologies to ensure it will meet the project’s demands. Microsoft’s .NET platform is one option worth considering.
We invite you to read ahead, as we outline .NET’s merits and instances of use from the perspective of seasoned web and mobile application developers.
When one thinks of .NET, we may remember the old, sluggish, closed-to-modification technology, which only allowed window-based programs for the Microsoft Windows operating system. The downright clumsy GUI development using WinAPI and the .NET Framework, saturated with out-of-the-box solutions, made customers reluctant to develop business applications in C#. At the end of 2014, Microsoft announced the successor to the .NET Framework, .NET Core, the source code of which was made available to the public. After six years, the name .NET Core was shortened to .NET, and the new naming’s implementation began with version 5 to avoid confusion with the .NET Framework and old versions of .NET Core.
Today, .NET is an open-source platform for developing different applications. Importantly and noteworthy, it is not bound to any programming language. Solutions can be written in one of the many supported languages such as C++/CLI, C#, F#, J#, Delphi 8 for .NET or Visual Basic .NET. .NET is a free platform developed by a committed community, which gives almost unlimited development room.
Why should you use .NET for application development?
With the .NET platform, software can be developed for various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. As a result of its support for multiple architectures, .NET applications can run efficiently on classic computers, mobile devices, servers, XBOX consoles, and microcomputers like the Raspberry Pi without requiring additional software. This is because when we publish our application, we include an entire runtime environment. .NET also integrates well with cloud solutions and container technologies. Through it, we can create cross-platform, portable applications that run on various devices. Considering today’s wide range of IT ecosystems, this is extremely helpful.
.NET is a sea of possibilities – utilizing this platform, we can create a web application, a window application, a cloud application, a mobile application, and a game.
In addition, we want these technologies to be constantly and rapidly developed, as well as being secure for users. All these aspects are handled by the massive community of the .NET platform, which develops it by creating new tools and libraries, as well as checking for security vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the community can also vote for the most desirable features to be added to the platform, thereby influencing its direction. At the same time, the entire project is overseen by Microsoft Corporation, which ensures the stable development of the core of the technology by releasing LTS (long-term support) versions. The company supports the community on the content side by helping solve users’ problems and advising them of good practices. This approach ensures that the solutions we use in our applications will work for years without rewriting the source code. This is extremely critical from a business perspective. Application modernization or technology debt always poses a challenge.
The .NET platform comes with many ready-made libraries containing methods and tools that can be easily integrated into the software being developed. These libraries make application development much easier and eliminate the need to write code from scratch, solving many complex challenges (a whole lengthy article could be written about examples), thus saving valuable resources, i.e., time and money. The off-the-shelf solutions in question happen to be free, tested and optimized for performance in .NET.
A notable feature of the platform is its ability to use libraries written in various languages within the .NET family in one project. .NET is not without reason said to have many languages on one platform. Regardless of which programming language we choose, our code will be translated into IL (Intermediate Language) during compilation. This code is then executed by the CLR (Common Language Runtime) runtime environment. This is a significant advantage of the platform, as it allows the greatest advantages of individual programming languages to be exploited within a single project. For instance, the entire system can be written in C#, but the machine learning module can be created in Python. This currently offers the most possibilities in this area. In addition, thanks to technological flexibility, the team of programmers involved in a project can be very diverse. This allows the creation of software that is more adapted to the client’s needs. The last advantage resulting from diversity is the vast database of libraries written in many languages that we can use to build our projects. As a result, we are not limited to one language, allowing us to integrate various external systems.
As well as libraries, the .NET environment offers a variety of design patterns to solve some of the most common and well-known programming challenges. Thanks to this, when developing software, more emphasis can be placed on the client’s business problems, keeping technological aspects separate. Design patterns allow you to write high-quality code, translating it into more manageable, faster, and less costly new functionality additions.
Whenever we create extensive systems, we keep in mind that the number of supported users often grows over time. Applications should not suffer from performance degradation as their popularity increases. .NET is known for its scalability, and its architecture and development tools allow high-quality applications to be developed. It includes both AoT (ahead of time) and JiT (just in time) compilation, which offer better optimization of code both during compilation and during runtime (for example, through inlining and loop unrolling). The .NET platform also provides advanced mechanisms for asynchronicity, multithreading, and memory management. This way, CPU resources can be used more efficiently, and memory leaks can be avoided easier.
With the .NET environment, distributed applications can be developed across multiple servers, e.g., in a microservices architecture, and they are easy to integrate with cloud solutions, which allow for flexible scaling as load increases. It is worth noting that application performance and scalability also hinge on code design, implementation, and optimization quality. Experience and a sound programming approach are essential here, though. By combining proper knowledge with the robust tools and mechanisms of the .NET environment, high-quality scalable and highly performant applications can be created.
Choosing the leading technology for an IT project is critical to its success. Before making a decision, it is worth checking the capabilities of a particular solution while weighing up all the pros and cons.
Due to its very closed environment, .NET developers used to be limited to the knowledge of C# itself, SQL, and digging deeper into Windows configuration. Nowadays, due to the range of possibilities of the .NET platform, they are not tied to one framework and specific types of applications – their skills are much more outstanding, and they can choose very well how to solve a given type of problem due to the versatility of the technologies.
The .NET platform comes with heaps of advantages, such as cross-platform, scalability, high performance, multi-language support, and a rich selection of tools and ready-made solutions to use when developing your software. All this makes it the ideal choice for companies looking to grow their businesses with a strong emphasis on quality and innovative solutions. Regardless of your business type, .NET can benefit you by boosting competitiveness, improving efficiency, and enhancing customer satisfaction. In view of all this, the .NET platform is definitely worth considering as the foundation for future IT projects.