ASP.Net, which stands for Active Server Pages.NET is a framework, developed by Microsoft and it serves the purpose of creating web pages and web technologies. Since its initial launch, it has proven to be a handy and essential tool for web designers who aim to create dynamic websites by compiling languages such as C# and VB.
In short, that would be it. However, If you’ve been familiar with our articles, you know that we always aim to give a comprehensive guide for developers (or for anyone interested in the world of web design, for that matter) about every software we touch, listing all the possible pros and eventual issues. Now, we’re going to do the same thing with ASP.NET, so if you were planning to start a project with this framework in mind, this article will surely help you gain better insight into what awaits you and how you should tackle the obstacles that may arise during the development process.
As stated above, Active Server Pages. Net is a Microsoft-backed framework that enables programmers to create web pages and technologies by compiling VB and C#.
From that perspective, the framework isn’t restricted to language scripting alone but offers much more. It also enables the use of .Net languages. It hosts many benefits, which makes it a handy tool in a web developers’ arsenal. Let’s see what makes it unique and what features it offers.
The .Net Platform
The Microsoft-created .Net platform is a large set of different tools, libraries, and programming languages enabling developers to build different types of web applications with ease.
The base of the .NET platform and its components could be utilized for different applications and ASP.NET can serve as an extender of the .Net components for even more options when it comes to web development.
The .NET platform includes such goodies as:
- Visual Basic (VB), F#, and C# programming languages
- Different Editors and tools applicable for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Docker
- Base libraries for string work, files/IO, dates, and so on.
As stated above, ASP.NET extends the .Net platform with even more options for web application building. It hosts even more libraries and tools, with web development in mind.
With the combination of the two, developers can
- Create websites with a base framework for we request processing in C# or F#
- Use Razor, the web page templating syntax which is ideal for building dynamic websites in C#
- Use a sophisticated authentication system that offers not only libraries, but also database and a set of template pages for tasks such as login handing, multi-factor authentication, or external authentication with different web apps, including Twitter, Google, and more.
- Libraries that support common web patterns, like MVC – Model View Controller
- The use of editor extensions that offers such features as syntax highlighting and code completion among other functions.
When you are developing in ASP.NET, back-end code like data access and business logic are written in either Visual Basic, C#, or F#. Also, you can get to use a huge ecosystem of different available packages and libraries, plus you can create your libraries from everything that’s shared between applications that are written on the platform.
The framework’s web page templating syntax (Razor) enables developers to create dynamic pages using C# and HTML. The C# code is evaluated on the server sending the user the resulting HTML content.
Both .NET and ASP.NET are open-source (along with all .NET packages) on GitHub with over tens of thousands of developers and thousands of companies using it.
As a seasoned developer, you probably know that open-source isn’t only a cost-effective way to start a new project in a new framework. Great software usually have a huge community that supports it and who has pushed the framework’s capabilities to its boundaries. This means that fresh developers will have fewer headaches when it comes to troubleshooting, and on the other hand, they can use other projects as blueprints to create their own from the ground up.
APIs, real-time, pages, microservices
Using ASP.NET allows developers not just to build web applications with ease, they can also include microservices, REST APIs, along with hubs that allow real-time content to be pushed to connected clients.
These features can allow them to create dynamic-heavy websites which can boost user-experience and drive better traffic, which can be especially favorable for sites with commercial purposes.
When using ASP.NET, it’s almost impossible to miss the term: ASP.NET Core.
The “Core” is also an open-source framework, but it’s a cross-platform version of ASP.NET, that is recommended for all new applications.
To clarify, in most cases when you here developers talking about ASP.NET, they most often than not refer to the Windows-only versions. Nowadays, for multi-platform purposes, ASP.Net Core is used. Not to say that the older versions are abandoned (they do get smaller updated and bug-fixed now and then) but the majority of innovations and improvements happen within the Core.
Pros and cons
Now, that we have discussed the basic features of the framework, we can take one step further and see what are the strongest traits of the software and which areas could use some improvement.
Storage customization options – Customization of storage used to be problematic with older identity management frameworks. The problem was, they were either too subtle or cramped. Now, separating identity information storage from the security implementation code is not a problem anymore, data storage is a lot more streamlined.
Developers now have a free hand when it comes to customizing such things as user account data if they want to have more data associated with that specific user. The desired data can be added to the user class deploying the interface. Also, additional data can be stored by IuserStore implementation.
Speed – The features of ASP.NET ad up to create an environment where web development is a rather quick process. The environment and the programming language host many benefits that give developers the ability to lay down the basics quickly and create a website rather fast.
This can be a huge advantage, especially when the developer or development team is working around the clock or have multiple projects to attend to. Most web designer agencies have to cater to multiple clients at the same time and there are scenarios when they simply can’t afford to spend months on a single project. Having a development environment that allows for fast-paced work can be a time-saving and cost-effective way to get the job done.
Coupled with its open-source nature, ASP.NET allows developers to work faster and with a better profit margin.
Asynchronous support: The vast majority of the APIs in the framework are asynchronous and this can be seen as an advantage. This is something that isn’t only a clear advantage now, but also in the days to come.
Windows – Some developers dislike the fact that the ASP.NET framework tends to follow the Windows form. Their main grudge is that the form is way too similar and that can end up in a few awkward moments in the development process of web-based applications.
IuserRoleStore and leaky abstractions – The interface responsible for associating roles with users (IuserRoleStore) tends to complicate things unnecessarily. Although it’s an optional interface, it must be implemented if developers want to include explicit role support. In most cases, the complications arise when roles are kept in the wrong place. Programmers must be alert when choosing to store roles. They can either be kept in the claims or the role stores. The problem is, they should know where they keep the roles to ensure smooth operation.
Leaky abstractions might be the single biggest con to the otherwise smoothly running framework with tons of great features. API implementation shouldn’t be taken haphazardly since there are a few which have to be included. Although a lot has changed and improved since the initial problems arose, leaky abstractions can still be an issue.
Poor security features – ASP.NET was known for lacking some of the basic security features that other frameworks offered out of the box. Email account verification, username reminder, mobile verification, password reset, and modern password storage were lacking.
To sum it up
When putting it all together, we can safely say that ASP.NET has loads of great features that make it a worthwhile framework.
ASP.NET allows the development of dynamic-heavy web pages that can improve user experience. API’s, microservices, the ability to push real-time content, and the customization of user account data allows programmers to come up with elegant and functional designs that offer a wide variety of options within the web application.
ASP.NET is also open-source, allowing developers to immerse themselves in what the framework has to offer through exploring community documentation, forums, and investigating different projects.
With reliable community help and awesome application examples, developers who wish to master ASP.NET will have a great source of information and fine blueprints at their fingertips.
The way the framework is configured allows for fast-paced development, a feature that is hard to overlook especially in today’s market trends, where development agencies need to deliver results and deliver them fast.
The downsides of the framework may include leaky abstractions and lacking security features and complications with roles. However, all of these can be resolved with little attention to detail and basic programming knowledge. Also, if a developer hits a roadblock in the development cycle, chances are, he or she can find a way to fix the issue through the help of the huge developer community that already uses the framework.
Is ASP.NET good for you? Only you can decide. Based on your needs and preferences it might be your one-stop framework, or it may be something that you’d better avoid because you’re looking for different things/features. Whatever the case may be, ASP.NET is a framework worth looking into, especially if you’re looking for a tool that allows you to build websites fast and reliably.