Many who learn that .NET started as far back as 2002 and was developed by Microsoft think it’s a closed framework that ties you to other Microsoft products, or that it’s soon to be obsolete, and ask—Why would I want to use it over all the others?
The answer will surprise you, as many of .NET’s features have made it a trend and a hot topic among programmers and tech businesses. Here you’ll learn several reasons why many use the .NET framework.
The first thing you might ask is what is .NET. It’s a set of cross-platform technologies that help developers build different types of apps. The first of these technologies was.NET Framework, used to build software with several languages including C# and F#. But now a whole group of implementations, tools, and new versions of this framework are, together, called the .NET Technology, the .NET Platform, or simply .NET.
.NET is a major technology change introduced by Microsoft to catch the market from Sun Microsystems’ Java. And, even though .NET borrowed most of its ideas from Sun’s J2EE at the time, it has really outperformed this competitor and others.
.NET also has a bright future. Many are waiting for several updates that will change the way we see software development, like Azure app development with .NET 5.
The .NET universe—how can it help you?
.NET offers a full suite of tools that can make your job easier and faster and your products better.
.NET Framework is a managed execution environment for Windows. It consists of two major components: the Common Language Runtime (CLR) — which is the execution engine that runs apps — and the .NET Framework Class Library (FCL), which provides a library of tested, reusable code that you can call from your own apps. Let’s examine some of the benefits:
- Strong and useful languages – You can write .NET apps in C#, F#, or Visual Basic. Although VB may feel heavy, it’s still one of the best IDEs available, and its recent updates address some of its most debated issues. On the other hand, C# is great at spotting errors during compilation because of its strongly typed nature; this feature will save you many scary runtime surprises.
- Libraries – .NET has an extensive class library that helps you with low-level programming operations. Instead of spending hours writing vast amounts of code for minor actions, your team can use a readily accessible library of types from the .NET FCL.
- Side-by-side execution – .NET Framework solves version conflicts by allowing multiple versions of apps to coexist on the same computer and apps to run on the version of .NET Framework with which they were built. Side-by-side execution applies to .NET Framework version groups 1.0/1.1, 2.0/3.0/3.5, and 4/4.5.x/4.6.x/4.7.x/4.8.
- ASP.NET – ASP.NET extends the .NET developer platform with tools and libraries created specifically for building web apps. It’s well known for having faster performance than many popular web frameworks.
.NET Core is a cross-platform .NET implementation that allows you to build websites, servers, and console apps. It works on Windows, Linux, and macOS. Most third-party editors, such as Sublime, Emacs, and VI, work with .NET Core. .NET Core is the future — here’s why:
- Cross-platform – The decision of which OS your app will target depends on the context, the market, end users, and, in some cases, your development team. You know how hard it is to keep evolving with your end users’ preferences and needs, especially given that building an app from scratch for another OS would mean a new framework, team, and investments. In being cross-platform, .NET Core offers a simple solution that enables your C#, F#, and VB code to run on Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
- Open source – Open source projects entail faster release cycles, wide support, and modern tooling. User contributions guarantee that the framework will always keep up with changes in the market and will have practical use cases.
- ASP.NET Core – This collection of libraries linked to .NET Core forms a framework for building web applications. Beyond being trendy, apps based on this framework are currently one of the best options for any business. ASP.NET Core offers different types of web app, mobile backend, and IoT application development.
Xamarin is an open source app that allows you to build apps for iOS and Android with C# and .NET. It extends the .NET platform with tools and libraries specifically for building apps on iOS, Android, macOS, and more. This feature by itself should be more than enough to convince you to use it. However, for the sake of argument, here are some other benefits to using Xamarin.
- Time-efficient – Native apps are developed for one specific platform and developers need a lot of time to create a version for each one. Unlike other platforms, Xamarin allows you to develop source code for one platform that also works well on others. This method of mobile app development is convenient and saves time.
- C# – As Xamarin is based on C#, it carries most of its benefits to the mobile realm. C#’s type-safe, pure object-oriented programming can prove to be very helpful in easily creating complex functionalities with less effort.
- Outstanding UI – Xamarin provides you with a set of strong design tools. The Microsoft Visual Studio environment helps designers create incredible UI and UX.
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