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Rahul Mathur
Rahul Mathur

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Why Is It Beneficial to use .NET Core for Robust Web Application Development?

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Web application development has seen a massive transformation at the fundamental level in last 10 years. The traditional methods have been changed and now we are using innovative frameworks and technology stacks to develop modern software solutions, that can withstand the massive technical constraints while improve the business workflow and improve operational productivity.
However, the current web software development methodologies do have several shortcomings that may hamper a business from utilizing their abilities to manage the project. Due to cut throat competition and raid technological changes, it is important to have robust web development framework or methodology, that can provide a scalable, interoperable, cutting-edge, cross-platform, and a congenial web developmental environment for enterprises, that too without having the need for proprietary licenses and other license constraints, along with platform independent architectures. It is a basic pre-requisite to have a powerful and robust web development framework which can cater all the requirements of the organizations, while using the managed system to secure the code.

Microsoft launched .Net Framework

In the late 1990’s, Microsoft launched .Net framework, which was a managed framework for windows-based software development. It used a plethora of .NET-based programming languages, which were interoperable in nature and could be executed at runtime using a virtual machine, that is known as Common Language Runtime. This was a sort of revolution as this framework enabled the developer to build highly efficient and robust windows-based applications and web applications. .Net framework allowed developers to use object-oriented programming languages like C# and other C-based based language. Developers can swiftly manage their code and deploy the applications in a highly scaled manner. Several other factors like code execution at runtime using JIT complier, handling of garbage collection, and strong memory management gives a big advantage to .Net over the traditional non-managed development frameworks.

Evolution of .Net Core

However, the .NET framework had several shortcomings, that hinders its potential to become the first choice for tech firms and developers alike. It requires to have a proprietary license for Windows systems to use the .Net framework. Apart from that, it was designed to build windows-based systems, which was preventing the developers to use .Net frameworks. The biggest disadvantage of .Net framework was its rigid and static nature, which prevent developers to build web applications by using the Waterfall model. At the same time, due to the rapid expansion of the global software development ecosystem, the tech firms and developers were shifting to the modern DevOps and Agile development models, while due to increasing security concerns, the usage of Secure Software Development Life Cycle was on rise. This pushed the Microsoft to keep their invention rigor on and develop another fluid, robust, and flexible framework, which addressed all the above-mentioned concerns. This fresh framework was called .NET Core framework.
The .NET Core development framework combined all the important advantages of .NET framework, which helps the developers and technology firms to expand their ability to increase their productivity, enhance their development methodology, while keeping the overall cost under control and decrease the web application development time.

Benefits of .Net core for robust Web application development

.Net core provides numerous benefits to the developers and that is the reason why it has gained massive popularity off late. Here are some important benefits .Net Core offers.

Open source – If we talk about the most significant aspect which has influenced the programming in last 2 decades, then it is the Open-source movement. Almost everyone is vouching Open source frameworks for the projects, as it prevents unnecessary bureaucracy or command-control, it enables fast release cycles, seamless support, and modern toolset. This happens due lock-free distribution of users and resources. Open source also helps organizations to incorporate Agile, DevOps and several other emerging best practices, which can help the developers to tackle the real-world scenarios and uses cases, while designing modern and vivid development workflows.
.Net Core offers the flavors of Open Source to the developers, while they can utilize the .Net framework, which is familiar to them. As most of the issues are already fixed, the developers can keep their focus on the business case and other high-value functions, instead of reinventing the wheel. .Net Core framework enables developers to build web apps, while adding longevity as a feature, as this is not locked or dependent on any 3rd part vendor.
.Net core is an open-source framework, which enhances the probability of your project’s success, by diverting the budget to other important services such as change management, web application hosting, marketing, or even training. It reduces the overall cost of project ownership drastically. Open source capabilities also enables an enterprise to transform as the market transforms, without investing moolah in emerging areas, which may not bring an immediate return.

Cross-Platform – In traditional development method, the developers used to design the application while keeping a specific operating system(OS) or a platform in their mind. This decision is influenced by the context of the web application, the target market and geography, the end users, and the development team.
As the market and budgets are highly dynamic, and due to several factors, they can never be a linear entity. They are constantly emerging and evolving, and a developer or the organization must have the capability to adapt themselves with the rapidly changing business paradigm. For example, if you foresee an unpredictable increase in the number of end users, then you might have to add more resources to the web servers, database or other computing resources, which do mean bigger investment in the application infrastructure. During such a critical juncture, nobody will want to change the hosting of their web application hosting from Windows to Linux or vice-versa.
.Net framework had the similar challenges before the launch of .Net Core. Developers were already aware that they will be stuck with the Windows platform only, and they must pay hefty infrastructure and licensing costs, and they used to face the bottleneck while suddenly switch to any another platform. They had to build the application from the scratch to fulfil any such business requirement, which ultimately increase the application and infrastructure cost. However, with the release of .Net core, all such concerns were gone, and developers can use its cross-platform abilities to build platform independent web applications.

Portable Framework – As we know, the .Net Core framework is a sort of reinvention of .Net Framework. Earlier it was limited to the Windows platform only, but now it is coupled with some additional capabilities, which makes the .Net Core application executable on any possible platform or hardware. Developers can easily host .Net Core application on any hosting models, based on Linux, Windows, MacOS, or even execute it with the Docker. We can switch to different platform with ease whenever business needs it.
.Net Core allows developers to build their own server programmatically, which can incorporate all the computing power along with adequate reliability and security. It also provides enough flexibility to remove any 3rd party dependent feature of functionality if business demands.
According to several prominent technology surveys, .Net Core is among the most used frameworks, while it is the second most used server-side web application development framework after Node.js. If we talk about the web backend development, then JavaScript does have its own set of challenges and shortcomings, hence .Net core is all set to capture this domain with the support of new language like Go.

Matured Framework with multiple Programming Language support - The .Net framework is in the market for almost 2 decades now, it means millions of apps for plethora of domains and vertical have been built with it. It also means that most of its advantages and disadvantages are out in open. Developers use .Net Core due to its robust framework, which is duly supported by its massive developer community.
If we talk about the coding language, then it is important to understand that it not only makes day to day functions easier, but it also enhances the project productivity and mitigate unwarranted software bugs and errors. Another important aspect which influence the usage of .Net core is the support of multiple popular languages. According to Stack Overflow survey 2017, C# has been voted as the 3rd most used programming language of the year, and it offer full-fledged support for this framework.
C# was the launched with .Net framework as a most preferred language for programming on this framework. It offers a simpler syntax, along with strong memory management mechanisms. As far as the syntax is concerned, it is quite like the JavaScript syntax.
A C# developer can understand the JavaScript. It also helps them to add TypeScript into the application code, which makes the overall programming experience familiar and rich.

Enhanced Security – Application and Data security is getting more and more prominence these days. Having a web application hosted and exposed over the internet is a major vulnerability for any enterprise, and it is critical for any business to protect the application and user data. Any security lapse may cause terrible consequences for any organization, from a monetary to reputation loss, it can hit the business from all quarters. Here it is important to understand that few years back, web application security used to be very basic, HTTPS redirection used to be the biggest step, while CSRF or SQL Injection protection were other important aspects, which most of the developers used to take care.
However, the paradigm has been transformed since the advent of modern platforms and architectures, with the introduction of microservices and REST APIs, the security has become way too complex and necessary. If we talk about any modern web application, then we must hear several buzzwords such as Claim-based authorization, JWT Tokens, Policy-based authorization, payload protection, Resource-based authorization, IP safelisting, and ephemeral keys. These terms are highly technical, difficult to understand and even harder to implement.
Web applications do contain security-sensitive enterprise and user data, which is often called by the web app, such as security keys, user credentials, and connection strings. However, to maintain the information security, this information can never be stored in code, even if it is encrypted.
Here .Net Core comes as a life savior, it provides wide range of security mechanisms for data protection, authentication, authorization, and intrusion prevention. Developers can utilize Secret Manager and Data Protection API, along with Azure Key Vault Provider to ensure adequate protection to the user data, to generate keys, to rotate keys, or to create ephemeral keys. Developers can use these APIs and extend them to develop additional features to fulfil the requirements of the business scenarios. As far as the authentication is concerned, developers can use ASP.NET Core Identity to integrate their web application with external service providers.
.Net Core also offer necessary components, so that developers can enable two-factor authentication for their web application, this is considered as a must have capability for any web application these days, as it provides an extra layer of security for access and data.

Support for various Application Types – The Information Technology is spreading like a wildfire and every possible business type or vertical is availing the benefits of web applications. It doesn’t matter what domain a web application is catering, at a specific point it may be beneficial to build an application around it, which can help an organization to develop a solution for other markets and set of end users. With the .Net framework, one can easily build web applications for several domains such as mobile, gaming, AI, and IoT.
In recent years, more enterprises are moving ahead to capitalize the potential of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data. They are investing heavily to integrate these components in their web applications. You name the vertical or domain, from Marketing to Banking, form Healthcare to Education, .Net Core can support any sort of web applications for any sort of domain to make developers life easier. It offers massive number of free libraries, one can choose from millions of private and public on MyGet and NuGet, and then integrate them in the web applications by using CLI or IDE.

Full command-line support - Full command-line support is another advantage that .Net core offers to the developers. It is a proven fact, that not all .Net Core developers use Visual Studio for their programming needs, they do utilize and prefer command line support to execute their certain requirements. This is where .Net core scores big, as it gives an impressive command line interface to the developers, which seamlessly works on all platforms, and it also provides multiple templates to speed up the web development.
Support for Cloud-Based Web App Development – The modern businesses and enterprises often choose cloud-based solutions to cater their emerging needs and user expectations. Enterprises prefer .Net core and it offers several development services along with Internet of Things (IoT) services for the business. That is the reason why most of the .net development firms do offer .Net development services, as it helps them to develop robust solution to cater the requirements of scaled businesses. Also, the .net platform is quite easy to learn and understand, and it also assists the developers and project managers to manage the web application with ease.

Improved Performance – For any web application, the real time performance is certainly the most important aspect as far as its utility and popularity among the users is concerned. .Net Core provides regular enhancements and updates, that ensure code optimization and provides better programming results. It also gives another advantage to the developers, that they don’t need to make many changes in the code as .Net code compiler help them optimize the entire code for web application by utilizing the framework if required. As far as code performance is concerned, .Net Core offers way better performance if we compare it with other solutions and platforms in the market. As the backend, Microsoft keep pushing its experts to devise new ideas or workarounds, that can enhance the web application performance in the real-time.

Lesser Code –The modern applications and technology demand less coding and more execution. .Net Core allows developers to optimize the code structure while writing mush lesser code. It ultimately helps an organization to cut down the hours needed to develop a web application, which saves money and other resources as well. It helps an organization to make their web product more cost effective and market ready with less efforts.

Highly interactive client-side web UI – Using .Net core, developers can make interactive and immersive client-side web user interfaces in C# instead of Java using Blazor. Blazor shares server-side and client-side application workflows and logic written in .NET. It offers UI in the form of CSS and HTML for browser support, which can be run on all sort of devices including mobile phones. Blazor enables developers to utilize the .Net Core’s abilities to build client-side interfaces for web applications and single-page application (SPA), that are based on the principles of open web.

Interoperability with .NET Framework - .NET Core offers interoperability with the existing .NET Framework. It comes as a big advantage as developers can easily take reference of .NET Framework libraries. Though there are certain challenges, but developers can overcome certain limitations by using the use types supported by the .NET Standard. Also, Microsoft is mitigating these gaps and challenges with every release. Currently the .NET Standard 2.0 offers approximately 32,000 Application Program Interfaces (API) from the .NET Framework. This gives a much-needed flexibility to the developers and they can add several features and functionalities without facing any challenges.

Final words

The thumb rule is very simple, when you make the choice to select the right technology you’re your enterprise application, then don’t choose the most popular one, because that is the usual way in most of the cases. One should understand the ask of the application, the potential features, cost of ownership of framework and scaling abilities along with several other factors.
You should analyze and consider every reason that could add value to your business, like flexibility and cost reduction, performance, infrastructure and all the benefits that come from them. .Net Core is the right choice when you want something that is cross-platform and exceptionally fast, it is mature and stable while incorporate all the advantages of open-source component. It can be easily integrated with other databases, platforms, tools, and libraries.
If you choose .NET Core, you can avail the above benefits and can develop all variety of applications for different business areas and domains, while utilizing your existing technical experts and resources.

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