The dream of perhaps every developer is to write code in a universal language which will be well-suited for any kind of software. However, the software development presents so many problems which require different solutions. One or another language leaves its benefits and drawbacks on a certain software and solves one issue when it might fail to resolve another. For instance, Ruby and PHP are good for web apps, where C++ will be right for low-level system programming.
Nevertheless, in 1999 Microsoft decided to start the development of .NET Framework in order to present an infrastructure capable of providing everything needed for any software out of the box. This is the programming infrastructure designed for development of desktop, mobile applications, and web services.
The initial idea behind a new framework was to combine Microsoft’s existing and future best practices to enable users to work with the World Wide Web through wireless devices that have access to the Internet. Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive officer of Microsoft, said that despite the great potential of home computers, the corporation needed to consider the importance of the new generation of mobile devices. Not focusing only on stationary computers and switching to mobile-side development were considered a very rational decision in the frame of the modern technology. For this reason, other goals of the development of the new platform were to unite all the most successful achievements within a single platform. In addition, the task was to follow all the relevant trends in programming at that time such as the idea that the new platform should directly support object-oriented, security types, garbage collection, and structured exception handling.
Today .NET Framework is very popular and widely used among developers, especially among those who work within Microsoft Windows community. Also, many developers choose to learn it from scratch because it is a leading platform for application development on the whole and because developers aspire career prospects of this technology.
While designing .NET platform, Microsoft intended to make many features possible within one framework. It is aimed to facilitate the development and work with the familiar languages and services while targeting various devices and OSes.
Here are the concepts included into the framework:
- Thanks to centralized data storage, it becomes possible to increase efficiency, simplify the access to information, ensure information synchronization across various devices;
- Integration of different communications media including e-mails, phones, etc;
- Automatic update and synchronization of user information across a wide range of computing devices working together;
- Creation of reusable modules in order to increase productivity and reduce the number of programming errors;
- XML increases interactive capability for web sites;
- Type safety prevents ill-defined casts, wrong method invocations, and memory size issues when accessing an object;
- Cross-platform framework that makes implementations available for other OSes;
- Memory management by detecting when memory can be safely freed;
- Security mechanism with two general features: Code Access Security (CAS), and validation and verification.
Microsoft offers a full-fledged environment for .NET development. It considers every sphere of our lives where software can be implemented including desktop applications, web services, mobile apps, games, and Internet of Things.
Let’s study closer the possibilities within different technology that are parts of .NET framework:
.NET supports multiple open source programming languages such as C#, F#, and Visual Basic.
Web Services - ASP.NET
ASP.NET is the free web framework allowing to dynamically build Web pages on the fly by inserting queries to a relational database in the Web page. It supports code written in compiled languages such as Visual Basic, C++, C#, and Perl, and it features server controls that can separate the code from the content, allowing WYSIWYG editing of pages.
ASP.NET has the advantage of speed compared to scripting technology, because when first accessed, the code is compiled and placed in a special cache, and subsequently only executed, without requiring time for parsing, optimization, and so on. An expanding set of controls and class libraries allows you to quickly develop applications. Another beneficial feature of ASP.NET is the separation of the visual part and business logic.
Mobile development - Xamarin
Xamarin framework (C#-shared codebase) is one of the most efficient ways for development of cross-platform mobile applications. C# language allows to re-use the existing code and share it across devices iOS, Android, Windows Phone devices, which provides native experience.
Xamarin is a top-notch tool for fast and efficient mobile development. It is cross-platform development providing native look and feel, separating coding languages and UI paradigms. Xamarin team constantly improves and enhances their product, so future of this framework is promising.
Microsoft owns Xbox game console, so of course, Microsoft is interested in providing developers with everything needed for development of games for this console. .NET and C# can work along with one of several gaming engines such as Unity, CryEngine, etc.
.NET allows also to develop Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications for Raspberry Pi, MinnowBoard MAX, DragonBoard 410c, and other devices with Windows 10 IoT Core.
Obviously, .NET is a large framework thought-through to the details in order to provide developers with anything needed for convenient software development. Various multiple languages, the variety of targeted platform, huge community, and Microsoft support make this platform incredible for those who love programming and who do not focus on something one either it is a desktop apps, web applications or mobile ones, but to have the possibility to deliver apps for any platform convenient to user.
Of course, .NET has its own disadvantages. For instance, time consumption may be more in some cases, the framework offers limited object-relational (OR) support, it is not suitable for a high-end application. However, it does not prevent it from being one of the most popular technology nowadays, used by multiples companies and developers including 25,000 developers and 1,700 companies who contribute to the open source framework, allowing it to grow and develop with the world itself.