What is ASP.NET?
ASP.NET is part of the .NET Framework, a group of .NET platforms providing mobile computing, embedded devices, alternative operating systems, and web browser plug-in services. The .NET Framework was originally proprietary Microsoft software but became standardized soon after its initial release. It’s now free and open source. Microsoft has worked to evolve .NET to the more modern model of community-based software development to alleviate patent concerns that developers in free and open-source software communities had.
Within .NET, ASP.NET is a server-side web application framework created for web development that can produce dynamic web pages.
ASP.NET, originally called ASP+, began its journey in 2002 with the first version of the .NET Framework. It succeeded Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) technology, an element of its Internet Information Server (IIS) product. Programmers can use any backed .NET language to write ASP.NET code because ASP.NET is built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR).
ASP and ASP.NET both support the building of dynamic web pages. A dynamic web page displays different content each time it is viewed. Queries are inserted into a relational database on the page. Within dynamic web pages, there are two different types of programming language scripting. If client-side scripting is used in the creation of a dynamic web page, the page will change in response to actions taken on the page. If server-side scripting is used in the creation of a dynamic web page, the page will change in response to it being loaded. PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, ColdFusion, and Perl are all examples of server-side scripting languages that support web pages that respond to submission events. Microsoft wanted programmers to be able to build compelling web sites, web applications, and web services using the ASP and ASP.NET tools.
While ASP and ASP.NET both support dynamic web pages, there are two big reasons why ASP.NET is the second generation and often the better choice:
- First, it supports code written in compiled languages, like Visual Basic, C++, C#, and Perl.
- Second, it has server controls that can separate code from content, which allows WYSIWYG editing of pages.
ASP.NET is not backward compatible with ASP, meaning it can’t be used with the older piece of software without special modifications. It can, however, run alongside ASP and its applications. ASP.NET files are differentiated from ASP by their .aspx extension.
Let’s now look at why ASP.NET might be right for your project.
First, the advantages:
- Three-tier architecture. A client-server architecture where the development and maintenance of individual modules representing the functional process logic, data access, computer data storage and user interface happen on separate platforms. This is a well-established software design pattern.
- Code runs on the Windows server before displaying on the web browser, making it a great server-side scripting tool.
- Applications are secured by built-in windows authentication and per-application configuration.
- Applications are closely monitored and managed to make them perpetually available for request handling.
- Dynamic web pages generated can contain a mixture of ASP code and HTML that work well together.
- Built-in configurations make it easy to deploy new applications with ASP.NET.
- Simplified maintenance.
- Select the programming language that best suits your project. The .NET Framework is language agnostic. That makes it compatible with approximately 55 programming languages.
- Quick web application development.
- Fewer lines of code are needed to develop large applications.
- High-performance features, including early binding, JIT compilation, caching services, and native optimization.
- WYSIWIG, a tool within Visual Studio ASP.NET is the future of ASP.NET. It’s great for enterprise level, small or large, web application development.
- Web pages, components, and applications running through the Windows server are monitored with precision.
- Consistent programming model.
- ASP.NET automatically eliminates memory leaks, unbound loops, and other illegal behavior. Before doing so, it provides an alert and then restarts after the eliminations.
- Straightforward security assistance.
- Simple to learn and install
- Many free online code tutorials and snippets.
Now, we’ll go through a few disadvantages of ASP.NET:
Overall maintenance is resource intensive.
- Application Architecture is undefined and does not contain a Separation of Concerns (SoC).
- Uses more web server resources, requiring more or better servers, than other languages.
- Complicated pages can develop performance issues.
- Limited abstraction and control over HTML.
- Finite assistance with testing and SEO.
- Inadequate reusability and ability for parallel development.
- History of susceptibility to bugs and security vulnerabilities.
- May be challenging for some to learn.
So, there’s a high-level look at ASP.NET.
As with any technology, depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different perspective on the benefits and disadvantages of usage. Make sure to do your own evaluation of the tools that may be able to support your project before committing.
If you’d like additional information on ASP.NET, help evaluating the the right tools for your web development project, or just have general questions about where to begin with all of this, Nixa.ca is a great resource.