What Kind of Applications Can You Build Using Microsoft .NET? - Coffee with CIS - Latest News & Articles

What Kind of Applications Can You Build Using Microsoft .NET?

.NET by Microsoft is a free and open-source developer platform under the .NET Foundation which can be used for building many different types of software applications. These applications can be for desktop, web, games (including Xbox), mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), and the like.

The focus is on the data and the actions that need to be taken which reduces the time involved in app development. The deployment is simple as well.

.NET applications can run on many operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS using various implementations of .NET. This means that you can expand your app to other operating systems easily. Also, you can run different versions of the same application on a single machine. Besides being cross-platform, .NET is secure and provides the flexibility to use multiple languages, editors, and libraries for coding. It provides a secure environment and these advantages ensure that the operation costs get significantly reduced. Because of this, customers worldwide irrespective of their industry choose .NET for their business applications. This has led to the rise of companies providing asp .net development services. In this article, we will discuss the possible uses of .NET in developing applications as an individual or an organization.

World of possibilities using .NET

With .NET, it is possible for developers to target any application type running on any platform. There is no need for learning separate skills for coding according to the platform and hence the task of developers becomes easy. Developers do not have to build applications from scratch. The multi-tiered software architecture approach enables the separation of the functions for the processing of apps and data management. It aids in the development of flexible applications. You can easily add or remove any functionality without having to rework the entire application. This saves a lot of time which would have otherwise been wasted in frustration. 

The possible applications include mobile apps on iOS, Android, and Windows, enterprise server apps on Windows Server and Linux, and high-scale microservices in the cloud, among others. .NET Core implementation is used for websites, servers, as well as console apps. .NET Framework can be used for building websites, services, desktop apps, and other such applications on Windows. For the mobile operating systems, developers go for Xamarin/Mono implementation. All these implementations have a base set of application programming interfaces or APIs (.NET Standard). Based on the operating system, there would be some additional APIs as well.

.NET Framework includes the following components- a common language runtime (CLR), a framework class library (FCL), languages like ASP.NET, WinForms, and ADO.NET, and a bunch of other modules such as Card Space, Parallel LINQ, Entity Framework, and so on.

Microsoft Azure Solution supports a host of application programming languages that includes JavaScript (JS), .NET, Python, and Node.js. So, it has support for both frontend and backend languages. Also, the applications can be run outside the Web using these applications. Tools available even include support for software development kits (SDKs), Azure DevOps, and blockchain. Blockchain is relatively newer and security is crucial for its development.

With such a wide range of tools, it becomes possible to build robust enterprise products, both internal and public apps. If your software needs to scale with time-based on your business needs, then using asp .net development services is a good idea as it makes the task of redesigning existing applications less tedious.

Support for Multiple Languages

All categories of .NET apps can use any .NET compliant language(s) for the design and development process. .NET can drive both frontend and backend development. .NET apps can be written in C#, F#, or Visual Basic. These languages compile to an intermediate language (IL) that runs against the .NET runtime libraries. Other supported languages include A Sharp (.NET), IronPython, Boo, Fantom, Oxygene, among others. The condition when you hire dot net developers is that developers should know at least one of these languages well based on the requirements. Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) is usually used for running the code written in these languages. Discussed next are the popular choices that can be used during development.

  • C# (C Sharp)

Developed by Microsoft, it is a modern object-oriented and type-safe coding language that can be used for the development of large-scale applications. It has been approved as an ECMA as well as ISO standard. If you gave a basic understanding of object-oriented programming concepts and C language, then it is quite easy to get started with C# for frontend development. It is designed for CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) and is quite close to other popular languages like C++ and Java, so programmers can easily make the switch. 

It also removes the concepts of macros, templates, multiple inheritance, virtual base classes, and more present in these languages. For a robust Microsoft Azure solution when switching from infrastructure as a service (IaaS ), C# is the most common choice among developers.

  • F# (F Sharp)

F# is a strongly typed, cross-platform and open-source functional programming language that can be used for building .NET apps. It supports object-oriented and imperative programming too. When type inference is not possible but the type is necessary to be known, it will throw an error. Although, it is not as popular as C# yet. Initial versions of this coding language were designed by Microsoft and Microsoft Research in a closed development process. 

It is mainly suited for enterprise development as it can be used to solve complex computing issues which have constraints and demands with simple code. F# can be used to analyze Hadoop data as well. Most commonly used editors like VS Code and Vim have plugins and integrations for F#.

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  • Visual Basic 

Visual Basic is an approachable language with a simple syntax for building type-safe, object-oriented apps. It is syntactically different from C# but mostly all the equivalent features are available in both languages. It includes support for structured exception handling and short-circuited expressions too. Being a GUI-based tool, it offers a faster rapid application development (RAD) than many other existing programming languages. By using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), it becomes simple to customize MS Office apps like Excel and Powerpoint. However, the creation of open-source tools for NET development is comparatively slower than C#.

Applications that can be created using .NET

  • .NET Web Applications and Web Services

It is possible to develop programs that can execute to exchange data between the backend and frontend of Websites using XML. When a user sends requests over HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the webserver receives them. The web apps can be static or highly dynamic and advanced. If you are looking to become the best web development company, you should have experience with this.

You can integrate software functions for communication over the network using standards such as HTTP and XML. All Web services can be considered APIs. HTTP is used mainly for performing CRUD (Create, read, update and delete) operations. XML is mainly used for the representation of data structures that are used in web services.

  • Cloud

.NET enables developers to rapidly come up with modern and scalable cloud applications on all major cloud platforms via its vast set of tools and libraries. You can also move your existing .NET application to the cloud given the benefits. Usually, Azure cloud solutions are the go-to choice. This is due to the fact that Azure was created mainly for making the work of .NET developers easier. There are numerous project templates available to get started faster. Besides these, Azure App Service is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that gives debugging, publishing, and CI/CD tools for better productivity during app development, deployment, and advanced monitoring. You can run your code without having to worry about servers and need to pay only for the resources your program uses.

If you use Azure SignalR cloud service for hosting SignalR hubs, everything such as hosting, scalability, load balancing, and other similar details are taken care of. The docker containers provide a lightweight and efficient way to deploy .NET applications to the cloud. You can create scalable, globally redundant relational (SQL) as well as non-relational data stores (No SQL) and access them without any issues. Overall, Azure cloud solutions are quite suitable for modern, real-time, event-driven, and serverless compute experiences.

  • Windows Applications and Services

Since .NET is created by Microsoft, many people assume that it is for Windows applications only. While it is not true, a large number of applications are standard Windows applications such as the case of MS office. A Microsoft Technology Associate may be able to help if you are stuck in the middle of your project. 

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) enables development for any Windows 10 device including but not limited to PC, Xbox, HoloLens, tablet, Surface Hub, and Windows 10 IoT Core. Also, windows services that can execute on the system as background processes can be developed easily. These applications work simultaneously while other processes run on the same machine. Without GUI, they are usually run on the server. There are sessions for each Windows service.

Read the blog- Why do big business enterprises prefer ASP.NET development?

  • Game Development

.NET is a part of the comprehensive Game Stack by Microsoft too. It is used by millions of game engine and framework developers to create 2D and 3D games. It is mainly due to the fact that it can be used for safe cross-platform scripting across multiple gaming platforms such as Linux, Android, iOS, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo devices, among others. C# is the commonly used programming language in game development. 

You can smoothly build your own infrastructure using Microsoft Azure. You can work on mobile apps, websites, cloud, and online services as well in case you are looking to extend your game with one single platform. For example, Stride by Silicon Studios is a complete C# and .NET game engine. It is open-source and has a lot of advanced features. Another example is Wave Engine which is completely developed in .NET. It has a lot of great features such as spatial audio and most of its components are open-sourced.

  • Console Applications 

These are lightweight programs that run inside the command prompt in windows. They are usually designed for test applications and are used by developers. After taking inputs, output can be displayed at the command-line console. For this, there are three basic streams, namely, standard input, standard output, and standard error. Unlike GUI, console programs are generally monochromatic and only use ASCII art at times.

There is a class named Console to help in working with console applications using .NET. Remember to use either of the three methods -Console.ReadKey() or Console.Read() or Console.ReadLine() here too for viewing the output. A .NET core console app runs from the dll. When you need to run the application, you can simply use the command prompt and run the command - dotnet run inside your application folder.

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  • Microservices

Using microservices (design patterns or architectural style) is highly beneficial for large-scale applications. It allows you to build small and independent modules that are capable of communicating with each other using well-defined contracts instead of viewing the application as one single module. .NET platform allows you to come up with independently deployable, highly scalable & resilient services where the focus is on individual concepts. Testing becomes easier as you can work with isolated parts of your application and scaling can also be done separately. You can create APIs using ASP.NET, the web framework for .NET. Developers can use the Open Web Interface for .NET (OWIN) and the Nancy web framework to ease the process.

  • Mobile Applications 

With the growing use of mobiles and other devices such as tablets, the app segment in this sector has grown rapidly. .NET can be used to develop such applications that can run on different browsers without breaking and provide access to whatever the user needs from different devices. By using the Xamarin platform, you can build native Android, watchOS, macOS, iOS, tvOS, and Windows apps. Unity or MonoGame might be better suited in certain cases though.

Traditionally speaking, you first create a new project for a single platform, let’s say, Android. But if you plan on creating your application for multiple platforms, use the Forms UI framework. When it comes to backend development, Visual Studio App Center is the more obvious choice due to the features it can offer. You can use frameworks, tools, and libraries of your choice in order to access native APIs and 2D graphics.

Read the blog- Why is asp.net and C# programming popular for businesses?

  • Machine Learning

ML.NET is a free and open-source machine learning (ML) framework that .NET developers can work with. After developing custom machine learning models, you can integrate them into your existing .NET applications. The learning curve is not so high and you do not need a lot of prior machine learning experience. It usually works with the C# and F# programming languages. But when used with NimbusML, you can develop Python models as well. 

The cloud-based service Azure ML can be used for creating and deploying predictive analytics solutions. It can be used to develop applications with features like emotion and sentiment detection, language understanding, vision and speech recognition, search, and much more. You can see the use in Windows Hello if you have worked with Windows OS.

  • Class Libraries 

You can create class libraries that have reusable components that need to be created just once for use in multiple applications. Since .NET is mainly OOP-based, you can define several classes which can also contain static methods and interfaces as well as support inheritance. 

These classes support functions such as input/output and stream operations, creation of Windows-based GUI applications, creation of web-client and server applications, exception handling, different types of data types, and much more. As usual, you need to include the reference to the library that has been created if you wish to use the functionality anywhere else.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of things (IoT) is basically a connection of physical objects that have sensors, software, and other technologies for connecting and communicating with each other. The data exchange between devices is possible via the Internet. .NET can be used to create IoT systems using embedded devices and meet the modern consumer demands. 

It supports most of the available sensors (such as DHT temperature and humidity sensors, accelerometers, gas sensors), displays, as well as input devices that use general-purpose IO, SPI, I2C, PWM, and serial port interfaces. If you are working with GrovePi, Adafruit Seesaw, Sense HAT, and the like, you can use .NET. You can run your software applications on HummingBoard, BeagleBoard, Raspberry Pi, Pine A64, and more.

Things to keep in mind

Before getting started with the development, there are a few things that need to be considered.

  • Prefer relational or SQL-based databases: First, .NET may not be able to support the database design that you plan on using. It is a safer option to prefer relational or SQL-based databases during the development process. It supports popular non-relational databases too. Otherwise, check beforehand if your choice is right in the long run. 
  • Consulting a good company/developer: .Net framework maintains a regular check every now and then to make sure that there are no issues such as infinite loops during execution, leakage of memory, and so on. Some features can help in destroying these issues without having to manually do much. But sometimes, developers need to design solutions for preventing memory leaks. Even after incorporating solutions to avoid memory-related issues, detection and sorting mechanisms are required. You can consult the best web development company based on your research to guide you through this process.
  • Check for compatibilities: Also, in case you plan to transition to .NET core, you need to check for compatibility of different features and resources available. The latest release after .NET Core following 3.1 is .NET 5.0. This direct jump of version has support for even more categories of apps and more platforms than the existing .NET Core and .NET Framework. ASP.NET Core 5.0 is based on .NET 5.0 and is different from ASP.NET MVC 5. 
  • Microsoft partner is preferable: If you plan on using it for non-profit and educational purposes, you can have access to Visual Studio Community. But to get free subscriptions for most additional services that you will most likely require during the development process, you need to be a Microsoft Partner. 

Otherwise, you would have to spend a lot of money to have the license for using additional services for simpler and faster work. This can be especially difficult for a startup wanting to turn its vision into reality. In other cases, if you are planning to migrate to the Microsoft ecosystem, then also you might encounter this barrier. During migration, you need to compare what is supported and what is not. You can take the opinion of a Microsoft Technology Associate. Any individual who has earned the MTA certificate will have enough knowledge about this.

  • Good support is always a must: Without community support, you might run into numerous technical problems that can lead to a waste of time and money. If you want the project to run smoothly, it is necessary that the products have good documentation and support. This can be a big issue at times. So, make sure that you have the right resources before beginning the project.

Conclusion

You can basically create any application that you wish to, using Microsoft .NET but proper research is necessary. The bigger question is whether you want to go for it and what technologies you should use for long-term support. The right set of tools will need less money and therefore the application has the potential of earning more profits. Be prepared for unexpected changes and if support for a particular tool or technology ends, you must be able to think of a solution that fits your budget. When you hire dot net developers, look at whether they have the relevant skills that meet your project requirements. The proper stacking of tools during designing, development, and testing will help your project get completed successfully.