What is .NET?
.NET is Microsoft’s open-source development platform for creating various types of applications. With support for both web and desktop applications (as well as cloud-based), it’s a solid choice for digital solutions with a wide range of features.
.NET in a nutshell? A free, cross-platform development framework providing the highest level of stability and security. Constantly evolving, the platform has already been updated more than 100,000 times by 3,700+ OSS companies.
What can you build with .NET?
.NET is known for its versatility – it can manage almost any kind of development task that you may encounter. Whether you are a corporate giant or a nimble startup, .NET has features specifically tailored to scale from the smallest to the largest projects.
.NET technology can also be used for implementing the APIs of your microservices through the web framework ASP.NET. With its built-in support and open-source capabilities, you can supercharge your development process and create top-notch projects with powerful tools at your fingertips.
Use .NET to develop dynamic, interactive websites and web applications for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Handle even data-heavy websites to get the most out of its potential speed.
Mobile apps that are compatible and look good on every device? Develop apps for iOS, Android, and Windows from one single codebase.
Develop native Windows and macOS apps that run anywhere using web technologies.
Use .NET to create 2D or 3D games, then quickly build and integrate efficient code into them.
Prototype high-performance models with intuitive coding structures – an ideal choice for those who are looking to integrate AI capabilities into their products.
Deploy your own cloud services or make use of existing ones – .NET gives you the opportunity to host your app on one of the major cloud platforms.
Internet of Things
Leverage open-source libraries and frameworks and build IoT apps that run on Raspberry Pi, HummingBoard, BeagleBoard, Pine A64, and more.
Benefits of using .NET
.NET design point:
The .NET platform stands for Productivity, Performance, Security, and Reliability. The balance .NET strikes between these values is what makes it attractive.
.NET can provide many potential benefits to your development process. It is a powerful framework for developing applications with streamlined workflows, improved security features, and the ability to write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms. But the benefits of .NET don’t stop there.
.NET allows for a sky-high level of efficiency. This dynamic environment with common libraries and tools makes it possible for developers to work more efficiently. What’s more, the platform’s tools make it possible to implement many elements out of the box without the need for custom elements (e.g., thanks to LINQ). Not to forget that .NET connects with multiple languages, classic libraries, and popular APIs, as well as Visual Studio Family.
This better performance is also thanks to C# code, which runs faster than it does in other environments using different programming languages. As a compiled language, C# compares favorably to Python, an interpreted language – its performance is limited by the interpreter used (CPython or PyPy). Compared to Java, C# has similar compilation times, and application performance benchmark tests show slightly faster results for the latter.
The .NET platform also facilitates automatic memory management with a garbage collector – it manages memory allocation and release for applications. This eliminates the need to write memory management code during development. It can also avoid common problems such as forgetting to release objects from memory, causing memory leaks, or trying to access memory for an object that has already been released.
Keeping data safe and reliable
.NET is considered the most secure platform for developing web and mobile applications. No wonder – being built and still actively supported by Microsoft makes the framework stable, secure, and trustworthy. Furthermore, .NET applications don’t require external libraries or tools – they’re built with ready-made “building blocks” that meet security requirements.
Easy to launch and maintain
.NET is based on object-oriented programming, which simplifies the process and makes code more manageable and easier to test. Moreover, .NET allows for reusing code and components – reducing redundant programming, cutting costs, and saving time (as apps can be developed faster).
.NET as a platform is very flexible – you can write applications in one language and framework and run them in different environments and on different devices. If certain conditions are met, you can run the developed app on any environment – whether it’s Windows, Linux, or macOS.
Let me show you how it works in a real-life example. In preparation for a conference speech, I wrote an application for my Windows 11 computer with an Intel processor, which I then ported to a Raspberry Pi – a computer with a completely different processor architecture and operating system [Raspberry Pi usually runs on Linux and a different processor architecture]. Without changing a single line of code, I was able to compile a Windows-targeted project then run it on Linux and on a different processor architecture than this application was typically implemented on.
.NET is a platform that can meet the business needs of both large and growing companies. The platform’s C# language makes it easy to find developers, as there are plenty of specialists familiar with it. What’s more, the code is easy to maintain and adding new functionalities is fairly straightforward.
.NET has the advantage of a large (more than five million developers using it worldwide) and active community that continuously contributes to the platform. There are native libraries for SQL databases, Postgres databases, and NoSQL databases all created by Microsoft or by a community that the .NET Foundation supports. This is a kind of guarantee that if, for example, a library is used by a lot of people/projects (even if the author stops supporting it), the .NET Foundation will not stop supporting that library.
When to use .NET (and when to avoid it)?
.NET is a great choice for web and desktop applications requiring security and stability. That’s why the platform is ideally suited to industries like healthcare, accounting, hospitality, fintech, and banking.
Let’s see .NET in action: Inwedo created an app for the ultra-fresh food production company, Green Factory. By deploying technology powered by .NET, we were able to facilitate order management and minimize losses caused by expired products. Read more about this Green Factory use case. 🌿
.NET is especially useful in the following scenarios:
➡️ Your product must be scalable
With .NET, you can re-design and scale applications according to your business needs. It is for this reason that the .NET platform is so attractive to both enterprises and startups.
➡️ Your product must be cross-platform compatible
The .NET environment includes tools for different platforms and facilitates the development of cross-platform applications. It helps reduce development efforts to extend products to other operating systems easily.
➡️ Your product needs enterprise-scale infrastructures
.NET provides the infrastructure to create and integrate complex solutions for corporations. As a result of the abovementioned scalability, businesses are able to keep up with their growing needs.
C# and .NET are not suited to so-called real-time applications – in cases where it is necessary to respond to an event immediately (within nanoseconds) or to synchronize to the CPU clock level (the smallest unit of time when the CPU is running). This is all caused by low control over the code when it is compiled into machine form and then run on the processor.
Is .NET a good choice for a startup?
Selecting the appropriate technology and programming language in the MVP stage is crucial since it can enhance the project’s scalability and maintainability.
.NET is a flexible and powerful platform enabling startups to develop and deliver software applications quickly. It includes numerous functionalities allowing developers to build and expand their applications to adapt to growing users and traffic and avoid technical debt.
.NET provides a wide array of verified and restricted tools and libraries that streamline the software development process, resulting in faster development and fewer bugs. This saves startups valuable time to bring their products to the market swiftly.
What sets .NET apart from other technologies is its close integration with other Microsoft solutions. .NET includes dedicated libraries for business components support (Active Directory), cloud platforms (Azure), Visual Studio, and SQL Server, making it easier for startups to integrate these technologies into their software applications.
Microsoft’s technology and business support program for startups makes it easier to use these tools. The Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is a platform that helps startups from idea to exit. It provides resources such as free cloud credits or software and technical advice. Becoming a member of the program means receiving a variety of benefits that aim to accelerate growth, guide at important stages and increase the chances of success for startups.
Why do we use .NET for custom software development?
As a .NET development company, we find its flexibility and scalability to be unmatched.
.NET is the platform that lets us bring our customers even better solutions, more tailored to their needs. It helps our developers work faster and more efficiently – always keeping the users in mind. As a result, we are able to deliver even more stable, secure, and scalable solutions that are highly responsive and perform at their best.
Still have some questions? You can count on our skilled .NET team for professional assistance. Let us know how we can help.
FAQs: .NET software development
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about developing software in .NET.
1. Which .NET languages does Microsoft support?
Although C# is the language that Microsoft emphasizes and considers as the main .NET language, there are also other programming languages that a .NET code developer can use.
.NET provides support for these three programming languages:
- C# – an object-oriented programming language; considered the main programming language for .NET; type-safe (ensures that each type is internally consistent).
- F# – a functional-oriented programming language; simplifies the writing of robust, efficient, and neat code.
- Visual Basic – Microsoft’s oldest programming language, rarely seen and no longer updated (neither dead nor alive).
2. How to implement .NET?
NET can be implemented in four ways:
- .NET Core – open source; runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux (NET 7 is the latest version of this implementation of the .NET platform).
- .NET Framework – the original implementation of the .NET platform, which has been around since 2002; it supports the development and running of Windows applications and web services.
- Xamarin/Mono – mainly used when a small runtime environment is required; runs on Android, macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
- UWP (Universal Windows Platform) – used to develop applications for Windows 10 and Windows 11.
3. What is the .NET Standard?
The .NET Standard was created to improve compatibility across the various implementations of the .NET platform. It provided a set specification that could be used when sharing code between different versions, from .NET Framework to Core, without any extra hassle or effort. With the release of more recent updates like the introduction of .NET version 5 and later, there has been an evolution in uniformity – leaving old standards behind but still reserving support for version 2.1 and prior releases where needed.
4. Which tools are included in the .NET platform?
.NET has revolutionized the way that developers create software applications. As it integrates multiple libraries and frameworks into one platform, this makes it easier for a .NET software developer to create superior programs.
- ASP.NET – a web development framework for building web apps, web APIs, and services.
- Blazor – a platform for developing client web apps using the C# language and WebAssembly code.
- MAUI – a new framework for developing mobile and desktop apps.
- ML.NET – open source and cross-platform framework for integrating machine learning models into .NET apps.
- Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) – a graphical user interface for developing Windows desktop apps.
- Xamarin – a framework used to develop cross-platform mobile, TV, and desktop apps.