Now that we know some basics of .NET, let us see what makes .NET a wonderful platform for developing modern applications•
• Rich Functionality out of the box .
NET framework provides a rich set of functionality out of the box. It contains hundreds of classes that provide variety of functionality ready to use in your applications. This means that as a developer you need not go into low level details of many operations such as file IO, network communication and so on.
• Easy development of web applications
ASP.NET is a technology available on .NET platform for developing dynamic and data driven web applications. ASP.NET provides an event driven programming model (similar to Visual Basic 6 that simplify development of web pages (now called as web forms) with complex user interface. ASP.NET server controls provide advanced user interface elements (like calendar and grids) that save lot of coding from programmer’s side.
• OOPs Support
The advantages of Object Oriented programming are well known. .NET provides a fully object oriented environment. The philosophy of .NET is – “Object is mother of all.” Languages like Visual Basic.NET now support many of the OO features that were lacking traditionally. Even primitive types like integer and characters can be treated as objects – something not available even in OO languages like C++.
• Multi-Language Support
Generally enterprises have varying skill sets. For example, a company might have people with skills in Visual Basic, C++, and Java etc. It is an experience that whenever a new language or environment is invented existing skills are outdated. This naturally increases cost of training and learning curve. .NET provides something attractive in this area. It supports multiple languages. This means that if you have skills in C++, you need not throw them but just mould them to suit .NET environment. Currently four languages are available right out of the box namely – Visual Basic.NET, C# (pronounced as C-sharp), Jscript.NET and
Managed C++ (a dialect of Visual C++). There are many vendors that are working on developing language compilers for other languages (20+ language compilers are already available). The beauty of multi language support lies in the fact that even though the syntax of each language is different, the basic capabilities of each language remain at par with one another
• Automatic memory management
While developing applications developers had to develop an eye on system resources like memory. Memory leaks were major reason in failure of applications. .NET takes this worry away from developer by handling memory on its own. The garbage collector takes care of freeing unused objects at appropriate intervals.
• Compatibility with COM and COM+
Before the introduction of .NET, COM was the de-facto standard for componentized software development. Companies have invested lot of money and efforts in developing COM components and controls. The good news is – you can still use COM components and ActiveX controls under .NET. This allows you to use your existing investment in .NET applications. .NET still relies on COM+ for features like transaction management and object pooling. In fact it provides enhanced declarative support for configuring COM+ application right from your source code. Your COM+ knowledge still remains as a valuable asset.
• No more DLL Hell
If you have worked with COM components, you probably are aware of “DLL hell”. DLL conflicts are a common fact in COM world. The main reason behind this was the philosophy of COM – “one version of component across machine”. Also, COM components require registration in the system registry. .NET ends this DLL hell by allowing applications to use their own copy of dependent DLLs. Also, .NET components do not require any kind of registration in system registry.
• Strong XML support
Now days it is hard to find a programmer who is unaware of XML. XML has gained such a strong industry support that almost all the vendors have released some kind of upgrades or patches to their existing software to make it “XML compatible”. Currently, .NET is the only platform that has built with XML right into the core framework. .NET tries to harness power of XML in every possible way. In addition to providing support for manipulating and transforming XML documents, .NET provides XML web services that are based on standards like HTTP, XML and SOAP.
• Ease of deployment and configuration
Deploying windows applications especially that used COM components were always been a tedious task. Since .NET does not require any registration as such, much of the deployment is simplified. This makes XCOPY deployment viable. Configuration is another area where .NET – especially ASP.NET – shines over traditional languages. The configuration is done via special files having special XML vocabulary. Since, most of the configuration is done via configuration files, there is no need to sit in front of actual machine and configure the application manually. This is more important for web applications; simply FTPing new configuration file makes necessary changes.
• Security Windows platform was always criticized for poor security mechanisms. Microsoft has taken great efforts to make .NET platform safe and secure for enterprise applications. Features such as type safety, code access security and role based authentication make overall application more robust and secure.