Over a million developers have joined DZone.
{{announcement.body}}
{{announcement.title}}

Why Use ASP.NET for Web Development

DZone's Guide to

Why Use ASP.NET for Web Development

·
Free Resource

Introduction

I have been struggling with my friends and been arguing with them to find out the difference between ASP.NET and other programming languages and have been searching for the answer, to why should one use ASP.NET to develop the websites, when one can easily develop the website using PHP, Node.js, etc.

This article has (not all, but) most of the points that one has in his mind about ASP.NET. I will try to explain why one should use ASP.NET over other programming languages.

Background

I am a student of Computer Science and it's my hobby to ask question related to technology, and around me, there are some highly professional developers studying Software Engineering in the University. Oh well, they're all older than me, and since they're older, they use the old methods of programming and backward syntax, etc.

So I always keep asking them, "Hey, can you do this with your programming language?" - and sometimes I get a good answer to that too. It's not like ASP.NET is always the only way to go.

Why People Hate ASP.NET

We know ASP.NET is developed by Microsoft, and Microsoft like all other giants has some business rivals, who're never done exposing Microsoft to be evil. But they're evil just in the same way as Microsoft is, it's business.

The very first reason to hate ASP.NET and to not use it is that is was developed by Microsoft and is not an open-source project. Ok, you must believe me in this because I can support my line with this survey on the CodeProject, Do you feel Open Source software is better than proprietary software? where you can easily find that 42.41% people have voted "Yes". Only because they can edit/modify the package of the language and make it a better taste for themselves. This is the only reason people love Android more than iOS or Windows Phone.

Survey report Open Source

Oh well, ASP.NET has also gone Open Source, to remove the downvote of the open source lovers. But still, the standard of the ASP.NET has not fallen. 

http://www.asp.net/open-source

Why They're Wrong!

Well, people don't try ASP.NET by just reading about it being a product of Microsoft and then skip it. Atleast they must once try it out, I myself started from PHP, but I shifted to ASP.NET as soon as I wrote the first web page.

Hide Copy Code
@{
   Page.Title = "Try out ASP.NET";
}

<div>
ASP.NET can be this much simple for you if you want it to be simple.
</div>

The above code is enough, and is not the smallest limit ASP.NET can reach, it can accept the least amount of code to be a single element or nothing.

Note: The above example is from ASP.NET Web Pages.

There are many points about which I have had a chat about with my fellow students, the first of them was the...

Syntax

The syntax of ASP.NET as compared to other languages is insanely simple and easy to write and interpret. For example, following is a simple PHP code, to sum up two integer values and then print their sum (or return it), if they're not integer throw an error.

Hide Copy Code
function add($a, $b) {
    if (is_int($a) && is_int($b)) {
        return $a + $b;
    }
    // throw error
}

.. now have a look at the ASP.NET code to do this,

Hide Copy Code
int add(int a, int b) {
    return a + b;
}

Pretty neat I would say. Not only this, creating other stuff that is a part of programming is really easy and fast in ASP.NET relative to other programming languages. You can see, a professional PHP developer would be able to get to the core concepts of the first code, whereas anyone can understand the second code, it takes two integer values and returns their sum.

One thing I have noticed here is that the PHP code is more vulnerable to a RunTime error, since it is a loosely typed language and you don't have to worry about the data being passed to it, but ASP.NET does care about it. You cannot pass a string where integer is required so you stop the code from even entering the method if the parameters are not int catching it either on the compile time and making a fix there or getting an error if somehow the values alter later.

Flavour

Well, this is not actually a difference, but a plus point to ASP.NET that I told my friends, that ASP.NET is shipped with .NET Framework, so they can develop their applications over the .NET Framework, which is a part of the Windows OS.

If you have bought a new system that comes with Windows OS, you might know there is a Framework called .NET Framework, that is the main component of these products of the Microsoft. Since ASP.NET runs on .NET Framework, you can write the ASP.NET server-side code in either one of the languages below:

  1. C#
  2. VB.NET
  3. Visual C++
    I have never seen anyone do that, and neither should anyone do it. But .NET Framework allows you to write applications in Visual C++ too. Managed C++ can be used to write the programs that will run on .NET Framework and will help you build your ASP.NET web application.

PHP developers were silent at that moment! Because all they had was a single syntax they always had to follow. With ASP.NET, you get more flavours to add, and if you're an old programmer and have a good hold on C++, you can develop ASP.NET websites easily, VB.NET programmers and the Visual C# programmers, neither one has to worry. They're all welcomed to program ASP.NET web applications. The .NET Framework has them covered at the backend.

Common languages

Tools

Well, PHP has some great third-party tools for editing and running, Apache 2.0 server is available MySQL databases etc, but ASP.NET, even is developed by Microsoft, has free tools and better and competitive tools for the developers to test and develop their application.

There is a free tool by Microsoft, WebMatrix that is specially designed for the starters of the ASP.NET technology, or those who develop indie or personal websites. That software is free, and comes shipped with SQL Server CE and has a built-in SQL Server Manager to let you manage the database that you're having.

Step further, you can get the Visual Studio Express, that is for free and lets you develop some intermediate level software and an enterprise level web applications too.

Although PHP editors are all third party so they're always free, and the server they use is also for free, but ASP.NET includes IIS, that is free and anyone can use it. Infact until Windows XP it was a part of the OS. ASP.NET it again a better choice to work with.

Managing the data

In ASP.NET, since you develop the applications using C#, you can create simple classes of the data and then work with the data using those classes inside your application without having to worry about any side-code.

ADO.NET is a part of ASP.NET (.NET Framework) that lets you work with data. You might be familiar with LINQ, that enables you to work with data, slicing and dicing of the data is a great plug point in ASP.NET.

Whereas you can still do that in PHP, you will require to write the code yourself. You can include third-party plugins to lessen the pain of code, but in ASP.NET you get all these features built-in directly on the .NET Framework.

I won again and my friends were again not able to convince me.

ASP.NET itself

ASP.NET itself is a basic implementation of the .NET Framework over the Internet services and the websites. You can create as much projects as you want, and run on the same server. Almost all of the major companies are running on ASP.NET because it lets you gain control of it yourself.

C# and other .NET languages let you create your own modules, use some library tools from MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and create your own web applications. ASP.NET is vast enough for you to develop any sort of application, and you don't even have to worry about the platform, thanks to the Mono Project, you can now write the ASP.NET applications on the non-Windows OS too. Before Mono Project, PHP was the multi-platform language, but now, ASP.NET too is a multi-platform language.

ASP.NET framework

You can learn more about ASP.NET by using it, I am just here to tell why to use ASP.NET, not how to use ASP.NET.

From personal To Enterprise

ASP.NET comes shipped with the sizes of packages that fit for the individuals to the companies. In the above image Web Pages is a framework for the personal site developers, it is a simple and easy to port framework, that can be used to create a simple About Me website.

If you're having a small business, you can always still use the Web Pages, to develop it. But as your business grows so does ASP.NET. ASP.NET allows you to use MVC framework model in which you develop a web application, and ASP.NET lets you totally change the way the application is controlled and used. You can edit Models, Controllers and Views to change the content of the application, you can set your own variables and so on.

ASP.NET has a great way of implementing security for each individual and each website.

Security Features

ASP.NET is more secure than PHP, PHP is more secure than ASP.NET!

Don't think there is typo above, a beginner will always make mistakes in the code and will create an unsecure application. But, ASP.NET has some methods of its own that make it better and secure. SQL Injection can be prevented using the SqlParameters, that allow us to minimize the injection.

ASP.NET has a security namespace that defines all the methods that a company can use to protect its system. You can create Roles, use Membership class, etc.

HTML style editing

In ASP.NET, you can stylize the document on the runtime. PHP doesn't let you do this!

Shorter code, more function!

ASP.NET lets you write less code and has more functions, like jQuery in JavaScript! For example, emails, in ASP.NET a single lined code can send email to the clients.

Sending Emails Easily Using ASP.NET Helpers is the article I have written relating to ASP.NET code to send emails.

Not only these...

You have many more options, if you ever fall into trouble, there are many communities of other developers that like to help you out, for example CodeProject, Stack Overflow, Social MSDN Forums, etc. You can always ask for help.

ASP.NET is not costly, only the setup is costly and no wonder if you install Windows, the remaining things are handled by Windows itself, you don't even have to buy the .NET Framework, you can simply just start the development process. So due to this, there is no huge difference between PHP and ASP.NET.

ASP.NET has a great library of code, since C# is enabled, so everything that runs on .NET Framework through C#, can run on ASP.NET.

I, myself have...

..created a third-party FileLogin system, ASP.NET has a default membership class to handle the users. But I have written a simple C# library with a softwork (opposite of hardwork; hehe) of just 4 hours, and now I can easily let the users sign in and register using Files (because I cannot use Databases on the hosting server). I don't have to worry that ASP.NET will complain about the default controller, no! It lets me own it.

Topics:

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}