Is .NET Still a Legitimate Technology in 2023?
by DeeDee Walsh, on May 10, 2023 2:04:42 PM
Unraveling the Ongoing Relevance of .NET
As software development tools and technologies continue to evolve at a breakneck pace, it's critical to stay informed about the viability and relevance of different programming languages, frameworks, and platforms. One technology that has been an industry stalwart for the past two decades is .NET, the framework developed by Microsoft. In this post, let's poke on .NET and whether it remains a legitimate technology in 2023. We've identified the areas we think matter most and graded .NET. TL;DR: .NET is still relevant in 2023.
The Rise of .NET
Microsoft introduced .NET in the early 2000s as a versatile, language-agnostic framework for building web applications, services, and desktop applications. Over the years, the .NET ecosystem has grown significantly, encompassing multiple programming languages including C#, F#, and VB.NET, as well as a plethora (note that I refrained from saying "buttload") of libraries and tools to streamline development. Its robustness, versatility, and support from Microsoft make it a popular framework among developers worldwide.
The Relevance of .NET in 2023 (Grade A-)
The .NET Core and .NET 5 Evolution
The introduction of .NET Core in 2016, followed by .NET 5 in 2020, marked a significant shift in the .NET ecosystem. These changes led to a unified, cross-platform, and open-source framework that allowed developers to create applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux with ease. The subsequent releases have only improved performance, security, and compatibility, making .NET a competitive option even in 2023. We've already written about the upcoming major developments in .NET 8 - which promise to be a pretty big deal. Plus should you adopt .NET7?
Continued Support and Innovation from Microsoft (Grade: B+)
Microsoft has consistently invested in the .NET ecosystem, providing regular updates, enhancements, and support. The company's commitment to innovation is evident in its major release of .NET 6 in November 2021, with a focus on performance improvements and simplifying the development process. .NET 7 (which is not LTS) continued the momentum with even more performance improvements plus a greater focus on security. With Microsoft's backing, the .NET platform continues to be a relevant and reliable choice for years to come. .NET 8 promises to be an even bigger deal.
Solid Technical FoundationCross-Platform Support (Grade B+):
One of the most important features of .NET is its cross-platform support. With the introduction of .NET Core and later .NET 5 and 6, developers can now build applications that run on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. This flexibility allows developers to target a broader audience and reduces the time and resources needed for platform-specific development.Unified Framework (Grade B+):
.NET unifies various development models under a single framework. This means that developers can build different types of applications, such as web, desktop, mobile, gaming, IoT, and cloud, using a consistent and familiar set of APIs, languages, and tools. This unified approach simplifies the learning curve and enables developers to switch between different application types with ease.High Performance (Grade A-):
.NET is designed for performance, with the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler and the Runtime Environment optimizing the code execution. In recent years, .NET has made significant improvements in performance, thanks to the adoption of the new Span<T> type, the introduction of Hardware Intrinsics, and other optimizations in the runtime and libraries. Benchmarks like TechEmpower show that .NET-based web applications compete with other high-performance web frameworks in terms of speed and throughput.Strong Language Ecosystem (Grade C+):
.NET supports multiple programming languages, including C#, F#, and Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET). This allows developers to choose the language that best suits their skills, preferences, or project requirements. C# is the most popular language in the .NET ecosystem, known for its versatility, strong typing, and modern language features such as pattern matching, nullable reference types, and async/await.Extensive Library Support (Grade A):
.NET offers a vast collection of libraries and frameworks that developers can use to accelerate their development process. The .NET Standard provides a set of APIs that work across all .NET implementations, while NuGet, the package manager for .NET, hosts thousands of third-party libraries and tools. This extensive library support enables developers to add functionality to their applications quickly and efficiently.Robust Security (Grade A):
Security is a top priority in .NET, with features like managed code execution, code access security, and secure string handling built into the framework. .NET also offers built-in support for industry-standard encryption and hashing algorithms, as well as secure authentication and authorization mechanisms. This focus on security helps protect applications from common vulnerabilities and threats.A Vibrant and Thriving Community (Grade A+)
For better or worse, there's no better community, ecosystem and partner participation than .NET. The .NET community plays a crucial role in the ongoing success of the platform. A large and active developer community contributes to the availability of numerous libraries, packages, and tools, making development faster and more efficient. Moreover, the community also provides valuable resources, such as tutorials, documentation, and support through forums and social media platforms, fostering an inclusive environment for developers of all skill levels.Integration with Emerging Technologies (Grade A)
As the technology landscape evolves, .NET has kept up by integrating with emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT). Developers can leverage the .NET ecosystem to build advanced solutions that leverage these technologies, ensuring that the platform remains a competitive choice for modern software development.
.NET remains a legitimate and relevant technology in 2023. The evolution of the framework into a cross-platform, open-source solution, combined with continued support from Microsoft and a thriving developer community, has ensured that .NET stays competitive in the dynamic world of software development. Plus, the platform's ability to integrate with the latest technologies like AI, ML and IoT ensures that it remains a go-to choice for developers looking to build innovative and advanced solutions.