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Today, the relentless website and application development world offers developers to choose tools of their choice from countless libraries. Each library, framework, or tool has its limitations and advantages. One popular framework is ASP.NET, driven to make applications secure and worthwhile. Let’s understand what ASP.NET is, its functional architecture and its future.

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ASP.NET – What is it?

ASP.NET is an open-sourced web framework that helps in building web applications. Microsoft released its first version in 2002, which allowed developers to create dynamic web services, sites, and applications. The .NET framework is developed to work with HTTP protocol, the standard protocol used globally for all web applications. 

ASP.NET came after the ASP (Active Server Pages) technology and is a significant upgrade in features, power, and flexibility. ASP.NET is an extension of the .NET framework with added libraries and tools for developing web apps and websites.

Let’s understand ASP.NET in-depth by looking at its supporting architecture. 

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Working Architecture of ASP.NET

ASP.NET includes some key components in its architecture used across all app development stages. These components include: 

  • Language: The programming language used for the ASP.NET framework is either C# or Visual Basic. 
  • Library: ASP.NET comes with all foundational libraries from the .NET framework, including those for common web patterns. One of these libraries- MVC or Model View Controller, enables developers to use the MVC design pattern in web services or applications. Using the MVC pattern, developers can build web apps as a collection of three crucial roles:

1. A business layer

2. A display/frontend layer

3. An input control layer

  • Common Language Runtime: CLR or Common Language Runtime is the platform where you execute your .NET programs. It is vital for performing security checks, activating objects, handling garbage collection, etc. 

Apart from these three components building the architecture of ASP.NET, it also extends .NET with other features and tools to simplify development. One such tool is the templating syntax called Razor. Razor is used heavily for building dynamic web apps using C#. It also enables working with templates and master pages to create pages with dynamic content in no time. 

Developers can use Visual Studio as an IDE when working with .NET framework. Microsoft created Visual Studio, which assists in seamless web development. The IDE consists of a debugger, code editor, designer, and compiler, which can be easily accessed using a single UI.

Now that you understand the crucial architectural elements for ASP.NET, let’s look at some key characteristics of this framework.

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Characteristics of ASP.NET 

  • Code Behind Mode: This characteristic helps separate the design and code of an application. ASP.NET makes it easier for developers to maintain their applications by providing this separation. The general file format of an ASP.NET file is .aspx. If we take a webpage – upGrad.aspx – we’ll get a supplementary file called upGrad.aspx.cs containing the code part of the page. This file will be separately created by Visual Study or each web page – to separate the design and code modules.
  • State Management: ASP.NET can control state management. As you might already know, HTTP is called a stateless protocol. Let’s try to understand state management using an example. Suppose you have a shopping application. As soon as the user presses the submit button after deciding what to buy, the application will recall all items the user has chosen for purchase. 

This is referred to as remembering the state of an application at any point in time. When the user goes to the purchase page, HTTP does not store the information being a stateless protocol. Hence,  developers must add additional coding instructions to carry cart items to the purchase page. However, this can make things highly complex and confusing. 

To simplify all of this, ASP.NET keeps a record of all the states so you can pass the required information from one page to another without worrying about statelessness. 

  • Caching: ASP.NET can very simply implement the concept of caching to improve the application’s overall performance. Caching is used to store the pages often requested by the user to be easily fetched without spending a lot of time. Caching enables faster retrieval and access to pages and improves the application’s performance in the long run. 

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Future of ASP.NET

The latest version of ASP.NET – known as ASP.NET Core – was released in 2016, and it replaced ASP.NET. The main difference is that ASP.NET has enhanced cross-platform abilities and can run on Docker, macOS, Linux, and Windows. Going forward, the .NET Core platform will be the core focus of Microsoft. However, ASP.NET will remain an essential framework in any scenario, albeit in the form of ASP.NET Core.

If you wish to learn more about ASP.NET and how application development occurs most efficiently, we recommend checking out our Master of Science in Computer Science course today. 

Offered in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University, this course is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of everything in the world of Computer Science – including application development. You get a chance to learn from the experts and collaborate with them on different projects and ideas. Check out the course page and get yourself enrolled soon! 

What is the latest version of ASP.NET?

ASP.NET Core is the latest upgrade for ASP.NET.

Who maintains and manages ASP.NET?

Microsoft maintains and manages ASP.NET.

What is ASP.NET used for?

ASP.NET framework used for designing dynamic web applications and services.

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