Blog Post 1 — An Introduction to Developing Web Apps using ASP.NET Core

What is ASP.NET Core exactly?

Developing web applications, or anything in general all starts with choosing the right framework to help make coding easier and more efficient, but with all the frameworks available on the web, there are so many options to choose from. The problem that arises is deciding which one to choose. Especially nowadays, websites are becoming more prevalent, so the question begs…What is the best framework to choose as a starting point? Well a good place to start would be ASP.NET Core from Microsoft. In this first blog post, I will introduce the basics of ASP.NET (the older version) and ASP.NET Core (the newer version) and all of its useful features, to help make coding easier and less redundant, while still being both secure and reliable.

What makes ASP.NET Core worth learning?

So first of all, what exactly is ASP.NET Core? From the brief introduction you can probably guess that it has something to do with making websites/web apps. Well you’re right, it does. ASP.NET Core is a open source platform that provides frameworks for developing web applications to run on Windows. There is a new version of ASP.NET called ASP.NET Core It’s cross-platform meaning it can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS. We will be using ASP.NET Core, as ASP.NET is the older version. ASP.NET Core has the same features as ASP.NET but it’s more versatile due to it being able to run on most popular OSes.

Why use ASP.NET Core among other frameworks? When we want a a platform that can provide high speeds and at a low cost, ASP.NET Core takes the cake and Microsoft compared other popular frameworks to prove this point, based on the image below. Based on a comparison with ASP.NET Core and other popular frameworks, such as Java Servlet and Node.js, ASP.NET ranks higher in terms of performance.

Performance stats comparison from Microsoft

But wait, there’s more! .NET is a vast platform that extends into many different applications and services, such as cloud services like Azure, microservices, mobile development using Xamarin and even game development, not just web development. Fun fact, the latest Battletoads was made using .NET and C#! Speaking of C#, if you already know C#, great! .NET programs and applications are written in C#, but also in order to use .NET you have to use C#.

Battletoads is one of the many examples of games built using .NET and C#

In terms of popularity, ASP.NET Core is still widely used in the IT industry, due to it being backed by Microsoft which is a well renowned company and a player in web development technologies. It is, quote on quote, loved by developers based on surveys from 2019 and 2020 on Stack Overflow’s developer survey and with research online if “.NET is still being used?”, lots of results state that .NET is still trendy and in high demand.

Image taken directly from Microsoft’s .NET “Why Choose .NET?”

That alone isn’t enough to convince you? Well Microsoft lists a whole bunch of other companies or businesses that also use .NET, among them are well-known businesses such as UPS and Stack Overflow.

Examples of .NET users

The good thing about learning more about .NET is if you’re already using C# to program, you’ve most likely encountered .NET, but for those who haven’t, .NET is worth it to learn in my opinion as it provides many tools and libraries, which extend way beyond just web application development, as it is still popular and in demand.

Here is a link to Microsoft’s C# guides and tutorials which is a good starting point to learn how to code in C#:

https://dotnet.microsoft.com/en-us/learntocode

Especially if you want to be a web developer, I think it’s worth it to learn due to it’s scalability and reliability, but not only that, many web development jobs list .NET as a requirements, so it would be a great asset to have under your belt.

Setting Up and Getting Started

So now that you have a good idea of what ASP.NET Core and .NET is, lets get started on the most important step before anything, setting it up. To get started, we have to install all the required prerequisites before we can start developing. But wait, there are two options for us. You can choose to install the .NET SDK or Visual Studio, but in this blog I will be using Visual Studio because of its built-in features and usability.

There are two ways you can create a Web App:

1. .NET SDK (if you’re using the command prompt/terminal)

2. Visual Studio (if you’re using Visual Studio, obviously)

So number 1 on our list is the .NET SDK, which is a software development kit which will be used to run and create new web apps. You can check it out here with this link .NET SDK (hover over the bold for the URL), but we won’t be using SDK.

The second option on the list is Visual Studio, also developed and provided by Microsoft, Visual Studio is an IDE which can be used to develop not just web applications with ASP.NET Core, but as well as other applications mentioned before, not limited to: mobile apps, cloud services and more. Visual studio code will provide you with a code editor, debugging tools and other tools to help you write code. You need to download Visual Studio first (choose the Community version), which will provide you what you’ll need to make an ASP.NET web application, but it will just download as “Visual Studio Installer” initially.

Once it’s finished downloading you will be prompted with this screen and check off “ASP.NET and web development” (by default we leave the installation details the same)

Visual Studio Installer Prompt Window

You will then have to wait until it’s done installing…

Waiting for installation

After it’s done installing, you will be asked if you want to sign in or create an account (up to you, but I will skip this step for now):

Sign In

Then you will be taken to the next screen where you can choose the languages and the theme. We will be choosing Visual C# for our settings and you can choose whatever theme you want.

Setting up the environment

Once you start it, you will be shown this window below. This means you are all setup and good to go!

Visual Studio 2022 Home

Congratulations! You successfully completed the first steps to making your first web application. Thank you for reading my very first blog post, ASP.NET Core is interesting to me and I wanted to share my knowledge on it so far, so we’re in this together. In my next blog post, I will be going over the fun part… actually creating your first web app and populating it, but hopefully this blog post gave you a good understanding of what ASP.NET Core is and its background.

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Johnny Dinh

Johnny Dinh

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