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Quickly Convert a Console App Into a Single-Point Web App in C#

I found myself in need of quickly converting my C# Console application into a Web application, primarily, I was asked to expose our Console app’s logic through an API with very little time to manage it.

This article will cover on how I eventually exposed our Console app on port 5005 of the localhost, our internal network, for bonus, I’ll throw in the containerised Docker version of the app, too!

Let’s start with a simple console app:

mkdir ConsoleToWeb
cd ConsoleToWeb
dotnet new console
dotnet run

The source of this app will look something like this:

To convert this into a ASP.NET Web App, we need to do 3 things:

  • Convert the console project into a web project (csproj)
  • Introduce a Generic Host to host our Web App
  • Rewrite the Main method to run our WebHost

Converting a Console csproj into a Web csproj

Our original Console csproj looks something like the following:

For a Web project, we need to target a different SDK; Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Web

Also, the OutputType does not need to be an Exe.

Modify the csproj file to look like this:

Introduce a Generic Host to host our Web App

The IHost class is a class designed for the new app hosting system of .NET. It handles core functionality like Dependency Injection, Configuration, Logging, …

We will use the HostBuilder to create a vanilla Web Host that will have 1 Run method which will call the code from our Console app.

Add the following code to your Program.cs file:

Don’t forget about the necessary using statements:

using Microsoft.Extensions.Hosting;using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Hosting;using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;

Rewrite the Main method to run our WebHost

We’re almost there, we just need to tie it all up in the Main method of the Program.cs:

Let’s examine the full working example:

That is it! Now you can run the app using dotnet run and see the result in your browser at http://localhost:5005

Dockerize it!

Since we’re on a roll here, let’s quickly Dockerize this app so that we can package and ship it.

Add a Dockerfile to the root of the ConsoleToWeb directory.

touch Dockerfile

The contents of the Dockerfile should be something like:

Now that is done, we can build our image locally and tag it:

docker build . -t consoletoweb

After the Docker image is built, we can run the image in a container using docker run -p 5005:5005 consoletoweb

And the effect should be the same on http://localhost:5005

Quickly adding services using FuncR

Still going strong now, let’s introduce a service, add some small implementation and have that service injected into our Web App using Dependency Injection!

Introduce the IFooService:

Now, we could implement this service using a new class, or we could write just the code we need for string Foo(int numberOfFoos) method to work using a function with FuncR.

FuncR is a small .NET standard library that enables you to register functions against interfaces in C#.

First we need to add FuncR to the project

dotnet add package FuncR

To use FuncR, add a ConfigureServices method to your Program.cs file:

In this ConfigureServices method, you can register any service agains the DI container of ASP.NET, more concretely, the code above registers a Proxy for IFooService and hooks up the string Foo(int numberOfFoos) method to the function that is provided on lines 7 and 8, cool huh!?

Now we just need to tell the HostBuilder to use this method to configure its services and we’re ready to have that service injected:

If we now dotnet run and navigate to http://localhost:5005 we finally see some different output:

That’s a lot of Foo’s.

And naturally, the Docker example also still works after a rebuild and run:


docker build . --no-cache -t consoletoweb
docker run -p 5005:5005 consoletoweb

Wrapping up

In this article we saw how easy and quickly a console app can be converted into a ASP.NET web app, and we got an introduction to FuncR to speed up our service implementations. The full code, and more is available through GitHub:

https://github.com/merken/ConsoleToWeb

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