Built-in the 1990s, .NET is a free, open-source developer platform built by Microsoft and is used for many kinds of web applications and software. It is a vastly popular framework since it supports, not just the development but also the maintenance of all modern-day applications and XML web services.
Businesses are often seen either hiring .net software development companies or outsourcing .net developers for project development. If you are a business looking to develop a web application or dynamic web pages, you must make use of the ASP.NET framework.
What is ASP.NET and how is it different from .NET? Well, .NET is a software framework and ASP.NET is a web application framework within the .NET software framework. While the ASP.NET framework provides infrastructure and languages for software development, ASP.NET provides a web application framework ideal for creating web applications and dynamic web pages.
ASP.NET expands the functionalities of the .NET developer platform with tools and libraries specifically for building web applications. Businesses and developers looking to develop stellar web applications have a variety of ASP.NET tools like Visual Studio Gallery, Web Platform Installer, .Net Reflector, and more, at their disposal. Picking the right tool is crucial for a good product, which is why we bring to you, a list of top ASP.NET tools to watch out for in 2023.
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Top ASP.NET tools of 2023
Developers vouch for Visual Studio as a powerful developer tool for two reasons – increased productivity and ease of use. It enables developers to complete the entire software development cycle, in one single place.
Being an Integrated Development Environment (aka IDE), one can use it to code, edit, debug, and build and publish one’s application. Apart from these developmental functions, Visual Studio delivers stellar graphics designing and code completion tools, extensions, source control, and many other useful features, to simplify and automate the software development process.
It is a common belief among developers that any modern development platform is as good as its mechanism to create and share code. This means that a .net application development platform should have a convenient way of writing and sharing code among its members.
One such popular way of doing so is packing useful code in bundles or ‘packages’. For most Microsoft development platforms, the mechanism for sharing code is NuGet. NuGet defines how packages in .NET are put together and availed while providing tools for the same. It is extremely useful for organizing code and sharing it.
Often referred to as a .NET developer’s playground, LinQpad provides a consolidated space to keep references for one’s own NuGet packages. Developers can prototype their idea on LinQpad before pasting a working code into Visual Studio.
With LinQpad you can also call your scripts directly from the command line. Features like ‘rich output formatting’, ‘optional debugger’, and autocompletion, ensure dynamic development and makes LinQpad a useful accessory for a developer.
Listed by Scott Hanselman as one of the “Big Ten Life and Work changing Utilities”, NET Reflector has made its mark in the .net web development scenarios. For those who don’t know, .NET Reflector is a decompiler, static analyzer, and class browser for software created within the .NET Framework. It also helps look inside APIs, SharePoint, and other third-party platforms that aren’t always well-documented.
Testing and debugging are an extensive and extremely important part of the developmental process. There are many debugging and testing tools in the market to simplify this process.
One such open-source debugging tool for ASP.NET web services is ELMAH which handles all errors on websites that are automatically synced to elmah.io’s powerful infrastructure in the cloud. Using a range of different dashboards, it is convenient to monitor the state of your applications and respond to any glitches or troubles in the website.
Yet another efficient static analysis tool for .NET, NDepend is often referred to as a ‘Swiss army knife’ for .NET developers. The tool delivers a large number of features, from dependency visualization to quality gates and technical debt estimation.
SQL Complete helps developers to create, customize, and switch between formatting styles and share them. It makes it easier for developers to format SQL scripts by applying various formatting options. SQL Complete also displays a list of all database objects from the current database even if their names are not specified.
Octopus is an important ASP.NET developer tool since it is the only tool in the .NET framework that can handle releases and deployment. With the help of Octopus, developers can take .net programming packages generated within the .net framework and deploy them on multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, Azure, etc.
Chocolatey, a useful registry of Windows packages, is considered a pit stop for everything needed for ASP.NET programming and software projects. It helps deploy these projects in one place by wrapping installers and executables into one consolidated package.
If you are looking for tools to manage development tasks such as intelligent completion, refactoring, and semantic highlighting for.net application development, Omnisharp is a great choice. Introduced in 2014, the project is fully open-source and community-driven while being trusted by thousands of developers worldwide.
Why Web Platform Installer did not make it to the list?
The Web Platform Installer (WebPI) is another great ASP.NET software development tool. It is well known for having equipped countless machines with a variety of open-source (OSS) web applications and Microsoft platform products.
One would assume it would automatically be included in the list of top .NET tools. Unfortunately, the tool was discontinued on December 31st, 2022. Web Platform installer was known for its utmost strength which was its capability to detect and install the right versions of the myriad of dependencies needed to set up a server or desktop machine.
Thanks to WebPI, developers no longer needed to search for the various versions of the SQL client, .NET Framework, or any other underlying component – WebPI handled it all flawlessly.
Developing software is a ginormous task. Although the .NET framework is a good place to start developing software, it is extremely important for a software development company to know about the tools that come with it.
Knowledge and use of such tools not only give greater quality software products but also make the product stand out amongst thousands of other software products available in the market. Even the companies offering .NET development services and software product development should incorporate these tools for better, faster software development.
The featured image was created using Venngage.