Why is .NET worth it?
What is exactly .NET?
.NET framework, developed by Microsoft, is one of the most popular software development platforms. It consists of SDKs, libraries, runtimes, and tools which provide a coherent and reliable application development workflow. With the help of technologies like ASP.NET and MAUI, .NET enables development of web applications as well as desktop and mobile ones.
Is .NET a Windows-only platform?
It’s not anymore. For years .NET was available exclusively for Windows, except for the independently developed open-source implementation Mono, which had limited functionality. The SDKs were also tightly integrated with and reliant on Visual Studio, Microsoft’s proprietary IDE. This has gradually changed as Microsoft shifted their approach towards an open-source, community driven model with .NET Core and VS Code. The VS Code IDE and the .NET Core framework are open-source, multiplatform and free of charge. This makes them up to date with the latest trends in programming, versatile and within reach for organizations of any size.
What about performance?
.NET runs on a type of virtual machine called .NET Runtime, which makes it portable but also inevitably slower than native code. How much slower depends heavily on the specific use-case. It’s likely you won’t experience a noticeable impact on performance in your particular scenario. Microsoft is putting significant focus on improvement in this area with optimizations in the .NET Runtime and APIs. They are also expanding their APIs with features like Span<T> and memory marshaling, which give direct unified access to managed and unmanaged memory without pointer juggling.
And how about interoperability with .NET?
Countless third-party .NET libraries are available on the official package repository nuget.org. What if you need to utilize a niche native library for which no .NET alternatives or wrappers are on hand? .NET has a rich interoperability toolset for scenarios like this. Use native library wrapper generators or fine-tune marshaling by hand for seamless translation between managed and unmanaged code. C#, one of the programming languages supported by .NET, has a built-in unsafe context specifically for using pointers and native arrays for those who need such low-level control in their projects.
Let’s sum up …
There is no such thing as one developer platform perfect for all software solutions. If you value ease of use and flexibility of high-level programming languages, multiplatform support, native interoperability, a multitude of libraries and a large community of experienced developers, then .NET is certainly a strong candidate to consider when composing your technology stack.
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