The State of the Union in ASP.NET Core

This week on the Telerik Developer Network has been focused on ASP.NET Core. Obviously, the ASP.NET Core presents a major change for .NET developers. So our team is here to discuss what it all means in today's Slack chat.

Sam Basu: So 2016 has been a pretty interesting year for .NET developers. We have a couple of .NET ninjas here – so let’s chat about the state of affairs and what’s happening next with .NET.

Ed – our resident ASP.NET expert, you here?

Ed Charbeneau: I am, I am 🙂

Sam Basu: Cool. I think we also have John – a temporary pessimist with .NET that we’ll try to win over. John you here?

John Bristowe: Ha! That’s an interesting way to put it, Sam. Yes, I’m here. And to clarify, I’m over 40 years old, which means I’ve seen a few things happen in our industry that make me question things from time-to-time. That’s all.

Sam Basu: Heh – Indeed. We’re all Developer Advocates @ Progress focused on Telerik DevTools. And I think .NET means a lot to us and millions of .NET developers.

So, 2016 saw the biggest fork in the road that we were all anticipating – .NET Framework vs .NET Core. You guys happy with this direction overall?

Ed Charbeneau: I'm seeing that the "grass is greener" with .NET Core. With each release we're getting more and more API surface, speed increases, and platform compatibility.

Sam Basu: Indeed. For me, the biggest thing was widening the funnel for .NET developers – take it cross platform & make it open source. Invite more folks to the party.

John Bristowe: Historically speaking, I think 2016 will be viewed in one of two ways: either as a massive win for Microsoft and .NET, or as a missed opportunity. Let’s not forget that folks have been pushing on Microsoft to become more open (especially on the .NET side of things for a long time). They could have taken the risk of going to .NET Core a few years ago.

Sam Basu: I can see the hesitation though – a major change in direction of a big ship can be rough. As of now, I think the direction we see with .NET Core and ASP.NET is very exciting, but the ROI won't be immediate…it’s a lot about grabbing developer mindshare.

John Bristowe: To me, .NET Core is the vision of what .NET could and should have been from day 1, back when it first shipped in the early 2000s.

Ed Charbeneau: ASP.NET Core 1.1 is the fastest ASP.NET ever which is something that should get developers excited.

John Bristowe: Very true. ASP.NET Core’s performance numbers are quite impressive.

Ed Charbeneau: Indeed…

ASP.NET Core 1.1 with Kestrel was ranked as the fastest mainstream fullstack web framework in the plaintext test.

John Bristowe: On the ROI side of things, the first developers to benefit from .NET Core will be ASP.NET developers.

Sam Basu: The benchmark speeds are fascinating. But, do you guys think core JS/other web developers will start looking at ASP.NET Core now?

Ed Charbeneau: I can't speak for the community abroad, but I can tell you that, with our local .NET meetup, we've seen an increase in turnout and new attendees.

Sam Basu: Interesting. Yeah, it is truly an open and plug & play world in ASP.NET Core now.

Ed Charbeneau: I wouldn't segment it down to JS devs, but more OSS community leaders are getting interested.

John Bristowe: Absolutely. I think ASP.NET Core provides a strong alternative to developers building web apps on other platforms and frameworks. This is helped by Microsoft’s approach to ensuring that developers on non-Windows platforms can easily target ASP.NET Core just as easily as those running on Windows.

Sam Basu: As much as some of us may be fond of CLI tools, that has been a tough sell for core VS developer audience, I think.

Ed Charbeneau: It is, Sam, and I feel that you can attribute that to the success of Visual Studio.

Sam Basu: But it's hard to argue with the fundamental reach and ubiquitousness of command line

John Bristowe: Yes, I would agree. There’s been a shift in the strategy in terms of tooling that Microsoft can taken that doesn’t follow historical patterns. Microsoft has always been about the UI first in terms of tooling.

Ed Charbeneau: Visual Studio in my opinion is one of the best Microsoft products, period.

Sam Basu: They had to do it though…to make inroads in OSS and Mac/Linux audience.

Yep, VS continues to be the best IDE overall and the developer experience will be maintained.

John Bristowe: Yes. But again, this isn’t the norm for devtools at Microsoft.

Ed Charbeneau: Very true, and I'm excited to see not only the CLI but Visual Studio Code gain adoption.

John Bristowe: I believe this new approach is the right way forward. I’ve been saying it for years:

Sam Basu: Indeed, VS is coming along and adopting modern tooling

John Bristowe: Yes, that and the slimmed down install experience. VS has been watching its weight lately and it’s starting to look good!

Sam Basu: I think the other stumbling block has been .NET Core APIs and .NET Standard – sparse to begin with. But we’re seeing progress with .NET Core 1.1.

John Bristowe: I don’t know if that something that a lot of developers are wrestling with. Ultimately, I think developers will use what’s available, and not care too much about standards and such — provided (of course) that the technology is sound and works.

Sam Basu: Yeah, but .NET Standards are in need of unification of all the .NETs and BCLs…hard to argue against the idea of portability

John Bristowe: True. And yet, the whole PCL push a few years back was easier said than done.

John Bristowe: Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think this .NET Standard a bad thing.

Sam Basu: Yeah, portability is hard…PCL had faults.

Did you guys see what’s in store for .NET Standard 2.0 – I think that’s a game changer.

Ed Charbeneau: For sure. .NET Standard 2.0 is going to be the tipping point for .NET Core.

Sam Basu: 32K APIs vs 13K in .NET Standard 1.X

John Bristowe: If Microsoft can get it right and make it work well then I would speculate that .NET Standard 2.0 will be seen as an inflection point in terms of adoption.

Sam Basu: Wouldn’t it be magical is you could have a device-independent .NET library for ASP.NET that you could seamlessly use in Xamarin projects?

John Bristowe: As you probably guessed, I have trouble with the term, “magical”, Sam. 😉 To me, that’s the way .NET should have worked from day 1.

Ed Charbeneau:

magical

Sam Basu: Wise & doubtful 😉

John Bristowe: My beard is getting more grey with each passing message I type.

Sam Basu: I think Xamarin is the other game changer in the .NET world. Could be running on Mono, but for the first time, your .NET code could target all platforms, and not just Windows. I expect a lot more parity coming our way with the 3 major .NETs now – .NET Framework, .NET Core & Mono.

John Bristowe: Mono was and is a great idea. Unfortunately, it was always rough around the edges. Ask anyone targeting WinForms.

Sam Basu: Check out this video from Immo on what’s new in .NET Standard 2.0:

Mono is starting to share a lot more code with .NET since .NET Core went OSS.

Ed Charbeneau: Eventually I could see these becoming one .NET Core.

Sam Basu: I think Xamarin’s tooling can get you around some of the rough edges.

John Bristowe: ONE .NET TO RULE THEM ALL.

Sam Basu: And of course, sharp UI tooling like our UI for ASP.NET Core and UI for Xamarin.

Yeah, that’s the end goal – one .NET.

John Bristowe: Precisely. Hear hear.

Sam Basu: Developer platforms, tooling and devices should matter less & less – just write .NET code anywhere.

This ends our week of ASP.NET Core content on the Telerik Developer Network – though we will continue to publish new content on the topic in the future.

It’s one heck of an interesting time to be a .NET developer for sure!

Ed Charbeneau: Well if there's anything I'm good at it's having an opinion.

Sam Basu: All are welcome in this new .NET 🙂And the new Microsoft.

That’s it then from your Telerik .NET ninjas @ Progress. Have a Happy Holidays. Recharge your batteries & come back fresh. .NET will be waiting for us!

Ed Charbeneau: Thanks Sam.

Sam Basu: Thanks much Ed & John!

John Bristowe: Good chat, team. Progress on 3. Ready? Break!

Check out the rest of the articles from the Week of ASP.NET Core on the Telerik Developer Network

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