How .Net is Evolving

Sergey Pavlov, CTO, Artezio
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Trends shaping up in .Net and where are these leading to

I would like to highlight a few trends regarding various aspects of software development. We all know that for many years .Net has been the major development tool for Windows-based business apps, and it is still true today. The main advantage of using .Net has been built-in support of nearly the whole range of business apps as well as Microsoft server and cloud products. And this is what helped provide seamless integration and reduce costs for development and management of the enterprise IT infrastructure. However, as businesses and government bodies have recently showed a growing interest to open-source solutions, Microsoft had to respond adequately to this trend leaving aside a completely proprietary model, and this led to the emergence of .Net Core (an open-source version of the .Net framework available on Windows, Linux, and macOS). It is likely that .Net will continue moving further towards open-source.

  ​When upgrading the product, a number of problems with customized functionality will arise and require additional efforts to re-engineer a developed solution 

Today, due to the shift from monolithic architecture to SOA approaches, development tools for RESTful services have become critically important, particularly ASP.NET Web API 2 and ORMs including the Entity Framework. At the same time, enrichment of the Azure services allows creating full-fledged server less systems. Another important point related to Azure is a gradual shift of the software development environment from local capacities to the cloud. Azure provides a wide range of options for software development including collaborative development, software publishing and scaling.

Another trend is apps mobilization using cross-platform development tools. Native app development becomes less popular today as it is complicated and platform specific. At the same time such tools as Xamarin are becoming more widely used as they allow designing apps of different types in the single development environment.

With increase in the adoption of .Net in the market today, people are talking about this shift from Google apps. Do you see this as a gradual change that will continue to evolve?

Definitely, yes. Microsoft follows the strategy for stimulating the shift from on-premises deployments to cloud services. A lot of new services operate only in the cloud, for instance Power BI Pro, an effective BI tool. In the meantime, Office 365 has been gradually enriched with new functionality that in many cases outweighs Google apps and basically corresponds to on-premises versions of the similar Microsoft tools.

Besides, it should be noted that Office 365 tools can be customized with office store apps that increase in number each year.

Operating in the cloud allows users not to worry about data migration when upgrading to new versions with new functionality. As a result, they get a full-fledged cloud infrastructure.

Challenges in store for moving towards .Net

The biggest advantage of Microsoft solutions (including .Net) is that it doesn’t take much time to learn how to use these products, thus they can be easily implemented even by IT specialists with little experience. And that is particularly important for small companies.

However, it leads to a number of problems. First of all, companies planning to adopt .Net solutions will have to buy software licenses, besides they will get ready-made solutions that have to be customized. Moreover, when upgrading the product, a number of problems with customized functionality will arise and require additional efforts to re-engineer a developed solution.

Needs and Technologies go hand-in-hand, and they have always been a great push in providing organizations a devil’s haven to asses, innovate and execute. Could you please enlighten us with the way you see it, and provide your perspective?

Our development path is a gradual migration to micro services architecture. This approach has a number of key aspects. First of all, it is mitigating risks associated with large monolithic development teams. Adopting micro services, we can flexibly choose a product development strategy using resources of small distributed teams. Tasks on knowledge transfer are simplified greatly; as a result, it becomes easier to attract third-party developers. Another aspect covers the use of the AWS and Azure cloud services. These products help us focus on solving tasks on business logic implementation, leaving to cloud services such tasks as system component interaction, scaling, safety, data storage and delivery. And finally, we are not tied to a single technology which allows us to try out a new technology stack on an independent service.

Advice for other executives who share the same enthusiasm like you, of tracking newer trends, challenges; specifically in .Net in the coming years.

I would recommend to regularly attend various exhibitions and conferences on .Net and related technologies. Such events always gather a large number of technology experts from different companies who are eager to share their knowledge on.Net and its implementation. I would also like to highlight the dotnet Conf held by Microsoft and the .Net community that is a free virtual event where you can get information on future modifications to the .Net platform. It’s also a good idea to subscribe to MSDN and other relevant publications.

Any other insights you would like to discuss about that would help our readers be on the peak of the prevalent happenings in the technology space  

I would suggest everyone to take a closer look at virtual reality (VR) headsets and Hololens, an augmented reality (AR) headset that Microsoft is particularly focusing on at the moment. Perhaps, these devices have not been widely used yet but I believe they will continue to evolve and bring real benefits to businesses in the near future. Although, the software for VR and AR devices is still raw and imperfect today, technologies are currently developing much faster than we can expect. Therefore, to be a step ahead of competitors tomorrow, we should think of VR and AR solutions today.

Surface Pro 5 and Surface Studio, the latest devices introduced by Microsoft, are also worth mentioning. They have been highly appreciated by experts, and a lot of analytics today refer to Microsoft as a world leader in innovations that has become a serious rival for other well-known technology companies. These products target creative users, thus if we talk about software development, then we should think of solutions for artists, musicians, designers, and illustrators especially developed for MS Surface.

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