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You Want To Build Web Software with C#?

| Thursday, February 14, 2013
If you like choices, you've come at the right time. You might think the decision making process starts by choosing between ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC, but if you widen your perspective a bit you'll find there are even more options outside the confines of the File –> New Project dialog in Visual Studio. And, these choices have steadily increased and matured over the last few years.

Here are just a few of the other options for writing a web app today:

- Nancy (lightweight and low ceremony)

- FubuMVC (convention-based and highly compositional)

- OpenRasta (a resource oriented framework for web sites and APIs)

- Service Stack (a web services framework)

- Oak (highly dynamic, frictionless)

Even when you restrict yourself to frameworks from Microsoft, there are still a bewildering number of decisions to make. Web Pages, Web Forms, Web API, or MVC?

Making A Decision
Ultimately your job is to ship working software, and be happy about shipping the software. It's hard to build an application when you loathe working with the underlying technology. If you are brand new to all of this, I believe one of the first steps is to sit down by yourself and with your team, and figure out what you like and dislike about the available frameworks. If you are brand new to all of them, it would be worthwhile to spend a couple hours with each. Read about their design goals. Read the code examples as they will demonstrate the code you'll be living with.

Some of the questions to ask at this period include:

- What are my business requirements? Do I need to optimize for both mobile and desktop? Do I need to be highly scalable? What sort of authentication mechanisms do I need for my customers? Am I building a site, a service, or a combination of both?

- Do the abstractions make sense to me? Do the abstractions relate well with my mental modal of how things work on the web?

- What do I value the most? Testability? Flexibility? Simplicity? Past experience with an existing framework?

Read more: The ode to code
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