8 Reasons to Stick with ASP 3.0 in 2006 (and 2007)
ASP.NET has been around for several years now, firstly as the Visual Studio 2003 incarnation based on .NET version 1, and more recently as the Visual Studio 2005 incarnation based on .NET version 2.
Many developers made the jump from regular ASP to .NET immediately, drawn in by the all too familiar Microsoft hype and the promises of cross-platform compatibility, rapid and robust development, and the ability to develop web applications in the familiar, comfortable and slightly lazy VB environment.
The move to a .NET development environment was expensive and a far bigger change than many expected. The uptake was, and still is much slower than Microsoft ever expected. It is surely no accident then that the .NET suffix has been removed from the recent Visual Studio 2005. There is no such thing as VB.NET anymore, it is VB2005. It is also a surprise, (although not altogether unexpected), that Microsoft is now giving away a light weight version of VB2005 for free! Change the name and give it away - a cunning recruitment drive or a company in panic?
In truth, I find VB2005 for traditional Windows application development a fantastic tool. A sensible object-orientated programming architecture combined with the marvellous ADO.NET database access, alongside powerful features such as Web Services, throw in some of the best layout tools ever seen in an environment of this nature, gently stir in the ability to code in C#, J#, or VB and you cannot deny that VB2005 is an order of magnitude greater than VB6, and is definitely a cake worth eating.
In this accolade, however, I do not include ASP.NET. VB and ASP have now been bundled together in the same VB package and the distinction between the two is supposed to be invisible; VB2005 Windows Forms and VB2005 Web Forms - a slight difference in name, yet a huge difference to the developer. VB Windows Forms (or VB.NET, or VB2005, or VB) will improve your life. VB Web Forms (or ASP.NET, or ASP2005) will make you frown.
In fact, consider the following statement:
"ASP.NET for small to medium sized websites is a huge overhead in so many ways, and so for the foreseeable future I will be sticking with regular ASP for anything but the most complex of websites."
I posted the above statement on a popular WebDev forum recently. I was asked to give one good reason to back up my statement. "One?" I thought – too easy, I was sure I could offer ten reasons to stick with regular ASP and shun the bloated ASP.NET with no great difficulty…
Installation time? - It's already installed
As you can see I have completed 8 out of 10 reasons to stick with regular ASP. Do you have ideas for the final two? Email me your own reasons for spitting into the driving wind that is the Microsoft .NET upgrade path to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish the best entries.
So what is the answer - what kind of web development tool should Microsoft invest $billions into, rather than persisting with the peculiar and clunky ASP.NET? There is only one answer and I'll give it a way for nothing here. You can take this and make your fortune from it, I really don't mind…
"The Internet needs to be turned from being a stateless environment, to being a platform with state."
That's it, that's all there is to it. I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying how it should be done, but until we can write web applications as easily as writing Windows applications we will be stuck with the half-cooked, half-baked, half-hearted approach to web development where things are fudged and tweaked to work, balanced as precariously as a house of cards, that we are currently stuck with.
A slight digression there I think, but until the real web revolution I'll be sticking with classic ASP where I can. Who knows, maybe I'll even lead the revolution.
Anyone with me?
"Tim Walton is the Managing Director of Evesham Solutions Ltd (http://www.eveshamsolutions.co.uk/)with over 13 innovative years in application and internet development. A geek with social skills and a passion for customer care, razor sharp business skills and an ability to simplify the most complex of ideas – desperately seeking like-minded individuals to take on the world."