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. Tim Walton, (Managing Director - http://www.eveshamsolutions.co.uk/) justifies his 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."

 

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…
 

  1. I've been using ASP for many years now; I can make it do anything I like. Over the years I have built a vast array of functions for all manner of operations from database access to formatting dates nicely. Nimble – that's me with ASP.
  2. ASP.NET has many views of each page. There is the HTML view, the Source view, and the Code Behind view and switching between the three is sluggish in much the same way that wading waist high through treacle is a little slow going.
  3. Sluggish is a word to describe the whole of the .NET development environment. Starting a new project? Go make a cup of coffee. Switching between tabs? 'Go large' with your coffee. Pressing F1 for help? Make your coffee a take-out and go and have a stroll in the park.
  4. Regular ASP has the most lightweight development environment I have ever used - Notepad. Yep, that's all you need!

                   Installation time? - It's already installed
                   Start up time? - It's running in an instant
                   Configuration? - Not needed
                   Availability? - Any PC ever

  1. ASP.NET has a tendency to auto-generate code. Is this a powerful and useful feature? Not in my books. Surely a serious developer can't depend on any code automatically generated by the overweight Behemoth that is .NET! Not only is the code auto-generated, but the client side code is generated on the fly, so you have no opportunity to modify or tweak what Bill's team thinks is good for you. If there was a smiley that denotes a "pah!" kind of spitting face I would insert it here.
  2. Have you tried a quick fix on a regular ASP website? Dead easy. Edit the page as it sits on the web server and view your results instantly. Obviously on larger and more mission critical websites you would not do this, but on smaller websites why not? Have you tried a quick fix on a compiled ASP.NET website? It makes me pull this face :-( or this face :-o<!--
  3. Regular ASP hosting is still cheaper and more prevalent than ASP.NET hosting, and even the ASP.NET hosting is slow at moving to new versions. There are UNIX versions of the ASP compiler too so you don't even need a Windows hosting company.
  4. Call me lazy, but I've always treated the uploading of a regular ASP website to a remote web server as making an off-site backup of the code. Should my laptop get dropped or lost I can download the website from the web server and continue development. Does this work with ASP.NET? Sadly not. The web server has some compiled code, making it very easy to loose source code.

  5.  

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 dotwhat@eveshamsolutions.co.uk 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. 

People talk of the Web 2.0 revolution, a phrase that is meant to imply that current web development is an order of magnitude greater than any web development gone previously. I propose that we forget Web 2.0 and move straight on to Web 3.0 or even Web 4.0 complete with new browsers, ditching the baggage of backwards compatibility that is HTML, CSS, and client side JavaScript. You may smile a wry smile as you consider my statements as being laid out in front of you so as to tease and to provoke a reaction, but look carefully at my stall of goods, you will see it again one day.  

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?

Digg!

"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."

   

 

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