.NET development at Datamart
Clients who rely on Microsoft software and services will often ask us to develop solutions using .NET; a venerable development framework with great versatility and dependability. With .NET we’ve worked on a wide variety of projects, and are confident we can tackle whatever comes our way.
Why Choose .NET?
It’s vital to consider business context and choose the right technologies at the start of any development effort.
In today’s fast-moving tech industry, the pace of development seems to be continually accelerating. New technologies come and go, capturing attention and then disappearing. Microsoft’s .NET, along with a few other venerable technologies like Java, are notable exceptions. Since it’s initial release in 2002, .NET has served as a dependable development platform for a huge variety of applications, from desktop utilities to fully fledged enterprise software suites and web-based interfaces. Furthermore, with each release .NET continues to improve with new packages and features.
But what is .NET exactly? Unlike Java, .NET is not a programming language – it’s a development framework, meaning it includes an expansive library of ready-to-use code and provides a useful approach to structuring program architecture. This makes development faster. .NET also includes another notable feature – the CLR, or Common Language Runtime. The CLR is a virtual machine instance (similar in some ways to the Java virtual machine) that manages running programs created using .NET in any number of programming languages, allowing developers to worry less about low-level concerns like memory management.
Over the last 14 years, .NET has gained a great reputation for reliability, versatility, security, and performance. As a Microsoft product, .NET is designed specifically for building software to run on Microsoft platforms, and it isn’t difficult to achieve performance superseding that of Java.
However, it is important to note that .NET is not for everyone. As a Microsoft product, using .NET to develop enterprise scale software can often (and this depends on what you are trying to achieve, and how) involve dependencies with other Microsoft products. This means you might need to purchase some expensive software licenses. If your company already uses a lot of Microsoft products and services, .NET will be a perfect fit, but it might not always be the right choice for smaller companies and startups.
Another disadvantage of .NET has historically been its lack of portability to non-Microsoft operating systems; but recently, portability to UNIX systems has emerged as a new development priority. In the past, if you needed to run your application on different operating systems, you would have had to choose something besides .NET, and usually Java was the next best choice. However, developing software from scratch with Java can often be quite a bit more challenging than with .NET and its broad array of features.
.NET development constitutes an important core competency for Datamart.
At Datamart we do a lot of work with web development – especially in integrating big data & analytics with effective and attractive UI/UX. Often clients who use Microsoft software will ask us to develop solutions using .NET, and we are always more than happy to apply our experience. Let’s take a look at a few key .NET projects we have completed at Datamart over the last few years.
Enterprise Scale CRM
Datamart completed a demanding custom CRM project; delivering a reliable and maintainable product with .NET.
This project entailed developing several applications which together allowed our client to manage large volumes of customer and internal personnel data through a secure web portal. Our client was an established retail marketing giant who used a lot of Microsoft software – choosing .NET was a no-brainer.
The finished project consisted of several separate front-ends for different user groups, and a separate application for managing users, groups, their permissions, and global navigation settings. We took advantage of the ASP, NET, WCF, and WPF packages, along with MS SQL, since at the time, opensource alternatives couldn’t compete with MS SQL’s expansive feature set.
For this client, versatility, stability, and ease of integration with other Microsoft software were the main factors in their decision to use .NET. They received a complete application which worked well with their existing systems and was easy for them to support and maintain.
Custom SharePoint Server and Web UI
Our client needed a SharePoint server better suited to their unique business processes; Datamart got it done with .NET.
As anyone who has used Microsoft’s SharePoint knows, it’s really not a particularly convenient or easy-to-use piece of software. However, a lot of organizations continue to use it for various reasons. Our client needed an internal SharePoint server, but they weren’t happy with the default UI, and decided to engage Datamart to build a custom SharePoint server with a completely new UI crafted to suite their needs.
Desktop Testing Client
Datamart delivered a complete application for desktop installation which facilitated dramatic improvements in our client’s testing workflows.
While we certainly specialize in web development & analytics at Datamart, it’s not the only thing we do. One of our major clients asked us to build a desktop testing client for a massive long-term software development project. The testing client would greatly simplify workflow and routine tasks for their automation testers, allowing them to monitor how key features performed as the code base was altered throughout development.
Our solution consisted of a desktop application installed locally, which connected to a server-side testing API where the tests themselves took place. Our application allowed users to select test cases, input necessary parameters, and run their tests; the results obtained from the testing API were then analyzed according to validation rules defined in the test cases. After processing the resulting data, the application generated a detailed overview of the results, displaying how many test cases executed successfully, how many failed, and much more. Since this project was a relatively small element of a much larger development effort, it didn’t require an especially broad technology stack. The features we needed were all included in .NET’s WPF, WCF, and ASP.NET packages.